A drama that started heating up last year between the two top female horses in the country, the three year old filly Rachel Alexandra and unbeaten six year old mare Zenyatta, is taking on even more excitement.
Rachel Alexandra, who won the Preakness and was undefeated in eight starts last year, won Horse of the Year honors in January over Zenyatta. Yet this weekend Rachel faced her first defeat – after a six month layoff – at the New Orleans Ladies Stakes. For anyone unfamiliar with thoroughbred racing, this level of competition between two ladies is unprecedented!
Before the upset, the two super horses were supposed to face off in a race for the ages at the $5 million Apple Blossom invitational on April 9 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. According to the New York Times, Rachel’s co-owner Jess Jackson began hedging his bets a week ago when he said he would send his filly to Arkansas only if she were dead-solid perfect. After this weekend’s race, trainer Steve Asmusssen said they would reassess their filly’s schedule.
All this drama just underlines the ironies of our times. The economy may be still struggling, and it’s often hard to find good news, but history is being made on the nation’s racetracks by two unlikely heroines.
What an unusual and exciting twist for Women’s History Month!