Filly of the Decade

The first 10 years of the new century have produced many superstar runners in North America. The editors have whittled down a lengthy list to what they believe to be the 12 best female runners of the decade (2000-09).

Now it's time for you to rank them in your order. Final results will appear in the Dec. 26th issue of The Blood-Horse.

To participate, use your cursor to drag the selections on the left (currently arranged in alphabetical order) to the blank placeholders on the right. Once you have completed ranking all of the horses, submit your entries and compare your results to the rest of the community. A first place finish will earn 11 points, second place receives 10 points, and so on.

127 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Frank J.

I had most of these pretty much in common with everyone else. I put Goldikova second and Rachel third. I just don't see how you can rank Rachel ahead of Goldikova, who won 2 Breeders Cup races in consecutive years.

03 Dec 2009 3:02 PM
Deacon

This list is tough but where are Zarkava and Vodka? I know who do you take off the current list. Halfbridled, Sightseek and Silverbulletday were pretty nice fillies as well.

03 Dec 2009 3:02 PM
Ted in Virginia

Deacon,

The description clearly says "superstar runners in NORTH AMERICA". That's why Zarkava and Vodka have been ommitted.

03 Dec 2009 3:07 PM
MichaelM.

The current results show that most people are a what have you done for me lately crowd.There is simply no way OUIJA BOARD ranks 2 spots below Goldikova let alone being ranked 5th.Ouija Board won 7 G1'S lifetime while racing against the top horses male and female around the world.To be ranked behind RA is a joke let alone Zenyatta.Zenyatta maybe undefeated but the competition she faced in comparison to Ouija is very suspect.

03 Dec 2009 3:07 PM
Susie

Well lovely fillies, how Proud Spell and Nashoba's Key made this list is beyond me.

03 Dec 2009 3:22 PM
QHEventr

I had Ouija Board ranked first.....hands down. She showed up everytime here and abroad

03 Dec 2009 3:50 PM
aspradling

Seriously though, I would vote Rachel for HOY, but the decade? She has only one ear of racing versus a full career of achievements.

Fans, read up on the decade's mares.

03 Dec 2009 3:57 PM
Karren E.

The results look like a case of "what have you done for me lately".  There are some very nice fillies/mares on that list.  I put Ouija Board first - she showed class over males and females.

03 Dec 2009 3:59 PM
FAN

You have to compare the races and who they raced.  Rachel is my pick with Zenyatta behind her.

Rachel raced at different tracks.

Zenyatta only synthetic in CA.

03 Dec 2009 4:05 PM
KK

MichaelM: I ranked O.B. first on my list before I read your comment. Are you single? :)

03 Dec 2009 4:06 PM
drssports

Ouija Board is still the queen!

03 Dec 2009 4:16 PM
Stacy

Indian Blessing?

03 Dec 2009 4:34 PM
Singspiel

This is for filly of the decade which means you can't count Zenyatta 2009 season because she was a mare.

03 Dec 2009 4:46 PM
Diva Lover

How can Makybe Diva NOT have made this list??? Sorry but she was MUCH better than Proud Spell and a few others!

:-(

03 Dec 2009 4:53 PM
Art

I'm at a loss to how Nashoba's Key and Proud Spell are on the list.  Actually, if you're going to name Proud Spell, you should have probably put Music Note on the list, as she was probably the better of the two.  To think that NK and PS made the list over somebody like Sightseek is extremely confusing to me.  

03 Dec 2009 5:07 PM
Citation

Rachel first hands down--ran more races, ran on many different surfaces and conditions, did not scratch like Zenyatta in the Oaks.  Zenyatta is a great horse, but her handlers were also quite adept at picking tracks, conditions etc.  

The current Zenyatta craze just goes to show that most people have short memories.  Because most of Rachels wins came in the first 1/2 of the year, and Zenyatta's most spectacular win occurred late in the year, people tend to remember what happened more recently!  Human nature.

Also, I suspect that Zenyatta's amazing physique may have something to do with the craze.

03 Dec 2009 5:14 PM
Eli

Zenyatta..is the best by far.  Horse of the Year and Filly/ Mare of the decade.

03 Dec 2009 5:15 PM
Brian Appleton

Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra on top, what a surprise! (:

Goldikova got my vote for third.  If she wins the Mile again next year she should get serious consideration for number 1.

03 Dec 2009 5:21 PM
dakody

rachel alexandra,beat the best 3 old fillies and colts and beat older horses on a fast track or in the slop and she just kept running .she will only get better as 4 yr old.

03 Dec 2009 5:25 PM
Lydia

I had Rachel on top, Zenyatta second and Ouija Board third.  Obviously the rankings can only be based on what these horses have done so far and only two of them will be back next year .. fingers crossed.  It's awfully difficult to actually rank horses who never could have, or would have for that matter, run against each other. I have Rags in 4th, Xtra Heat in 5th.  I realize that puts Azeri and Goldikova out of the top five, but someone had to be left out.  Too tough.

03 Dec 2009 5:29 PM
JerseyBoy

Rags to Riches is the most under-rated horse in a long time. Have people forgotten that she beat Curlin, after breaking slowly?

03 Dec 2009 5:30 PM
mike rullo

rags to riches is easily the best filly on this list,no way rachel at the belmont distance,and zenyatta can not run on dirt,dont say the apple blossom in 08.browne points got second in that race ,she is a high priced claimer.

03 Dec 2009 5:37 PM
carolyn

Zenyatta #1, she went up against the world, and won!!!!! in both classics. "PRICELESS"

03 Dec 2009 5:47 PM
Andrea

That was a tough list but I agree about Proud Spell. IMO, she wasn't even the best 3yo filly last year let alone the decade. It made me laugh when I saw her in this group.

