Horse of the Year - Final Arguments

The 3-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra, winner of all eight of her starts in 2009, including the Preakness Stakes, and the 5-year old mare Zenyatta, who won all five of her races last year and culminated her undefeated career by becoming the first female to win the Breeders' Cup Classic, are the only two candidates for Horse of the Year. They were the only two horses to receive votes in the Horse of the Year category.  
Race for Horse of the Year
Race For Horse of the YearView Slideshow

Winners in all categories will be announced at the 39th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, to be held Jan. 18, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. 

With less than a week away before the winner is crowned, we're giving Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta fans a final opportunity to state their case. Here are the guidelines:

  • ONE post per user

  • We're asking you to post the reasons why your horse should be crowned Horse of the Year. Do not condemn the other horse or list the reasons why a particular horse should NOT be named Horse Of the Year.

Please be cordial and have some fun with this! We're also starting from scratch with a new poll, so be sure to place your vote below (please note: only one vote per IP address will be allowed).




Leave a Comment:

Abigail from Canada

My vote goes to Zenyatta, but Rachel Alexandra is  wonderful too. Zenyatta, in my opinion, took on a fairly consistent strong field in each of her races but her unprecedented victory in the BC Classic against the world's best, with the (important) exception of Sea The Stars, remains THE RACE of the year!

12 Jan 2010 10:32 AM

My vote goes to Rachel Alexandra, for the sole reason that this award is based on the year as a whole. 8 races, 8 wins at 7 different tracks, winning two races by 19+ lengths, going outside her division three times to face the males and winning, winning 5 G1 races including a Triple Crown race and setting two stakes records. All as a three year old filly. Like Durkin said in the Kentucky Oaks: Unbelievable!

12 Jan 2010 10:57 AM

My vote goes to Rachel Alexandra. I think it's pretty much a no brainer- she's a perfect 8  for 8 THIS YEAR,  she beat males in 3 G1 races, and she's smashed records along the way.

Zenyatta was fantastic this year as well, but I don't think she did enough. Winning the BC Classic (albeit in a wonderful fashion) does not automatically win HOY.

12 Jan 2010 10:58 AM
Andrea Bouwkamp

My actual desire is to see both get the award, but if I HAVE TO choose, I pick Rachel Alexandra by her accomplishments for the YEAR, which are amazing.

I really pity the Eclipse voters having to chose one or the other this year.

However, I think we all can agree that these two wonderful female competitors made it year to remember.

Here's to a even better 2010!

12 Jan 2010 11:00 AM

Rachel Alexandra - One of the best Three Year filly's year. Largest winning margin in Kentucky Oaks, Fastest time and largest winning margin in Mother Goose, plus winning three races against the "boys", and can race on a "off track"!!!

12 Jan 2010 11:00 AM

Dead heat!  It's the only way everyone will be happy. Both had phenomenal races this year and deserve it.

12 Jan 2010 11:00 AM

Zenyatta Is HOD

12 Jan 2010 11:03 AM
Cynthia Kendrick

Rachel.   Beat everything thrown at her on multiple tracks.   The final race was her defining moment, they sent out a rabbit to burn her out, then brought on the heavyweight closers to run her down.   That same strategy stopped the great Secretariat, but not Rachel.

12 Jan 2010 11:04 AM

My vote goes to Rachel. (PLEASE NOTE this is NOT a knock on Zenyatta. She, also, is spectacular).

This year, Rachel raced 8 times, at 7 different tracks. She won by daylight, ala the Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose, by shorter (but no less amazing) margins, ala the Preakness and Woodward, set all kinds of records, including the Great Ruffian's margin of victory record in the Mother Goose, was the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness, first female horse ever to win the Woodward, won five straight G1 races, destroyed the boys in the Haskell...

She won from close to the pace (Oaks), setting the pace (Preakness and Woodward) and from far back (Mother Goose). Those races where she set rediculous fractions, she still managed to dig down way deep to find more to win. No "barely hanging on" here. To set wickedly fast fractions like that and STILL win is incredible.

