Racing fans are in for a treat next year with two talented fillies, Zenyatta and Cocoa Beach (pictured in the paddock before the Breeders’ Cup), returning for their 5-year-old campaigns.
Zenyatta, in a heated Horse of the Year battle with reigning champion Curlin, will remain on the West Coast and may make her 2009 debut sometime during the upcoming Santa Anita season. She may even race again in the Apple Blossom Handicap in April at Oaklawn Park, a race she won so convincingly last year on dirt that she dispelled any notion that she’s a synthetic-track wonder.
Cocoa Beach, second to Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, looked ultra-impressive while winning the $500,000 Grade I Matriarch by three-quarters of a length Sunday at Hollywood Park. Afterward, trainer Saeed bin Suroor said the daughter of Doneraile Court will be shipped to Kentucky and make her 2009 debut sometime in the spring, perhaps in May.
It’s highly possible these two talented distaffers might not meet again until next year’s Ladies’ Classic. If that’s the case, we just have to keep our fingers crossed that they stay healthy until the end of the year. They are both big, strong fillies, the likes of which don’t come along too often.
My money is still on Zenyatta, but who do you like in a rematch?