03 Dec 2009 6:39 PM
DKS

Don't forget Makybe Diva

03 Dec 2009 6:44 PM
Duke of Magenta

Come on! Zenyatta? Really? She only ran outside of California once (where she ran at tracks that favored stone cold closers). She beat a Breeders Cup Classic field that was less than stellar, and that's being kind. It was missing racing's two biggest stars, Sea the Stars and Rachel Alexandra (The general public knows Rachel better). Rachel Alexandra had one of, if not the best seasons for a three year old filly. Up there with Miss Woodford (1883), Regret (1915), Twilight Tear (1944), Busher (1945), and Ruffian (1975). Rachel is not a three time champion like Azeri, nor does she have as many wins as Xtra Heat, but Her 2009 season was the best season for a female horse this decade. It would take too long to list her amazing accolades this year. Why is no one talking about Azeri? She was the model of consistancy during her entire career. Her record was a little tarnished after she went to Lukas. Half of these horses are only on this list because of their Breeders Cup wins. Come on guys, I know that you people aren't that shallow to base you rankings just off of that.

03 Dec 2009 7:30 PM
Greg J.

    Umm, How about Zenyatta and Ouija Board tied at first?, Ok, I will give a slight edge to Zenyatta, I throw out all stats and envision a match race in my head with all, I honestly cannot see Zenyatta losing to any. So, She gets the edge for first.  Ouija Board gets second with Goldikova third and Rachel fourth. If Rachel races next year and performs even close to what she did this year, Well, She would easily move up to second...

03 Dec 2009 7:31 PM
Hawkeye

I do not believe one race makes a champion therefore in many instances I don't agree with the rest.  However, differences of opinion make the world go around. The Breeder's Cup races are just like any other grade I race to me.

03 Dec 2009 7:33 PM
Christina

Love Zenyatta and Rachel both

03 Dec 2009 8:04 PM
Edward

It should of been a top 8. Not much to separate the top four Ouiji Board, Goldikova, Zenyatta, RA. They are a cut above with Ashado , Azeri and Rags just a few hairs off. But all seven are all-timers. The rest were excellent race horses but do not belong on any lists. The 8th spot is for all the the other grade 1 fillies in the decade. They can share it.

03 Dec 2009 8:37 PM
Matthew W

My top seven were close to the list---I had a hard time ranking Rags To Riches as low as 5th, while the consensus had her 6th---I had Goldikova 2nd, Rachel 3rd based on the two good years of Goldy, and that should really count for something! Nashoba's Key is 8th on my list, so I did differ there, but she was all that...I'm hoping Rachel Alexandra the Great makes both decades! Like her male "counterpart", Spectacular Bid did, in 70's/80's....

03 Dec 2009 8:48 PM
MRO

I was very surprised to see Proud Spall on this list. Nice filly, but not a top 10 of the decade filly. 1) Ouija Board 2) Rags 3)Zenyatta 4) Xtra Heat

03 Dec 2009 9:03 PM
Rachelfan

I have to put Rachel Alexandra first, Zenyatta second and Goldiokva third. Rachel has beaten colts, older horses and she has won two races by 20 lengths a piece. Zenyatta's BC Classic was unbelieveable, she is for sure of one the top horses in the country and she is unbeaten. In a way she probably deserves to be first, but I can't see her beating Rachel. Rachel is a super horse, she is a raw talent. I saw Goldiokva win her first BC mile, she was absolutely amazing and therefore I believe she deserves second but I don't believe she can't beat Zenyatta.  All in all a great race this would be.

03 Dec 2009 9:27 PM
Gail

I think your list is flawed. I can think of three names missing. Makybe Diva being the most obvious. Zenyatta belongs on the list, just not no.1 Emotion not logic.

03 Dec 2009 10:15 PM
bsinboots

I don't see why Proud Spell is on this list, but Nashoba's Key definitely deserves to be here!  She was undefeated before a very unlucky loss in the Breeders Cup. Watching her in CA, I thought she was spectacular. I had Rags first...she beat a 2 time HOY on dirt at a mile and a half. Don't know if any other horse on this list could do that.

03 Dec 2009 10:28 PM
Scarletandgraypimpernel

This really was the Decade of the Distaffers when you consider the quality of overseas fillies and mares ineligible for voting.

Zarkava would be my first choice in any poll.  Toss in Vodka, Makybe Diva, Banks Hill, Peeping Fawn, et. al.

03 Dec 2009 10:31 PM
Paseana

There is one that's left off this list that is immediately conspicuous by her absence.  I for one thought of her immediately.

Am I the only one that remembers the mighty pipsqueak, Megahertz?  All 800 pounds of her?  In any 2-turn turf stakes you want to name, she was thoroughly capable of beating anyone on this list.  I'm not saying she should be #1 or anything, only that she most definitely belongs!

She was the sport's little "Mighty Mouse"!

03 Dec 2009 10:53 PM
Winner

I think its close between Ouija Board, and Rachel.

I was also torn between proud Spell or Zenyatta- JK shes within the top three

03 Dec 2009 11:38 PM
carolyn

Hawkeye, Zenyatta won more than one race, Lets not forget she has 2 Breeders Cups on her resume, and she beat Ginger Punch on dirt. Zenyatta is 14-0 Undefeated, She has had two exceptional years of racing, and we have had two exceptional years of watching her. She didn't start racing until she was four, so therefore, she wasn't allowed to run in most of the 3 year old races that RA and other's were. She gets my vote for horse of the decade, hands down. Her field of contenders in the BCC, where more tougher than all of RA contenders were in all of her races, and at a longer distance.

03 Dec 2009 11:39 PM
Greg J.

    Megahertz!  Thanks! She sure should be on the list!  What an amazing little filly, And, She had 34 starts and hit the board in 25, Like you said, All 800 pounds of her, I think most of that was heart...

03 Dec 2009 11:45 PM
Rich

one classy bunch of mares that deserve alot of respect

03 Dec 2009 11:52 PM
AnneM

Um - Am I missing something? Clearly the best filly of the last decade is Zarkava and she isn't even on this list -Nor is Vodka but Proud Spell is???? So much for meaningless lists...

04 Dec 2009 12:03 AM
Blood-Horse Staff

Please note that this is for females who ran in North America. That is why great females like Zarkava, Vodka, Makybe Diva, and others do not appear here.

04 Dec 2009 1:18 AM
Jeremy

How can they forget Riboletta? In 2000 prior to the Breeders Cup she seemed virtually unbeatable but just didnt run her race on the Churchill Downs. I see Spain was left off the list also, but then again although she didnt win as much at one point she was the richest mare in North America.

