Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta Finally Meet

August 13, 2016 03:04pm
Zenyatta_ Rachel Alexandra 615x400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Rachel Alexandra dominated on the East Coast and Zenyatta dispatched all of her challengers in the West, yet in that very special year of 2009, they never met on the racetrack. They were two of the greatest fillies ever, and they happened to be racing at the same time. Thus, it is only fitting that the first time that Zenyatta and Rachel meet will be on equal terms when they are inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame on Friday as members of the Class of 2016.

In 2009, the debates raged on about who was better, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro with the broken blaze on her forehead or Street Cry’s daughter who strutted her stuff in the post parade. The discussions were everywhere in blogs, print, and the burgeoning social media platforms. They were not always pleasant nor were they always rational, but they were always passionate. Regardless, Zenyatta and Rachel had horse racing in the news, front and center.

Many factors kept these Hall of Famers apart in competition – separate home bases, age difference, artificial racing surfaces, stubborn owners and trainers, and some bad luck. The fact that they never met on the track, in a way, fueled the rivalry in the minds of racing fans. Most of us had a favorite, but in the end it was impossible to deny the talent of the other.

As they prepare to share the Hall of Fame spotlight, let’s take a look back at their combined accomplishments. Trained by Steve Asmussen for Stonestreet and by John Shirreffs for the Mosses, Rachel and Zenyatta together started 39 times, won 32 of those races and came in second six times. The victories included 18 grade one stakes, 3 Breeders’ Cup wins, and a Triple Crown race. Combined they beat their male counterparts four times and won a total of $10,811,730. Together these two new Hall of Famers earned six Eclipse Awards, including consecutive Horse of the Year titles in 2009 and 2010.

To celebrate the greatness of Zenyatta here is her historic triumph in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Also, if you have the time, you may enjoy this montage of her 19 career victories.

And for Rachel Alexandra here is the 2009 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, her third triumph over the boys as a three-year-old. Here is a collection of all 13 of her career wins.

Together Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta brought star power to thoroughbred racing in the 21st century. Congratulations to them, and their connections on their induction into the Racing Hall of Fame. The ceremony at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga, which is scheduled to begin at 10:30am on Friday, is sold out. It can, however, be viewed through the Racing Museum’s website.


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Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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