I really have no intentions of beating around the bush here, so I'll just get right to it. People, there comes a time when enough is enough, and when talking about Horse of the Year, believe me, it's enough. The issue of Horse of the Year has drug along for way way too long. It would not be that bad if people were truly debating, but some of the other blogs I have visited have gone literally insane. Insults are being flung from both sides, and these are not just little jabs, they are mean, rude, personal attacks.
In my eyes both horses are deserving of the award, it just so happens, that I believe one deserves it more than the other. Many others feel the same way, but for the opposite horse, and these folks normally do a good job of backing their favorite up. But then you have these radicals that refuse to acknowledge the brilliance and greatness of the horse that is not their favorite. If you do not agree with a certain point of view, even if you are just saying your piece about your favorite without personally attacking another blogger, believe me, you will be made a verbal punching bag.
The way I see things is that Zenyatta is this big, beautiful, breathtaking, imposing presence on the track. The very sight of her doing her little Spanish dance draws in fans like bees to honey. Then with a patented late kick that propelled her past every horse she has ever faced, she simply seals the deal for all fans. The fact that she is unbeaten and unchallenged only adds to her mystique. She just seems to blow by her rivals with a no effort at all and then as soon as she make the lead, up go the ears. I look at her face and in each race all I see is pure joy on that mare's face. She loves to run, it is so apparent even a blind person could see her joy.
Rachel Alexandra on the other hand seems to draw people in the exact opposite way. Like Zenyatta she too is very tall for a filly, but unlike Zenyatta, Rachel has the more feminine body and face. She has that small head that is marked by her very noticeable interrupted strip. Everything about her seems delicate, but at the same time full of strength and magnificence. Unlike Zenyatta, Rachel does not play to a crowd, she goes about her work in more professional manner, yet still seems to dazzle every fan she walks past. She can blow you away with the incredible, unbelievable ease of her wins or she can capture your heart by displaying her very own by simply refusing to loose.
To diminish either of these great fillies is flat out wrong. I surf from blog to blog and see Zenyatta supports just absolutely trash the competition Rachel has run against, just to try and dim her historic season. They trash her owner and trainer, trash her and her accomplishments, and will tell you that she is one of the most overrated horses of the decade. By the same token I see the same from the very side that I support! Those who do not support Zenyatta will find any little thing they can to knock "She was handled to conservatively", "Her Classic was against a bunch of worn down dirt horses", "She's a California specialist", or "She's a poly specialist". Both sides accuse the other side of ducking, each side accuses the other of purposely seeking out soft competition, and if you don't agree with either side you are verbally crucified.
Do not get me wrong, I am always up for a good debate and I am a loyal defender of the horse I support, but I have grown tired of all the bickering. No matter what anyone says this kind of back and forth is not good for the sport, this fighting can only hurt. What we need to do is acknowledged the incredible season of one and the incredible career of the other, and as a whole appreciate what each of them has accomplished. We need to promote them to the world, we need to be boastful of them and show our country why we are in love with this sport. With these two magnificent fillies we can do just that, but we need to remain positive and respectful. So to whoever wins Horse of the Year, I say congratulations, to the runner-ups I say thank you for sharing such a beautiful champion with us, and thank you for allowing them to light up our year. For I truly feel blessed to have had the opportunity to watch both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta become the leading ladies in the Year of the Filly.