04 Dec 2009 2:03 AM
no love for xtra heat?

Zenyatta is my top pick, but Xtra Heat comes in a close second.  Has everyone forgotten what this filly did?  She ran, as a 3yo, against one of the best group of male sprinters we've ever seen..Kona Gold, Caller One, Squirtle Squirt, Delaware Township, and fillies like Victory Ride,Carson Hollow, Gold Mover, Shione Again, and Nasty Storm.  She won the only G1 going 6f for fillies/mares (Prioress) and gave the boys everything they could handle in the 01 Sprint and others. She won a record (for a f/m) 26 stakes races, 12 of them graded. Of her 34 starts over 2 1/2 years (yes, she raced about 10-11 times a year!), she won 26, was 2nd 5 times, third once. Sher went to Dubai and ran 3rd in the golden shaheen. Xtra Heat is the best filly or mare sprinter we;ve seen in many a year.  Give her the respect she's earned!

04 Dec 2009 2:40 AM
Doug Wofford

Eight Belles?

04 Dec 2009 5:24 AM
da3hoss

Xtra Heat: All-time leading female stakes winner (25), 35 Starts - 26 wins - 5 place - 2 show

Ran against the boys 4 times, won Phoenix BC, second BC Sprint, 3rd Golden Shaheen & DeFrancis Memorial...stakes and track records...raced ages 2-5

"She's on Fire!"

04 Dec 2009 7:38 AM
Tiznow1310

Wow, this poll is concrete evidence proving how often fans are "Prisoners of the Moment." The top 3 all ran this year.

People are upset over some being left out - SIGHTSEEK being the main one. I totally agree. But what about the Brazilian mare who dominated the first year of this decade: RIBOLETTA? She owned Beautiful Pleasure that year. And SPAIN, the filly who upset Riboletta in that Distaff at 55-1? She almost won the next year (well done Victor!) for two straight, and passed Serena's Song for richest female earner in history before Azeri grabbed that mantle. Didn't she also win a grade 1 at Churchill while pregnant? Also, if we're going to have Proud Spell on the list, how about FLUTE?!?

In my opinion, Ouija Board is the queen of the decade. I put Rachel Alexandra second due the depth of her 3yo campaign measured with her utter demolition of her 3yo filly peers. I never rooted for her, but I always recognized Azeri's brilliance. If Riboletta and Sightseek were on the list, I'd put them 4th and 5th respectively. Perhaps I'm just trying to get a rise out of the Zen Men (and woMen). I still don't think they're as crazy as Bernardini's 'Dini Weenies. These things are fun to fight over.

04 Dec 2009 7:53 AM
MRO

What about Ventura?

04 Dec 2009 7:58 AM
jamesb

QHEventr....I completely agree.  Of the fillies to run in NA in the last decade.  Ouija Board is hands down the most accomplished.  I could be wrong but wasn't she the European HOY in '04 and '06?  And she went 1-2-1 in her Breeders Cup races even though she wasn't in her best form in '05.

Toss in the international races she won (and just missed) against males and her Prince of Wales win (beating a DWC and DDF winner) and it isn't even close.

I would rank Goldikova second.

04 Dec 2009 9:39 AM
Fan of the fillies

RA is great, no doubt.  However, she has some left to prove to be up there with Goldy, Z, OB, and Azeri.  Most of us were as in love with Azeri in her heyday as we are with Z so dig deep for the emotions long gone.  You can judge these superstars for what they did or could have done.  They were only allowed what their connections dictated.  RA, has never gone 1 1/4 and most likely wouldn't last with her current running style.  We'll see if she rates better next year.  Her owner picked and choosed just as much as Z's.  OB and Azeri are beyond tough, could Z beat them... undoubtedly... She NEVER loses, but we'll never know. All we have are opinions.

04 Dec 2009 11:31 AM
Jennifer

Where is Eight Belles?

She was a great filly.

and Ruffian?

Why is she not on this list

04 Dec 2009 11:36 AM
Dickson

RA on top.  Zenyatta's competition less impressive.

04 Dec 2009 11:56 AM
Smarie

Zenyatta is the best, hands down. And Xtra Heat- what a race record.

04 Dec 2009 12:18 PM
Lady Ruffian

Queen. Zenyatta.

04 Dec 2009 12:47 PM
Cigar16

These ranking charts sure get everyone talking. Might be nice to make the lists as the top 20, on dirt, turf, and international surfaces. I suppose for the sake of argument synthetics would fall under dirt. LOL! Sorry Mr. Jackson.

04 Dec 2009 1:09 PM
Mike S

One race doesn't make a champion, you're right, but ZENYATTA's 14 brilliant races sure makes a champion. ZENYATTA is the best racehorse to have raced in 2008 and 2009 in North America, maybe even the world.

04 Dec 2009 1:49 PM
Alan Ehrenman

Rachel first then Zenyatta, Rags to

Riches, Azeri

04 Dec 2009 2:12 PM
Vic S

Zenyatta wins.  14 for 14, BCC win, 2 full seasons in racing's highest company (G1 races).  This never happened before and it will NEVER happen again(Undefeated mare, 14 for 14, caps off with BCC win).  3 year old fillies have quite recently been running very well in the TC (Rags to Riches 07'in Blemont, Eight Belles (2nd in Derby 08'), and Rachel Alexandra in 09' Preakness.  People say wow look at the males she beat.  You know what, usually when females race males, which isn't all that often they do well.  Why?  Female horses beat males all the time.  Zenyatta did it the easiest and on racing's biggest stage.  I didn't see her struggling to beat a 50-1 shot KD winner at 1 3/16.  I didn't see her just holding on to beat a one-time G1 winner by a head(who actually would not be a G1 winner had Einstein not been boxed in for the Stephen Foster).  Also, winning some G1 races against a few G1 fillies, should not boost her.  That Mother Goose was gift wrapped.  Point being, Zenyatta easily shades her.  As for 3rd place it has to be Azeri.  If it wasn't for her injury who knows just how good she could have been, she was never the same horse after and was made of iron.  Was 5th in arguably the Breeders' Cup 2nd deepest field in 2004(behind 98').  Those are my top 3. 4 to 12 goes as so. 4- Ouija Board, 5 - Goldikova, 6- Rags to Riches, 7 - Ginger Punch, 8 - Nashoba's Key, 9 - Ashado, 10 - Xtra Heat, 11 - Proud Spell, and finally 12 - Beautiful Pleasure.

