Super Race Called Off

Horse racing enthusiasts around the world have been waiting patiently for the show down between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta for months. And there was a glimmer of hope that these two racing greats would meet at the Apple Blossom Invitational, which will be hosted on 9 April 2010. Owner, Jess Jackson, and trainer, Steve Asmussen, have been trying to speed up Rachel Alexandra’s training schedule, but on Sunday, at the New Orleans Ladies Stakes, she confirmed what everyone had feared, that she is not in top shape and her fitness levels are not enough to partake in such a big event just yet.

Both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta made their 2010 debut this weekend, with Rachel Alexandra participating in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes, and Zenyatta being entered into the Santa Margarita Handicap. With bad weather plaguing the Rachel Alexandra team, training schedules were slowed down, and after a six month resting period the 2009 Horse of the Year did not have enough time to get into shape. Even though her loss against Zardana was disappointing to Jackson, he commented that the race had made his decision to withdraw from the Apple Blossom, as it was obvious that she was not ready.

Jackson and Asmussen had been trying to get her ready in time for the Apple Blossom celebrity race against Zenyatta, but would need more time to get Rachel Alexandra ready. Also worried about her fitness and condition, is her trainer Asmussen who commented: “How tired she is off of that will be established in the coming days. … She’s not where I thought she was and if I had thought she’d get beat she wouldn’t run. You take her back, you evaluate her, you see how her mood is, her diet, how she goes back to the racetrack, how she breezes. No crystal ball could see that far ahead.” Zenyatta on the other hand won her 15th consecutive race, remaining unbeaten. Her Santa Margarita Handicap victory has shown that she is in top form and ready for the coming racing season. If the racing world never sees Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra meet, it would not be such a great loss, as at least fans have been able to enjoy the journey of both these fillies, sharing in their achievements and racing careers.