On a day when TVG and Betfair Ltd. committed an extra $400,000 to the Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 3 if both Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra enter the starting gate, Rachel Alexandra co-owner Jess Jackson issued a statement of his own regarding the proposed meeting of the country’s two most popular race horses in training.
If Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra both run in the Beldame, an unlikely scenario at this point, the purse for the race would now be $1 million. The Daily Racing Form quoted Zenyatta’s trainer, John Shirreffs, as saying they would consider the race. It’s my opinion that they’ll consider it for about five seconds and then turn their thoughts back to the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 6-7, meaning Zenyatta’s next start most likely will come in the Lady’s Secret Stakes at Santa Anita’s Oak Tree meeting on Oct. 10.
“Our strategy has not changed in scheduling Rachel Alexandra’s campaign this year. We will always take it one race at a time. Right now, we are focused on her next start. I hope to have a decision on that early next week. After that race, we will need to see how she recovers and then determine her next start.
“I understand the growing excitement around a race that involves these two magnificent athletes competing but both camps need to do what is in the best interest of the horse. And for us, that means waiting until she completes and soundly recovers from her next race before any decisions are made about the Beldame Stakes or any other venue.”
I still maintain the only way these two female equine stars hook up is in a race after the Breeders’ Cup, perhaps at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.