We've never seen anything like what Rachel has accomplished this year. Never. Her breathtaking brilliance is such a rare and special treat, and she gets my vote for Horse of the Year.

12 Jan 2010 11:07 AM
Clyde Veltmann

she has a perfect record and out ran the older males.

12 Jan 2010 11:10 AM

I voted for Zenyatta. Not since Secretariat has a racehorse given me such spine tingling chills as she has. Zenyatta is the real deal and is a great representative of what all breeders should strive for.  

12 Jan 2010 11:11 AM

Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta are both Horse of the Year. These two very special horses dominated their competition in 2009 like no other filly and mare ever have in the same year. Rachel Alexandra was a perfect 8 for 8 in 2009. Rachel Alexandra was a winner of 8 races at 7 different tracks including five Grade I stakes races. Rachel Alexandra had the most dominant 3-year-old filly campaign in history.  She captured The Kentucky Oaks (GI) at Churchill Downs, The Preakness Stakes (GI), The Mother Goose (GI) at Belmont Park (GI), The Haskell (GI) at Monmouth Park and capped 2009 with a win against older males in The Woodward (GI) at Saratoga.  She became the first filly in 85 years to win The Preakness Stakes (GI) and the first filly ever to win the Woodward Stakes (GI) against older males.   No other 3-year-old filly has ever accomplished what Rachel Alexandra has in 2009. Zenyatta won five races in 2009, including four Grade I stakes races.  She won The Vanity Handicap (GI) at Hollywood Park, The Clement L. Hirsch (GI) at Del Mar, The Ladies Secret (GI) at Hollywood Park and capped her perfect career by winning America’s richest race The $5 Million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Santa Anita with an unbelievable rally from last to first.  She finished her career with a perfect undefeated record—winning 14 races out of 14 starts.  To choose between either one of these two great champion thoroughbreds is nearly impossible.  Neither one of these great champions deserves to come in second — when they always come in first. They had a combined record in 2009 of a super 13-0! They both put together history making years that we might not ever see again in our lifetimes. Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta were simply the best of the best in 2009

12 Jan 2010 11:11 AM

Zenyatta is a complete package - talent, beauty, intelligence, courage, style, personality, and a fierce competitor.  To be the only filly/mare to win the Breeders Cup says it all. Both she and Rachel are nice horses with many fine attributes, but Zenyatta has my vote.  She's a one-of-a-kind.

12 Jan 2010 11:11 AM
Bill from Canada

Rachel's Woodward was the race of the year. She had to fight off early, middle and late challenges in a strong front running effort. Also, the fact that she won at 7 different tracks while Zenyatta stayed in California seals it for me.

12 Jan 2010 11:13 AM
mary glynn

I would love to have either one of this horses in my barn that is for sure. Rachel Alexandra is a beautiful mare and i can't wait to watch her run this year and see what she does. I am pulling for Zenyatta because to me when you see a horse Win all the races from last to first it shows heart and I loved  watching her . Also I greatly admire her owners and trainer how they purchased her as a baby and built a plan for her recoginizing this is how she runs. Win or lose she is a champion and if she loses it won't be her fault . This is the only race that she doesn't have control to excercise those long legs and the great heart.

12 Jan 2010 11:14 AM

I loved watching both horses race, and both are very deserving of Horse of the Year.  However, I find myself leaning more toward Rachel Alexandra.  She traveled more, raced on different tracks, beat the boys 3 times.  Zenyatta's BC race was phenomenal but I don't think an award should be based on one day of racing.

12 Jan 2010 11:14 AM
Debra-Valley Stream,NY

I'd have to give it to Rachel. What she has done as a 3 year old filly is astounding.She is not even mature yet and I think her body of work is stronger than Zenyatta's. Horse of the Year should not be decided on one race. Rachel beat the colts 3 times at 3 different racetracks. I love them both but, Rachel Alexandra, Horse of the Year.

