It's a nice gesture for Betfair/TVG to step up and offer $400,000 to bring the Beldame Stakes purse up to $1 million in an attempt to get Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta to square off. But we already have the forum for the match-up. It's called the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
There's a $2-million race Nov. 6 that would work just fine, and a $5-million race Nov. 7 if they really get bold. The event has worked well for 25 years. It was created to determine champions, so let it do so.
Zenyatta is one-for-one on dirt, and Rachel Alexandra is one-for-one on a synthetic surface, so they're even in that regard. Sure, Zenyatta would have home-field advantage, but Rachel Alexandra has given no indication she'd be at a disadvantage--even if she ran on glass or gravel at this point.
The Oct. 3 Beldame is 1 1/8 miles around one turn, the Nov. 6 Ladies Classic is 1 1/8 miles around two turns. Which would you rather see, and which would produce a truer result?
As for the purse money, I admit it annoys me. We have a racetrack in Kentucky trying to negotiate a $700,000 cut in purses for economic reasons, yet a company is willing to throw $400,000 at a purse that doesn't need to be increased and at owners who probably don't need the money.
Turfway Park and Kentucky horsemen have been TVG exclusive partners for about 10 years. Hey guys, maybe they'll lend a hand.
You get the picture. Things are out of whack.