By Laura Pugh, Horsin' Around
Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Dream Distaff, featuring Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and Breeders Cup Classic winner, the mighty Zenyatta! What a beautiful day it is at Belmont Park and it seems like the horses are enjoying themselves too. It is a perfect day for racing with the temperatures reaching an unseasonable warm 55 degrees. The sun is out, the track is fast, prime conditions for the first meeting of the two mighty champions.
Here they come out of the tunnel and onto the track, led by the last filly, or horse for that matter, to beat the great Rachel Alexandra. After her, comes the champion filly, and the crowd erupts, as Rachel Alexandra is led out onto the track. She is looking good and seems to have her game face on. The runaway winner of the Personal Ensign, Icon Project, comes next, followed by Bambera. The super filly from Venezuela figures to have the best chance at upsetting the two titains, and she strides confidently onto the track. Next comes the classy Justwhistledixie, and Ohhhh, listen to that crowd roar and Zenyatta is led, dancing her way, out onto the track. This is the chance for the amazon mare to prove to the world that she is the best, and she looks ready to put forth a career best effort. Soon after her comes the big mare's stable mate Life is Sweet and then rounding out the field are the two greys, the speedy Careless Jewel and the Stardom Bound.
They are at the gate, nobody seems to want to put up any antics today, and the gate crew quickly has the field loaded and set for the start. Annnnddd, They're OFF! Most of the field is away beautifully, but Zenyatta, Life is Sweet and Stardom Bound all come out of the gate a couple beats slow. Calvin Borel, looks like he's going to try and harness some of that early speed as Bambera makes her way to the lead, with Careless Jewel crossing the field, right on her heels. As they enter the first turn it's Bambera with the lead, with Careless Jewel only a neck off her. Then comes Icon Project slightly ahead of, Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra in fourth. Flashing isn't far back, but is rating kindly in fifth followed by Swift Temper, Music Note, and Seventh Street.
The field blows through the first quarter in a quick 23 seconds flat. Rachel Alexandra is still rating fourth down on the inside, with Bambera and Careless Jewel still going at it on the lead. At the back of the back Zenyatta is remaining surprisingly close to pack while Life is Sweet drafts in behind her and Stardom Bound trails the field. The half goes in a blistering 45 and 3/5 seconds, and now Careless Jewel is starting wilt on the lead. Six furlongs in a punishing 1.09 flat.
Three furlongs to go in the Dream Distaff and Careless Jewel throws in the towel, and now Icon Project is coming up to challenge. Rachel Alexandra is still waiting patiently down at the rail, and he come the Californian trio led by the amazon Zenyatta! Into the stretch they come, Rachel Alexandra is being asked for run, but is looking for room, and there she goes on the rail! Borel and his filly squeeze though the gap and now it's Rachel Alexandra and Bambera, as the field turns for home. Life is Sweet and Stardom Bound are still closing, but the mighty Zenyatta has left them behind, and is closing like a freight train on the outside!
Bambera has the slight advantage with one furlong to go, but now Rachel Alexandra digs in deep, surging up to put her neck in front! Zenyatta is bearing down on the leaders, but they both have something left. Rachel Alexandra is inching ahead of the Venezuelan filly. Zenyatta is now being asked for everything she has, but as they cross the wire it's Rachel Alexandra THE GREAT! The final time is 1.45 and 4/5 seconds! Only two fifths of a second off of Secretariat's track record! Zenyatta looks like she might have just nipped Bambera for the place. Icon Project is fourth, Life is Sweet was fifth, with Music Note sixth. What and unbelievable finish to the Dream Distaff!