A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
More Girl Talk: Part Two
One by one I dust a rush them all
If you have any more, bring them
To the front so they can show me what they got
What they got, it better be hot
‘Cause if it’s not, I’ll simply knock them out the box
And they’ll be put in a spot
The style I use will surely amuse the party people to a state of gladness
What I mean is I’m on the scene
I’m the Queen of Royal Badness…
(“Queen of Royal Badness,” written by Dana Owens, aka Queen Latifah, from “All Hail the Queen”).
Throughout 2009, the top story in the Sport of Kings has been about two queens.
Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta were the toast of every coast as their performances on the track electrified millions of racing fans around the world.
With the onset of the Eclipse Awards, two selections who would be unanimous Horse of the Year selections under any other circumstance in any other year must now come to terms as their merits are weighed against each other:
In This Corner:
From the West Coast, Her Royal Highness Zenyatta, aka “Lady Z,” the Undefeated Queen; Grande Dame of Dirt, Contessa of Closers and Supreme Majesty of Synthetic Surfaces!
Zenyatta continued her winning ways in 2009, winning all her races against fillies and mares, going 13 for 13, tying, then shattering the record of the great Personal Ensign for her career before making the big decision to run against the males in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where she closed from 11 lengths back to steamroll past a field of the best horses in the world to finish to win by 1 Â½ lengths.
Lady Z also demolished a field in the Grade I Vanity Stakes carrying a high weight of 129 pounds, spotting the field several pounds in an eye-dropping performance.
From a style standpoint, Zenyatta’s Hoss Power as a winning closer is second to none; no closer I can recall has ever had an undefeated career.
The win and first place purse in the $5 million dollar Classic propelled Zenyatta to the head of the class as the richest female horse ever and among the top 25 earners of all time; as well as the only female to win the prestigious Classic.
The victory also made Zenyatta 2 for 2 in Breeders Cup appearances.
In This Corner:
From the East Coast, Her Royal Highness Rachel Alexandra, aka “Rachel the Conqueror ” – Dominatrix of Dirt, Mistress of Mud, Equine Empress and Warrior Queen of all Thoroughbreds!
Rachel Alexandra’s amazing campaign spanned a twelve month period in which she won 11 races; an unheard of workload for any thoroughbred. She raced and won on seven different tracks in six different states, setting two stakes records for time raced and winning margin (20 Â¼ lengths in the Kentucky Oaks, 19 Â¼ lengths in the Mother Goose).
Queen Alexandra was not only the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness Stakes, but the first horse to ever win from the far post position #13, beating the Kentucky Derby winner, Mine That Bird. She would later beat Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird over the course of her campaign, making her a de facto Triple Crown winner.
Rachel passed up the opportunity to win the Triple Tiara as a filly champion to go against the boys as well as the girls – which she did in punishing fashion, setting or breaking stakes records six times!
She raced against – and beat – male competition three times under different conditions, winning on dry tracks as well as in the slop. Her performance in the Haskell Invitational was unprecedented as the first female to ever win the race.
Her Beyer speed figure was the highest of any North American horse running in 2009, just missing Secretariat’s track record by less than a second, and she never scratched out of a race because of condition.
So who is the Undisputed Queen of All Badness?
Without a doubt, it is the Warrior Queen, Rachel Alexandra. She took on all comers and was a fighting champion, forcing Zenyatta to take the challenge of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Many times during the past year, I have mentioned the patented Four Heel Drive of Queen Rachel. My fellow punter Roast Beef told me why Rachel is such a powerful champion. “She’s a long strider whose power is from her hind legs,” says The Beef. “I think that’s one reason why she handled the mud so well. She won by 20 lengths and she stomped that field; and won the Haskell by six lengths.”
Most thoroughbreds do run off their front legs, but when you consider Rachel kept her speed up in spite of several horses taking runs at her, you have a Noble Beast with the heart of a true champion.
Her versatility to stalk or run from the front makes her just as unique as the ground – gobbling Zenyatta.
As great as Queen Zenyatta is, when you consider all of the above factors, if I have a vote, it goes to the 2009 Eclipse Award Horse of the Year: RACHEL ALEXANDRA!
THE DOMINATRIX OF DIRT REIGNS TONIGHT!!!