04 Dec 2009 2:34 PM
Knightmare

Azeri hands down. 11 G1 wins more than any other horse on the list. When she ran in the classic she took on a real field of male "dirt" runners featuring Ghostzapper, Pleasantly Perfect, and Roses in May.

Outside of her Rachel may have put on one of the all time great racing campaigns in modern racing history. When she faced fillies she won by as much as she wanted, when she faced three year old males she won from post 13 in the Preakness, she beat them up by the second largest margin of victory in the Haskell, and was the first filly to ever win Woodward.

In the US we appear to have a bias against turf horses in general, when it comes to Horse of the Year or something like this Horse of the Decade. So it baffles me to no end how a Synthetic specialist is so highly reveered. Don't tell me how she won the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn proves she can run on dirt. Take a look at recent Arkansas Derby winners Papa Clem and Gayego Synthetic runners that can't run as well on dirt winning at Oaklawn. Zenyatta while very nice should be lower on the list.

04 Dec 2009 3:00 PM
John

Why even ask.  It's what Mike Smith so acurately said "Zenyatta is the HORSE OF THE DECADE!"

04 Dec 2009 4:19 PM
butterfly

Zenyatta, absolutely.She is beautiful and can dance too. How many horses have a fan club and appear on Facebook?  

04 Dec 2009 4:19 PM
Manny T

Wasn't there a similiar discussion like this a couple of weeks ago.  Anyway, if you missed it - Zenyatta is the greatest female racehorse of all time and only behind the great Secretariat as the greatest racehorse of all time.  End of argument.

04 Dec 2009 4:21 PM
George

Zenyatta should be first.  All other a tie for last.

04 Dec 2009 4:22 PM
sigmund

Zenyatta is the end result of over 200 years of horse breeding in America.  She is the perfect specimen, the perfect racehorse.

The group of horses her is an insult to her.

04 Dec 2009 5:33 PM
fabusys

where's Makybe - 3 Melbourne Cups $10,000,000 plus???

04 Dec 2009 8:14 PM
Jodie

Zenyatta has my vote for being the best.  No one knows how Rachel will come back as a four year old.  It is not unknown for them to come back as a complete dud.  That is why I think Zenyatta is so special as she remained undefeated even at 5 years old.

04 Dec 2009 11:47 PM
carolyn

If some of these horses only raced one year so far,or only one year, how do you call them " Filly of a Decade", You can't base  a decade on one year. That's crazy? Suppose they tank the second or third year? Then what? Doesn't make any sense.

05 Dec 2009 12:27 AM
Slew

A lot of people here are..."what have you done for me lately"  and the RA/Zen arguments start again.

HOTY 2002 Azeri

Older horse of the year 2002, 2003, 2004...Azeri.

And where is Ventura?

05 Dec 2009 1:04 AM
Miss Woodford

Come on guys! You can't call her the best of all time. That's going way too far. Zenyatta is nowhere near the caliber of the incomperable Miss Woodford. If you don't know about her, look her up. Sunny Fitzsimmons, one of the greatest trainers of all time swore that she was the best filly or mare she had ever seen. She certainly wasn't the best to run in 2008 or 2009 either. You can't put her above Curlin, Sea the Stars, Rachel Alexandra, or Zarkava. She beat up on a bunch of lackluster mares, only left California once, beat Ginger Punch, who wasn't the same as she was the year before, and she beat one of the weakest Classic fields ever.

05 Dec 2009 1:11 AM
Pasturelands

RACHEL is NO. 1, no question about it.  She is no "One-race champion" like Zenyatta, whose SOLE claim to fame is her SINGLE WIN at the BC Classic, nothing else.

No matter how anybody slices or dices it, Rachel DID win THRICE against male horses, and even older male horses, in the SAME YEAR.  Can you beat that?

By the way, where is VENTURA??  She also should have a shot at the "filly of the decade."

05 Dec 2009 1:57 AM
Lily

Do this again in 5 years, then we will see where zenyatta ranks after the emotions die down

05 Dec 2009 10:05 AM
Mary in VT

These poll results seem to say two things:

While "perfect" is certainly a great thing to accomplish, "tested" and "proven" beyond a doubt is better. Rachel, Azeri, Ouija Board, Rags To Riches were hard working ladies campaigned in a way that repeatedly put it all on the line and risked defeat.

Secondly, the lower placements than some might have expected for the two '08 and '09 Breeder's Cup winners, Zenyatta and Goldikova, illustrate that people do realize that true dirt horses were unfairly handicapped on the ProRide. While that is not what the BC committee set out to do, it is now a well documented fact that it did occur. These two years are and forever will be thought of as the asterisk Breeders' Cups that unintentionally handicapped dirt horses in dirt races. Maybe the results would have been the same on real dirt, but we will never know that.

I guess the moral of the story is that if you think you own one of those horses that breathes the rarefied air of the "greatest" of our time, going for "perfect" in your own backyard is a cheap substitute for "proving it" hither and yon. That is the precedent that has been set, and that is the precedent that must be lived up to.

05 Dec 2009 11:30 AM
Cigar16

I see alot of comments for Xtra Heat..This filly/mare was not in this decade but IMHO matching up speed and heart Safely Kept would have had Xtra Heat measured every time.

05 Dec 2009 12:03 PM
Slew

Manny T...haven't been around horse racing too long?  Never saw

Man O'War, Ruffian, Seattle Slew,

Affirmed, Cigar, Sham, etc and the

other 93 top horses of the 20th Century?????  Zenyatta is great,

but not the only great since Secretariat.  (You're pushing Ruffian and Lady's Secret to a back shelf?)

Rachel Alexandra is also on Face Book.

The Zen did not run in just ONE race..she has 14 wins and NO loses.

