The hopes of horse-racing fans to see the ultimate match-up between 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and undefeated Zenyatta were dashed this week when Rachel’s owner suddenly retired her.
But don’t worry. She’s in good health and has been running fine. She just hasn’t been the same record-breaking super-filly she was in 2009, so she’s moving on…
…to a date with Curlin, the 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year. They will be living the good life on her owner’s Stonestreet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
With any luck, in 4 years or so, Rachel and Curlin’s first offspring will be a contender for the Triple Crown.
When I talked to Rachel back in January, she wasn’t ready to settle down, but after winning only 2 of her 5 races this year (although she came in 2nd in the other 3), the decision was taken off her hooves. Her owner said she deserves a “less stressful” life.
I reached Rachel’s nemesis, Zenyatta, by phone at Santa Anita to find out what she thinks of all this. At 6 years old, Zenyatta remains unbeaten with 18 career wins under her saddle, but has never worn the Horse of the Year crown.
Zenyatta told me…
“Yeah, that whole Horse of the Year business does make me feel like Susan Lucci. But, hey, I’ve never run a race that didn’t end with me standing in the winner’s circle.
“In spite of all the hype, I always suspected Rachel was a flash in the pan. She backed out of every race were were supposed to run together. But what do I know? I’m a horse.
“I wish the kid well. I hear Curlin’s a handful. He’ll probably have her wearing a maternity saddle in no time.”
Here’s video of Zenyatta winning her 18th race on August 7 at Del Mar.
For the history books, Rachel ran 19 races. Except for coming in 6th her very first time, she won all but 5 of the next 18 starts, but never came in farther back than 2nd.
To honor Rachel, the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, the last prep race for the Fair Ground Oaks, which she won last year, is being renamed at Fair Ground racetrack in Florida. The Rachel Alexandra Stakes will be run on Feburary 19, 2011.
I’ll miss Rachel Alexandra, but Cats Working wishes her and Curlin the best!