Sunday November 8 2009
Thoroughbred racing skeptic-of-Superhorses that I am, I was impressed by Rachel Alexandra (Is She A Freak?), after she beat all the 3-year-old fillies she could find, the 3-year-old boys in the Preakness and the Haskell Stakes, and older males in the Woodward Stakes this year (the first 3-year-old filly to ever win the Woodward.)
After Zenyatta's stunning performance in yesterday's Breeders' Cup Classic (the first female to ever win it), I'm convinced they are both freaks. Secretariats? Ruffians? No. Freaks? Yes. Zenyatta had the announcers stuttering and sputtering after her implausible win. I couldn't believe her run. I couldn't believe it the second time I saw it, nor the third, nor the tenth (I can't stop watching it - I think it was the third time I got over being stunned, and had tears in my eyes.)
It's kind of sad Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta won't meet, (Zenyatta was to be retired after this race) but then I'm glad they won't. With two champions like this, one should not have to end up being a loser.
As for Horse of the Year honors for 2009, it's sad one will be a loser there. In fact it's silly for humans to have to vote who they think is the better Horse of the Year. It's a moot point. Both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta are champions, both did everything they were asked this year, both accomplished far more than any other horse this year (or many other years), both turned in outstanding performances that would make them Horse of the Year any other year. It's not like the Affirmed and Alydar rivalry, where Alydar would have been Horse of the Year any other year that he hadn't run against Affirmed. They did compete, several times, and Affirmed came out on top more. What does it mean when humans vote that they think one filly/mare is better than the other this year, when they are so closely matched, but haven't run together? Nothing: it's just opinions. By choosing one, our opinions might just be wrong and still go down in the history books. One of them is not better than the other. They are both magnificent champions this year.
Both of them should share Horse of the Year honors.
(Guess that's why they don't let me vote. : )
Watch the race on Youtube