Of this decade, I've got to say,

2008-2009 may have been the greatest, with the 2 top horses in North America both being females.

That's girl power!

05 Dec 2009 12:41 PM
Jonas luva

Zenyatta, Rags,Azeri   Rachel should have run in the Classic she still needs to prove her self to me

05 Dec 2009 12:54 PM
Lee

Ruffian and Makybe Diva are not on the list because it is fillies who raced in NORTH AMERICA since 2000!

Zenyatta beat the same boys that Rachel did. IF the BCC field was weak, so was the field in the Preakness, Travers and Woodward!

Rachel should have been at the BC, very unsporting of Jess Jackson to leave her home.

05 Dec 2009 2:14 PM
shane

I like xtra heat.....36 races? wow!!! winning 25. talk about fun ownership. that is what its all about running and winning.

05 Dec 2009 3:37 PM
Convene

I can't see Proud Spell ranked last but of course it's just an opinion poll. As for Eight Belles, she had the makings of a champion and probably would have been one. (I love her too!)Unfortunately, she remains a song never really sung - and that's one of the tragedies of our sport, isn't it. Sometimes a star flicks off before its light reaches full brightness.

05 Dec 2009 7:29 PM
Rowner

Can't believe RA is first on this list. As some have said its what have you done for me lately.  I'm sorry OB and Goldi rank higher for me. Everyone forget how Rag's beat two time HOY Curlin or how consistent Azeri or Xtra Heat's records were. How about Ventura on this list, I think she would rank higher than PS. Any ways I think RA's year was great but she has more to prove to horse of the decade. The Zen/RA debate has not stopped and I am so sick of it, the fact is I think others rank higher over both of them.

05 Dec 2009 8:06 PM
jamesb

Why is it so hard for people to understand the first two sentences of this blog?  Amazing.

05 Dec 2009 8:43 PM
Chief

RA in first,against this field!! Did you people fall and hit your heads???The main older horse she beat was Macho Again not one of the strongest handicap horses of the year.She has NEVER won or maybe ever win a Breeders Cup race .Golda,OB,Zen,and Rags have proven more in the last 3years

06 Dec 2009 12:44 AM
Sonny

By the results as listed above it is nice to know that the public has no votes that matter in awarding Horses for what they have done on the track.

On record alone the results show just how little the public really knows about what they speak.

06 Dec 2009 2:14 AM
Mary in VT

Rowner -

Cheer up. I am happy to tell you that you are wrong that everyone has forgotten how Rags to Riches beat Curlin.

I'm a huge Curlin fan, and was certain that he would pull away from her. Nope. She matched him stride for stride, and then inched her way out in front in a thrilling stretch duel.

Rags to Riches broke poorly and *still* got her nose in front of eventual two time HOY Curlin on a course he loved, and would go on to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup twice on.

On the one hand, it is hard to see one of your heart horses get beat, but if you don't give credit where it is earned and due, this all becomes quite meaningless. Can't let that happen.

Now both have new careers and I can hardly stand to wait to see their first foals run. Imagine the impact the fillies and mares on this will have!

06 Dec 2009 9:33 AM
Bernard

The past CEO of Santa Anita, whom has been following horse racing since the last 1930's has said that Zenyatta is the greatest horse he has EVER seen.  HOF jockey Gary Stevens, whom has seen, riden, and competed some of history's greatest racehorses has said that Zenyatta is the greatest racehorse he has EVER seen. The Oak Tree Racing Association has replaced a Horse of the Year Lady's Secret Stakes race with one named after Zenyatta.  HOF jockey Mike Smith said Zenyatta is the Horse of the Decade, the greatest horse he has seen.  The announcer at Hollywood Park she is the greatest. I've followed horse races for many years, first in New York and later in California.  Zenyatta is not only the horse of the decade, but clearly the greatest female racehorse of all time!

06 Dec 2009 11:32 AM
da3hoss

Cigar16, Xtra heat ran 2000-2003. I think that's this decade!;-)

06 Dec 2009 12:05 PM
Jersey Girl 412

Jerseyboy, Rags didnt break slowly. she almost fell on her face and ate the dirt! i was there, and thought right at that instant her race was over. instead she showed her heart and beat future HOY Curlin. Clearly an underrated filly... As under-rated as Zenyatta is over-rated. Yes, Zen won the Classic. What else did she do this year? Beautiful to watch her, but I do wish her connections had done more with her to show the world how truly great she is. The potential was there, and now it will be whisked off to the breeding shed, all for the sake of keeping a perfect-but-mediocre (except for the Classic) record in tact.

06 Dec 2009 12:14 PM
SMTDL

I had Rachel 1st,Rags to Riches 2nd with Kenyatta 3rd.

RA made more history in her last 5 races than most of the list combined as for as margin of victory,stakes records,success against 3yo males/older horses/speed ratings.She raced all over the country on every type of track.Her Preakness win from post 13 ..wide almost all the way,fast pace and still held off the Derby winner..truely awesome and on 2 weeks rest!!!She beat 2 Belmont winners and the Derby winner plus grade 1 older male horses..Unprecedented!!!! Can't wait to see her 4yo campaign.In teh Belmont Rags to Riches must have lost a good 5 lengths to (2 time HOY)Curlin with a bad start and being very wide on both turns while Curlin was inside all the way.He still couldn't get by her at a mile and a half!!!Awesome!!Zenyatta In the Classic ..priceless too!Too bad she didn't get out of California more!!!

06 Dec 2009 12:46 PM
Jodie

Rachel has ONE good racing year and she is horse of the decade??  What am I missing here.  Isn't a decade 10 years?  If you were looking at the most dominent in this ten years it would have to be Ouija Board.  She never failed to impress.