12 Jan 2010 11:16 AM

Rachel Alexandra made history in seven out of her 8 races...either setting stakes records, winning by margins of victory, or accomplishing feats that had been rarely done by fillies or in her final race, never done by a female horse let alone a filly.

The crux of the argument comes down to one issue...whether Zenyatta's spectacular results in one race should exceed the year long history making 8 race effort of Rachel Alexandra.

This is a not a Horse of the Moment award...Zenyatta does deserve this award, but this is a Horse of the Year award...and throughout the year Zenyatta did not distinguish herself as Rachel Alexandra did stepping up in class multiple times at multiple tracks from west of the Mississippi (the Fairground) to East of the Mississippi racing at seven tracks in six states.

Zenyatta stepped up in class the Breeders Cup Classic. The horses that she faced were the best field assembled in North America in 2009, but they were not the best horses in the world. Three of those horses...Mastercraftsman, Goldlikova and Conduit chose to race in other races...and the horses that did race against Zenyatta who had achieved previously three of her greatest victories on the Santa Anita track...were not on their best surface...and were not in their best form...the second betting choice Rip Van Winkle was injured...

The two horses that came in second and third showed their best career form in the race, but they were turf horses, not Pro Ride synthetic horses.

Rachel beat her competition on their best surface...on fast or off tracks...she had no home moving around as much as she did...she is more deserving than Zenyatta...

12 Jan 2010 11:17 AM

Rachel Alexandra all the way.  Not only did she run harder races, on different tracks, and beat the boys 3 times, she consistently won by a longer length.

Zenyatta is wonderful too, Rachel was just better.

12 Jan 2010 11:17 AM


She beat everyone who showed up!  She beat the best horses from around the world, from every surface!  When it was time to see who was the best, Zenyatta came to the gate, and Rachel was standing in the barn.

No knock on Rachel.  Yes, I have read that she needed rest, but the Breeders Cup is where champions are decided.  It is always the same time of year.  Alter your training schedule in order to give her rest before the races.  But if you want her counted with the best horses, she has to show up.  

Even if Jackson did not like the surface, it did not hurt Curlin in his bid for HOY.  He lost the race and still won the title.  Rachel has run on synthetics before and I don't get the surface argument.

12 Jan 2010 11:20 AM

The title is Horse of the YEAR not horse of the day or week.

12 Jan 2010 11:23 AM

No-brainer - Rachel Alexandra

Rachel vs. Zenyatta

8-8 vs 5-5

5 G1s vs 4 G1s

Wins against colts: 3 vs 1

Starts at 9(+)f: 5 vs 2

Best time at 9f: 1:46:33 vs 1:48:15

Greatest margin of victory 20 1/4 vs 2 1/2

Stakes records set: 2 (nearly 3) vs 0

And as Nina posted her 8 wins were at 7 different tracks, 2 over the slop. She trounced the Belmont/Travers winner in the slop 1/5 off the stakes record and 2/5 of the track record - in the SLOP.

Zenyatta is magnificent, a no-brainer for HOY herself any other year, but this year Rachel was even better.

12 Jan 2010 11:24 AM

My vote goes to Rachel for her overall body of work this year.

Zenyatta's Classic was an incredible performance, but so were all of Rachel's. It's Horse of the YEAR, you can't base it off one race and ignore the historic campaign of Rachel Alexandra which was much more grueling than Zenyatta's, who never even left CA this year (well, she technically left, but she didn't RUN outside of it). This award is for what the horses accomplished this year, so Zenyatta's unbeaten record is fantastic but not relevant.

I've watched the replay of Zenyatta's Classic two-dozen times as it's a truly magnificent performance, but I've watched all of Rachel's replays from the year at least that many times. To see her decimate fields by such incredible margins still gives me the chills, and her closer races are even more exciting. She actually had people I know talking about horse racing all year--people who couldn't care less about the sport on a normal day! Rachel is 8 for 8, so if you're going to talk about their records THIS year for Horse of the Year, they're technically both unbeaten. I just feel Rachel has a stronger overall portfolio of races and wins, as it were.

