Zenyatta's Return Could Lead To A Showdown With Rachel Alexander

January 20, 2010

Zenyatta, the undefeated horse who roared to an amazing come-from-behind victory at the Breeders' Cup Classic in November 2009, will race again.

The announcement was made on Saturday, and already Zenyatta has a score to settle.

On Tuesday, Rachel Alexander edged Zenyatta in the voting for the Eclipse Awards' “Horse of the Year.” The Eclipse Awards are decided by members of the National Turf Writers' Association, the Daily Racing Form, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Undoubtedly, Rachel Alexander had a strong 2009, winning all eight of her races, including the Preakness Stakes. She also became the first filly to win that race since 1924.

Despite those credentials, the voting still came as a shock for Zenyatta's fans, especially after her amazing win in the 2009 Breeders' Cup.

That race featured the first-ever victory by a female horse, and came complete with a dramatic comeback win that astonished the racing world. Her jockey opined that Zenyatta instantly had become the Horse of the Decade with the win. To fans, she was Horse of the Millennium.

So now that she is returning, the obvious next question is where will she race next?

There is talk of her being shipped to the United Kingdom to race at Ascot. Another option is the $10 million dollar Dubai World Cup for horses four years old and up. Both are likely to be vetoed by Zenyatta's owners.

Most likely, Zenyatta, now 6 years old, will remain where she always has: in Southern California.

With that in mind, the million dollar Santa Anita Handicap, or "Big Cap," looms as a strong possibility for her next race.

An ideal scenario would be if Zenyatta was met at the "Big Cap" by Rachel Alexander. A matchup of these two undefeated horses would easily be the must-see Race of the Year, and would be a great way for the “Sport of Kings” to start a new decade.

Another option would be for Zenyatta to face Rachel Alexander in the April 3rd Apple Blossom Stakes in Arkansas.

Although Zenyatta's owners showed courage by bringing her out of retirement, it is exactly the kind of move that thoroughbred horse racing needs. This is because once the sport creates a big star or plotline, the horse soon retires quickly.

Now with Zenyatta returning, the sport has two big stars and one intriguing plotline as to just which horse is better.

Like any great debate, a resolution can only be found via a head-to-head matchup. With a little luck, the public will get to see that matchup, so that the 2010 Horse of the Year will be decided on the track, rather than by the voters.

By Joe Hammond
Contributing Writer for TheDailySportsHerald.com


  1. Zenyatta should have won the award. If RA's owners have any guts, they should bring her to CA

  2. why should zenyatta face her in cal horses run on dirt not carpet


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