06 Dec 2009 2:53 PM
mardiluv

I consider myself a veteran  horse-racing fan, having closely followed the racing scene for the past 50 years. I have seen some of the greatest specimens of horseflesh ever to grace a racetrack. Eight Belles was one of these specimens, and if she had the chance I believe she would of been one of the best fillies of all time. But sadly, she was robbed of that greatness, and so were we. With that said, Rachel now has the potential to live up to that greatness. ZENYATTA, on the other hand, has already proven to be the FILLY OF THE DECADE, if not the HORSE of the decade!!! No IFS, ANDS, OR BUTS about it!!! She would beat ANY of the others on this list with as little effort as she used in the BC Classic! NOT EMOTION FOLKS, but FACT!!! Take this from a former horse owner... the only filly greater than Zenyatta in the past 50 years was Ruffian. I don't care what track she did or didn't run on. The FACT is she beat the Kentucky Derby winner and Belmont Stakes winner in the same race! She would of beat the Preakness winner too if entered! Rachel is a magnificent filly too but sorry, right now THE MIGHTY Z rules!!!

06 Dec 2009 3:40 PM
LAZMANNICK

Miss Woodford

I read your post about Miss Woodford.  She certainly was one of the top all time.  How she would compare to other greats down through the ages would be pretty tough to gage.  I looked up to see if she was on the Top 100 Horses of the Century list and she wasn't on it.  Then it dawned on me, her career started and ended BEFORE the poll was taken.  LOL

06 Dec 2009 3:53 PM
LAZMANNICK

mardiluv

A great post, well thought out and well stated.  I truly believe that Zenyatta really is a freak, perfect in every way, the type that comes along every thirty or forty years and maybe even longer.  She might have been lightly raced this season and she might have had her season confined to synthetics, but it doesn't matter.  She  is awesome on dirt, could adapt to any distance, and has that will to win that is unlike any I have ever seen before and I have been watching races for many, many years.  I am glad that she never faced Rachel and not because I fear that Rachel would defeat her, because I don't think that would ever happen.  My two regrets with Zen are:  That she never raced on grass and that she never competed in the Arc because I truly believe that she would have given Europe's best horses the toughest race of their career.

06 Dec 2009 6:53 PM
bobbinjay

I am not even going to vote because I know the RA fans are ALL over this vite. I am going to guess RA is ranked 1st. I would have Ouija Board, Goldikova, Zenyatta/RA in that order. I don't need to put an explanation for any of these fillies.

07 Dec 2009 1:05 AM
Mary in VT

One thing for sure, a poll like this gets you thinking and helps put racing accomplishments in perspective.

Ouija Board: two time Horse of the Year in Europe, captured two runnings of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I), two time female Turf Eclipse Award winner, won a total of seven group/grade I races and amassed a fortune of $6,312,552 in earnings. She made her case on several continents having raced in Hong Kong threee times, Japan, Nad el Sheba, Europe and the US. Talk about taking your case on the road. Wow. She won grade/group 1's in three countries in 2004 alone. In 2006 she had only one race strictly against her own sex, and had a try at four consecutive 11/4-mile races, with only 2 weeks in between races at one point. Even her losses were impressive and made a case for her: she finished third in the Arc against top males as a three year old after rating in 14th and lacking running room 2f out. Overall she went 5 for 8 as a 3 yr. old, though she was on the board in all 8. By the way, she was 1 for 3 as a 2 yr. old, and it wasn't held against her.

Clearly her ownership was not afraid to test their filly by running her as a 2 yr. old, running her against top as well as older males in premier races at 3, and up, shipping her hither and yon, running her at various distances against all comers just about everywhere racing is a major sport, occasionally without much of a breather in between. Ouija Board retired with 10 wins, three seconds, and five thirds from 22 starts. I miss her. Thankfully, we should not have long to wait to see Ouija's '08 Kingmambo colt run.

The amazing record of Ouija Board in the same decade that Zenyatta raced shines a garishly bright light on Zenyatta's "perfect" 14 for 14 record, all but one in her own backyard. Please don't get me wrong. I adore Zenyatta as much as anyone here, so I am certainly not picking a fight with Zenyatta fans, but her "perfect" record is extremely overrated especially when it comes at the expense of so little in the way of actually testing the horse.

She only tried males and 1 1/4 miles as a 5 yr. old?

When they did point her at a race in KY they shipped her home because it was raining? Please.

I do feel that Zenyatta has always had what it takes to take on all these same challenges that major horses like Ouija Board faced, maybe even better than Ouija Board did. But we will never know that will we? And I feel such a sense of loss over that. Every time I hear or read someone tout Zenyatta's "perfect" record it comes home to me again that we'll never know what we missed. How good was she? Never knowing the answer to that question is too high a price to pay for "perfect."

This is all water under the bridge with one exception. The future is at stake. I think perfect records should be acknowledged but not overly emphasized to the point that more owners will seek an unbeaten race record as their #1 goal and achieve it by cherry picking races their horse is a lock to win. Why? Because that is not a horse race. That is an exhibition.

07 Dec 2009 9:58 AM
Joseph

Zenyatta is the best. She finished undefeated over a span of 2+ years and beat top-class male horses at the American classics distance of 10 furlongs.

07 Dec 2009 10:16 AM
Karen in Indiana

As I said last night, but it didn't get posted - this poll is broke. When I tried to pick Zenyatta, it would jump to another horse and use that. These results are bad.

07 Dec 2009 10:32 AM
Blood-Horse Admin

Karen,

We sent you an email earlier today regarding your issue with voting. What browser are you using? We have been unable to recreate the problem.

07 Dec 2009 10:38 AM
Ted in Michigan

I'm very disappointed in some of the Rachel Alexandra fans that have gone out of their way to push Zenyatta down on this list. I've been watching the voting rather closely over the last few days, and I find it interesting that whenever Rachel Alexandra's totals increase by 12 points (the maximum total), Zenyatta's only increase by 1. I can't tell you how many times I've seen this happen. Sure enough, Zenyatta keeps falling further and further down the rankings while RA builds up her lead. Some people are clearly pushing Zenyatta to the #12 spot to make sure she doesn't win.

My question to those individuals responsible for this - what is wrong with you? This is a FANTASY vote that means nothing. It's supposed to be for fun. I don't even have a dog in this fight because I actually think Azeri should be ranked #1, but it's frustrating to see so many people unable to participate fairly.

07 Dec 2009 12:19 PM
Tiznowbaby

Mary in VT,

You bring up many good points, but I will submit that if keeping your horse undefeated is as simple as picking your spots carefully, there should be a lot more undefeated horses.

