What’s Rachel Alexandra Got that Zenyatta Doesn’t?

Zenyatta, winning the Grade 1 Vanity at Hollywood Park in June, originally uploaded by Jeff (aka crystaldiamondk2).

We may never know the answer to that question, but that’s ok. You can only shake your head: Greatness in stereo, on both coasts of the USA, as the racing year prepares to wrap up after being dominated by these two stellar mares.

Undefeated California mare Zenyatta did it again on Saturday, making it 13 in a row with a strong victory in the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret at Santa Anita, as she prepares for her run in the 2009 Breeders Cup next month. Will she defend her title against the fillies and mares or dare to run in the Classic against the likes of Belmont, Travers and Jockey Gold Cup winner Summer Bird and Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird? (And maybe even Euro superstars Rip Van Winkle and Sea the Stars!)

Meanwhile, three-year-old superstar Rachel Alexandra is resting at Kentucky’s Churchill Downs after beating all comers of all ages at tracks in New York, New Jersey, and Kentucky this summer. Her owner is no fan of the racing surface at Santa Anita, and won’t send her west to run on it, so we won’t see Zenyatta race against Rachel Alexandra.

Zenyatta reminds me of a super-engineered German touring car, built for speed and precision and power. Rachel Alexandra reminds me of an Italian sports car, all light and lines and synchronicity.

I am an unabashed fan of both, and love what each has done for racing, although I don’t see why people seem to feel that they have to choose between one or the other. Given the short shelf life of racehorses, enjoy these two superstars while you can!

Speaking of shelf life, a racehorse’s may be short, but we all know what improves with age, and there is one thing that Rachel Alexandra has that Zenyatta does not (at least that I have heard about)…and that is her own line of wines.

Since the holidays are coming and I know the supply is very limited, I thought I would mention that if you have a special person or corporate connection on your gift list who is a racing fan, a gift of a bottle of the limited edition Rachel Alexandra wines from Kendall-Jackson wineries (owner Jess Jackson of Kendall-Jackson is part owner of Rachel Alexandra) would be the ultimate gift.

This is not an ad. It is the simple truth, and it’s great marketing. A boxed bottle signed by jockey Calvin Borel is $150; a plain old bottle with that beautiful filly’s face on it is $50.

The wine is a 2007 vintage pinot noir, sourced from the winery’s Arroyo Seco vineyard in Monterey County, California.

The kj.com web page also features the Kendall-Jackson/Rachel Alexandra Running Auction, a five-month-long charity auction featuring sports items from Rachel Alexandra’s already-historic three-year-old racing season. All of the proceeds from the auction benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Currently up for auction is Calvin Borel’s victory crop, with bidding at $1500. Auctioning of Rachel’s collectibles this fall has raised almost $12,000 for The V Foundation.

Rachel may be done running for the year but her team is obviously still active. Now all eyes are on Zenyatta–and she’s an eyeful! Thanks to Jeff for the loan of this great photo of Zenyatta in mid-air.




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