It was no surprise that Rachel Alexandra won the Mother Goose stakes, but it was astonishing to see her romp by almost twenty lengths and set a new stakes record. And it was no surprise that Zenyatta had her usual powerful late kick in the Vanity on the other side of the country at Hollywood park, staying undefeated. But will Rachel Alexandra, the duchess of dirt, and Zenyatta, the princess of plastic, ever meet?
Despite her 1-9 odds in the Mother Goose, Rachel Alexandra’s only two competitors were no chumps; both fillies are good enough to go on and win grade 1 stakes races. However, they set blazing fast fractions, something Rachel Alexandra and jockey Calvin Borel wisely stayed away from, setting back a few lengths. As the other fillies tired coming into the stretch, Rachel Alexandra easily took the lead to romp by an astounding 19 ¾ lengths, setting a new stakes record and never being whipped. She was only a few lengths off of the track record set by Secretariat, and if she’d truly been unleashed, she might have gotten it.
Zenyatta’s odds were slightly better in the Vanity; she surprisingly went off at 1-5 despite being undefeated, and proved again that she’s the best horse in the country on synthetic surfaces. She was carrying a lot more weight than the rest of the fillies in the field and got a less-than-stellar ride from jockey Mike Smith, who never really let her relax like she’s used to. Still, even when things don’t go perfect, you can’t beat the best, and Zenyatta used her powerful kick to power to a win in California. It wasn’t as impressive as that of Rachel Alexandra in New York, but wins are rarely as stellar on synthetic surfaces.
Despite Zenyatta’s impressive performances on synthetic surfaces, what really stands out on her long line of wins is her one dirt race. That race was probably the best of her career, and it was on the only surface Rachel Alexandra has ever run on and ever will, according to owner Jess Jackson. He’s going to avoid the plastic stuff like the plague, even if it means keeping Rachel Alexandra out of the Breeder’s Cup. Zenyatta, on the other hand, will be running in a race on Breeder’s Cup day, and while her owners were all set to run against the fillies, Rachel Alexandra might make them change their mind.
Despite both being female, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta both have the biggest chances of winning the coveted titled of Horse of the Year. Jerry Moss, Zenyatta’s owner, has finally stated that he’d like for Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra to meet, and Jess Jackson definitely doesn’t have a problem with this. So will the two fillies meet on dirt? And if so, where? Will it be against the boys? And if they do meet and Zenyatta loses, will she face the boys in the Breeder’s Cup in an attempt to steal the title back? Only time will tell, but if their owners truly want to determine which filly is best, they’ll have to stay true to their word and point them the same direction.