And I loved, loved, loved Xtra Heat. She was so much fun.

07 Dec 2009 12:21 PM
LAZMANNICK

Ted in Michigan

I totally agree with you.  The true meaning of these fantasy votes has been lost.  I for one find them meaningless even though the intention is good.  It is obvious what is happening.

07 Dec 2009 12:35 PM
Phony

Whoever is monitoring this post,

shame on you, I posted yesterday,and made a remark about Ra, and you won't post it, This is not fair and will probably be reported. all I said was, the reason Ra is ahead is because people are still upset over the renaming of the LS race. If you are going to be fair then be fair, I can see you're not, so I will tell everyone not to play in your polls and to stay away from them. I know Zenyatta is way more ahead on this list. I guess JJ is paying you all off too. Right!!!

07 Dec 2009 1:20 PM
Denise

Megahertz deserves mention!!

07 Dec 2009 3:10 PM
John

The reason that RA fans are piling up their votes here is that they know they cannot vote more than once in the DRF poll (which Zenyatta leads by a 2-1 margin) and the poll earlier listed by Bloodhorse - which Zenyatta won by almost 1,000 votes.  They must also know that Wynn's Casino in Vegas has raised RA's chances of winning the HOY from 5/2 to 3-1 with Zenyatta listed at 1/3.

This is their only voice.  

07 Dec 2009 10:17 PM
ex excrze rider

this is hysterical! Some of you take this too seriously! I must say though after reading some posts from knowledgable and reasonable readers, I have to say, from the list given, Ouija Board deserves serious attention as she did run all over the globe as apposed to Zenyatta who s much as I love did only run on synthetic. The writing is on the wall. Now they should have best synthetic horse next to Best Turf and Best Dirt... I'm thinking also that comparing turf runners to dirt/synthetic runners is like comparing apples to oranges. No Secretariats in this field.

07 Dec 2009 11:06 PM
Mary in VT

Tiznowbaby,

I was referring to the upper echelon of horses that have the flexibility of selecting from a huge number of competitions beneath their level of ability vs, races, courses, and competitors that would test and prove their ability. Those horses do have the flexibility to try for 'perfect.' Fortunately, most of their owners try to reach up and not down. In dogs we call competing against the same over and over again "cheap champions."

Yes, I totally agree. Xtra Heat was a jewel of a horse. She set records, she traveled, she didn't let the weather stop her, nor the boys, and she earned an Eclipse Award as Champion Three-Year-Old Filly. She was a grade I winner, captured 25 stakes, 11 of which were graded. She finished her career 35: 26-5-2. Can you believe it? She was only out of the money twice. Tested. Proven. That was one hard working lady. She was like a free space in a superfecta.

Can anyone forget the raw speed of Xtra Heat...? - Steve Haskin

Astarita Stakes (2000)

Blue Hen Stakes (2000)

Beaumont Stakes (2001)

Dearly Precious Stakes (2001)

Prioress Stakes (2001)

Cicada Stakes (2001)

Ruthless Stakes(2001)

Barbara Fritchie Handicap (2002, 2003)

Vagrancy Handicap (2002)

Genuine Risk Handicap (2002)

Phoenix Stakes (2002)

08 Dec 2009 12:03 AM
Melanie

I watched them all, and I love them all, but none of them got to me like Azeri. She was amazing.  That being said, the race of the decade has to be Rags to Riches winning the Belmont, which was the single most exciting race I've ever witnessed. NOTHING will ever compare to that race. One minute my heart sinks and I just pray I'm not going to watch her get pulled up after she fell at the start, and the next minute she's beating Curlin in the Belmont. In my book, that was one of the greatest moments in history.

08 Dec 2009 12:17 AM
Grandefan

What a decade this has been! The girls have been in rare form (and makin' the boys look sad.) Truely we have been blessed to witness the athletic power and grace these fillies/mares have shown. I think it is even more telling to read of the many others not mentioned in top ten: Megahurtz, Indian Blessing, Eight Belles, Round Pond, and more. Telling that we have had many more than 10 greats this decade - the females are racings most awe inspiring beautiful jewels. Here's to another great decade of beautiful girls!

08 Dec 2009 7:07 AM
al bundy

rachel #1.xtra heat #1 female sprinter.whats with ventura.informed decision makes her look like a donkey every time.

08 Dec 2009 8:14 AM
GreyK

Zenyatta's sole claim to fame is BC 2009?  Seriously?  I think Rachel Alexandra is Horse of the Year hands down but on this list my top five are Zenyatta, Rachel, Ouija Board, Azeri and Goldikova.  The first four seemed easy and then it got much harder.  So many great ones though, aren't there?  And it's not what have you done for me lately for the two greatest females to race in many years - Big Z and RA.  Their accomplishments will stand up well against any horse.  

08 Dec 2009 10:59 AM
susan

Its QUEEN Zenyatta.

And Melanie- its cherry picking because Jackson clearly bypassed a tougher field to run in the Woodward.

ex excrze rider- great comments. And O.B does deserve to be honored for her achievements.

BUT to you all, Ruffian is "Horse Of A LifeTime".

08 Dec 2009 1:18 PM
attila cyril

Go Zenyatta Go !!!!!

she deserves to be number one, for her racing and her grace !!!

08 Dec 2009 6:06 PM
meredith michaels

<3 for the big Z <3

08 Dec 2009 6:11 PM
LDP

Personally, on my computer, I couldn't vote twice even if I wanted to. So I don't see how RA fans can manipulate the polls if you can't vote twice from the same computer. That being said you can vote from different computer, but seriously how many homes in America can affort over two computers? There maybe some manipulation, but not enough to change the polls as drastically as is being portrayed. I will say, I do think there is some manipulation, since RTR over Zenyatta should never in a million years happen, but it is not enough to drastically change the poll.

08 Dec 2009 7:57 PM
Anonymous

Okay wait a minute here, Zenyatta should not be ranked fifth.

09 Dec 2009 12:14 AM
Alex P.

This list is a bit specious with the inclusion of xtra heat(??) and the snub of Sightseek, n'est pas?

