Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Girls will Eclipse guys in race for Horse of the Year

  • Print
ARCADIA, Calif. -- The much anticipated race between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta? Well, it's on, but only on paper. Horse racing's top two ladies will duke it out among voters for Horse of the Year honours after never meeting on the track.

Each of them have stellar credentials in trying to become the first female to win the year-end honour since Azeri in 2002.

Rachel Alexandra went 8-for-8 this year, including three wins over males, and became the first filly in 85 years to beat the boys in the Preakness Stakes.

Zenyatta improved to 14-0 for her career with a one-length victory against a loaded field of males in the Breeders' Cup Classic, many of whom Rachel Alexandra had already beaten.

The five-year-old mare went 5-for-5 this year, but Saturday's race was her first against the boys. It was also likely her last. Trainer John Shirreffs said Sunday that Zenyatta would be sent to Kentucky to breed, even though Rachel Alexandra is expected to campaign next year.

So who rules in this Year of the Girl?

"You tell me," Shirreffs said.

It's a debate sure to simmer until January, when the Eclipse Awards -- the Oscars of horse racing -- are presented in Beverly Hills. Members of the National Turf Writers Association, the Daily Racing Form and racing secretaries at the major tracks decide the year's champion horses.

Even before Zenyatta's come-from-behind win Saturday, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert suggested the horses should share the top honour.

"If they don't reward her with Horse of the Year, it would be a travesty, or at least co-Horses of the Year," said Baffert, who trained sixth-place Classic finisher Richard's Kid. "It was the only time in horse racing that I didn't mind getting beat in a big race."

Chip Woolley Jr., trainer of Kentucky Derby winner and former Canadian two-year-old champion Mine That Bird, said before the Classic that Rachel Alexandra had already clinched Horse of the Year.

"She's put up eight races on eight different racetracks, beat the boys three times and beat the fillies," said Woolley, whose colt finished ninth in the Classic behind Zenyatta.

"The one thing everybody keeps forgetting, she beat the fillies with authority," he said of Rachel Alexandra. "She didn't win by a neck or a length or two lengths. She beat 'em by 20 and in a big gallop. When you look at that and you put everything together, I think she's a very deserving champion."

Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird was beaten by Rachel Alexandra in the Haskell Invitational and by Zenyatta in the Classic. His trainer, Tim Ice, was critical of Rachel's absence Saturday at Santa Anita.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 9, 2009 C9

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

It’s the End Of the Term And They Know It, Part Two

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese fly in the morning light over Selkirk Ave Wednesday morning- Day 22– June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who has been the biggest disappointment on the Jets to start the season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google