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Rachel Alexandra connections turn down meeting with Zenyatta

February 10, 2010     E-mail this page to a friend!

Zenyatta takes the lead in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic
(photo by ©Breeders' Cup Ltd)

. . . but propose later races that would pit America's darlings against each other

The connections of Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra informed Oaklawn Park today that she would not compete on April 3, the announced date of the Apple Blossom Invitational. "Out of respect for the level of competition and the importance of this race, I have told Mr. Jackson it was not in the best interest of the horse to race on April 3. Getting to this level of fitness after a six-month layoff takes time. If all goes according to schedule, and we do not have any further weather delays, the earliest we could have a prep race would be the middle of March. It is then not fair to Rachel to ask her to race again three weeks later,” said 2010 Trainer of the Year, Steve Asmussen.

The track had offered a $5-million purse if Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta met on that day. Rachel’s connections had requested a week delay in order to have Rachel race at Oaklawn Park against Zenyatta but track officials told Jackson today that would not be possible.

At the same time, Team Rachel called for a racing series between now and November in which the two phenomenal female race horses will meet.

"The fans have spoken. The media has spoken. Everyone wants to see Rachel race against Zenyatta—including me,” said Rachel Alexandra co-owner Jess Jackson. “In fact, I want it to happen several times this year. We have been in discussions with Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of National Thoroughbred Racing Association, with the hope of coordinate training schedules, racing schedules, purses and all ancillary factors, so that we can all agree upon three dates and three venues for what will be a racing series to rival the Triple Crown.”

“Hopefully, these discussions will take place at earliest possible time so that we can announce something that will give the fans a season to remember,” Jackson added.

Alex Waldrop commented, “The NTRA will continue to do everything possible to facilitate a meeting or series of races between Champions Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. We look forward to further discussions with the connections of both horses.”