09 Dec 2009 11:32 AM
bn

People have such short memories... Oija Board was much the best of this list.

Xtra Heat deserves to be included, she ran very well against males in the Breeder's Cup Sprint; just because she was a short course specialist doesn't mean we should snub her.

Adore Zenyatta, Love Rachel... bored with the whole discussion. Rachel had the HOY year, while Zenyatta clearly had the HOY potential but the connections played it safe in order to get that perfect record. The only time they actually risked anything was in the BC Classic, but you didn't need a crystal ball to know she was much the best there. Nothing more to see here, please move on and get a life.

To Mary in VT.. have you been reading my mind? I almost feel like I don't have to post anything because you've already said it.

09 Dec 2009 6:17 PM
robinm

If we were talking the single greatest race by a filly or mare in this decade, I would have to say either Rags to Riches Belmont or Zenyatta's BCC.  Filly/Mare of the Decade is a different matter. Overall, Rags to Riches didn't run in enough races to consider really high on this poll and Zenyatta didn't beat much, except in her 2 BC races. We've got to keep in mind that both those races set up perfectly for her as they were run on her favored track.  Her connections can say she "prefers dirt and only tolerates synthetics" til the cows come home, but we can only judge what we've seen.  I think Rachel Alexandra has had the toughest and most impressive 3-yr old season of any filly in history, certainly in this decade, but I think we need to wait and see what she does next year before calling her the "Filly of the Decade".  I personally like Azeri for this recognition.  I feel she very well may have remained undefeated through her career if she hadn't been moved to D Wayne Lucas barn as Laura D (sorry, I can't spell with beans) managed her campaign beautifully.

09 Dec 2009 9:59 PM
Glassoniongirl

Woa, how`d Zenyatta get 5th? O.o

I placed her second behind Rachel (it was hard, and really I`m still not sure which is better, we need a match or something)I highly credit both of them, and pretty much think of them as equall untill proven otherwise.

But how`d she get 5th? There must be some idiots voting O.O

09 Dec 2009 10:36 PM
Amateurcapper

LAZMANNIK, you typed what I've been thinking all along.  ZENYATTA was probably best from 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 miles but only raced 10f once.  She almost always ran faster the last half of every race than she did the first half.  However, she may not have been able to handle the softer turf course at Longchamp.

I'd have loved to see her run in the Arc...maybe one of her babies will get the chance.

It's sad how so many are blind to ZENYATTA's greatness...ranking 5th, what a disgrace.

OUIJA BOARD won her North American races vs. fillies only, so cannot be ranked higher than Z.  Ditto for AZERI.

For me it's Z, RACHEL, AZERI, GOLDIKOVA, OUIJA BOARD, RAGS TO RICHES in that order.

11 Dec 2009 9:07 PM
canleakid

Ms. "Z"

11 Dec 2009 10:43 PM
I~Luv~Zenyatta

Zenyatta is better than Rachel for many reasons, and don't get me started on them. There's too much to explain. But I love Rachel too. What I don't get is why we all get so worked up over this. I'll admit I get worked over it, but we shouldn't. We should let them all be their own filly and enjoy their accomplishments. Some are better than others in other peoples' minds, but just relish what these fillies have done for racing and what thrill they gave you when you watched them run. Zenyatta's Breeders' Cup Classic, Rachel Alexandra's Preakness, Goldikova's Breeders' Cup Mile, Rags to Riches's Belmont, Azeri's Breeders' Cup Distaff, Ginger Punch's Breeders' Cup Distaff, Ouija Board's Filly & Mare Turf, Ashado's Breeders' Cup Distaff, Proud Spell's Kentucky Oaks, Xtra Heat's Endine, Nashoba's Key's Santa Margarita, and Beautiful Pleasure's Breeders' Cup Distaff. Not to mention Eight Belles's run in the Kentucky Derby, Life is Sweet's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic, Pepper's Pride's 17 wins, and many other fillies. Also the great European fillies Zarkava, Makybe Diva, and Vodka along with others. Stop criticizing all these wonderful, amazing fillies and savor their races and the thrill you felt when you watched them run!

12 Dec 2009 3:00 PM
DMA

1 Azeri. 2 RA 3. Z 4. Ouija 5 Rags

I love R.A.For now  Azeri is the Grand Matron of this group in my opinion. I hope Rachel out does even her. How fun would that be?

13 Dec 2009 3:59 AM
Showing Up

This community list is very Rachel-biased.

My top six are Zenyatta, Ouija Board, Azeri, Rachel Alexandra, Goldikova, and Ashado.

14 Dec 2009 1:04 PM
Zenyatta HOTY

ZENYATTA is the Horse of the Decade, of the Year

and of a Lifetime!  She not only retired at 14-0 but

but beat the best in the world at the BC Classic with

such ease and grace after there was at least a 10

minute delay at the start.  She has the most confidence,

beauty, charisma and best dance moves of any

horse in history.  I not only was at her last 3 races this

year but I met her many times at her stables; she

is the most spectacular horse this world has ever seen -

She is the Queen!!!!!!!!!!!

12 Jan 2010 9:53 PM
Barry Irwin

Rachel best of all time.

13 Jan 2010 12:25 AM
A.K.

Wow...Zenyatta is the best out there no one can beat her. She has already proven that. A Few of her starts she has won carrying around 130 pounds. She always wins with her ears pricked and doesn't even try to win the race. Zenyatta could easily beat Rachel any day, ears pricked. But that will be seen in the Apple Blossom where she is supposed to face Rachel. The favorite will probably be Zenyatta becuz last time she was in the Blossom she won it by 4 lengths, clear, going away.. So forsure Zenyatta is the best out there.

09 Mar 2010 1:42 PM
michelle

Storm Flag Flying,Eight Belles,Ashado,Madcap Escapade,Megahertz,Pine Island,Zenyatta,Rachel Alexandra,Honey Ryder,OuijaBoard,Asi Sempre,Mariah's Storm

Mariah's Storm came back from nijury and returned to her gr.1 form!!! Impressively!!!! and has become a "founding mother" of TB's

So many great ones!!!

02 Feb 2011 11:45 PM

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