Late last week the owner of Gulfstream decided to give it one last shot to give the racing world the dream race we've all been waiting for..... Rachel Alexandra vs. Zenyatta in the Donn Handicap. Another thing that Gulfstream is trying to throw into the mix is to invite this years best three year old males, Summer Bird, Mine That Bird, and Quality Road. Don't dare tell me that the thought of this kind of race doesn't start to get your blood pumping.
Not to bring up a tragic past, but this race could very well be the Race of Champions that the world of racing tried to put together when inviting Avatar, Foolish Pleasure, Master Derby, and the unbeaten Ruffian. This race would include all three triple crown winners, the Florida Derby winner, and the Breeders Cup Classic winner. Quality Road has shown flashes of brilliance, the track records of the Florida Derby and Amsterdam Stakes. Summer Bird is a pure classic runner, winning the Belmont, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. Mine That Bird is this years Derby winner and placed in both the Preakness and Belmont. When he's on form, this little birdie can fly.
The above is just the filler to the real match up that includes both Horse of the Year candidates, Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra. 14-14, Zenyatta showed in her dazzling, jaw dropping Classic win, that she could very well be the best distaffer, no, horse in the country, there is just one little problem, Rachel Alexandra. This filly went 8-8 as a three year old, waging a campaign that no other three year old filly for at least sixty years can measure up to. So, who is better? That is the question the world of thoroughbred racing is straining to answer, and the only way for that to happen is a head to head match up.
This race is not an unfair race, to either runner. Rachel Alexandra may have the advantage of the track playing to her favor, but Quality Road has plenty of early speed to keep her under pressure. Zenyatta will benefit from such fractions, as will Mine That Bird and the versatile closer/stalker Summer Bird. The only possible thing I would change about the race is to lengthen it by 1/16 of a mile, to make the distance 9.5 furlongs. This would give the closers so extra distance, so that the wire does not come to quickly, for one of the front runners, who may be tiring.
This sounds like the perfect race, the perfect solution for all the questions, that we fans have. Now, all we have to do is get everyone to come. Zenyatta's owners are most likely planning to retire their champion, but if they real care for the fans, why not give us this one thing? They say they care about racing, this race could generate so much publicity for racing, that people who normally only come out to watch the triple crown would tune in to see it. It could very well be the biggest, most publicised race since the Great Match Race.
Quality Road, if he happens to get over his gate issues would probably come to this race, it is at his favorite track, where he shattered the track record. Mine That Bird and Summer Bird both have sporting trainers, who would love to take another crack at both our filly champions, to exact their revenge for previous losses.
Jess Jackson has proven to be one of the most sporting owners in the game, ready to take on any challenge. This race would give Rachel Alexandra plenty of time to find an easy prep race, to come into the Donn fresh and on her toes. The race is one dirt, not synthetic, which every horse in the race is proven on, and this should satisfy Jackson's want to run over a neural dirt track.
I, really hope, yet doubt Gulfstream can pull this race together. If they could it would be a great way to start of the year. All horses are fresh, all ready to run their best, in a race that would be fair to all. So I send out a plea to both Jess Jackson and Jerry Moss, please don't let this opportunity slip away, show the world that you do care, and enter your champion in a race that could very well be, not only the best of the year, but the decade. Please let your horses do what they were born to do, and let them run!