Yes, Zenyatta was the first female to win the Breeder's Cup Classic. Rachel was the first to win the Woodward in twice the number of runnings as the Classic. If there were ever a year for co-champions, this is it.

12 Jan 2010 11:27 AM

Rachel Alexandra.

A whole year of breaking records and making history beats out one spectacular race, even if that race is the Breeders' Cup Classic.

12 Jan 2010 11:29 AM
Phony JJ



12 Jan 2010 11:29 AM

Zenyatta is an amazing race mare and her BC Classic win gave me chills....but she never ever left her home state and she never approached the lofty 'stuff of legends' status that Rachel achieved winning the Preakness, Haskell, and Woodward.

Rachel ran more often, at different tracks, and against ever stiffer competition.

Rachel deserves the gold Eclipse.

12 Jan 2010 11:30 AM
Soldier Course

I believe Zenyatta should be named Horse of the Year.

She achieved several milestones for the sport during 2009:

the first undefeated winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic;

the first female to win the Breeders' Cup Classic;

the first horse of either gender to win both the Breeders' Cup Classic and the Ladies' Classic (Distaff), arguably the two most coveted races in the Breeders' Cup series;

she surpassed the 13-0 undefeated record previously held by Personal Ensign, having reached the milestone of 14-0 in 2009;

she became the all-time top North American female earner in 2009.

She showed extraordinary sportsmanship by participating in horse racing's self-proclaimed premier, international event. For this year's Breeders' Cup run, she stretched her legs instead of resting on her laurels, taking up the harder offensive challenge in the Classic, rather than running an easier defensive replay in the Ladies' Classic.  

12 Jan 2010 11:31 AM

Both mares are wonderful and we are all blessed to see them both in the same year.

But while Rachel had an undefeated season on different tracks, against males and females of her peer and older, the WAY in which she won didn't hold the breathtaking ease and unbridled fun that Zenyatta presented during her races.

Will we again see a mare, or any horse--a deep-closer to boot--win with such suppressed power and ease, with ears up and eyes lively, hinting at untapped potential within?

I don't think so. And in the end, Zenyatta had this...while Rachel did not.

12 Jan 2010 11:33 AM

While Zenyatta is a wonderful horse and perhaps any normal year she would be a cert for Horse of the Year, this was no normal year. This was a year when Rachel Alexandra was running as well. It's unfortunate for Zenyatta that twice in a row she had a great year that was just a little less great than someone else's, because she is a fantastic horse and certainly deserves credit for all that she has done.

That said, the first thing that needs to be noted is that the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year is just that. Horse of the YEAR. Meaning that neither Rachel's two year old season nor Zenyatta's four year old season should be taken into consideration. We must look only at what each horse has done this year. Each mare was flawless, undefeated this year.

Rachel Alexandra raced eight times, at a wide variety of tracks, defeating males not once, but three times. She made history in nearly every start, breaking stakes records set by the likes of Ruffian. She, as a three year old filly, even defeated a very solid group of older males. In that Woodward, she showed a huge amount of courage, turning back an onslaught of challengers, one after another.

While Zenyatta remained undefeated, and it was by no means an 'easy' year as many people want to paint it, I don't feel she faced the challenges that Rachel Alexandra did. She ran primarily in places she was well used to, seldom travelling. She ran fewer races, with more rest than Rachel Alexandra. She faced her own gender and age in all but one race.

Zenyatta defeated some wonderful horses in the Breeders' Cup Classic; that cannot be denied, and nothing can be taken away from that victory. However, I don't think it's fair to vote for Zenyatta based on a particular race and thereby exclude the overall year that Rachel Alexandra had. Rachel Alexandra had a year the likes of which no three year old filly ever has.

I don't think an objective comparison of the accomplishments of each horse can yield any result aside Rachel Alexandra as Horse of the Year, and I'll personally be very disappointed if the voters allow the hype of the Breeder's Cup, previous accomplishments, and sentimentality to affect the outcome.

12 Jan 2010 11:34 AM
Warning Drums

I can't even vote. It's impossible to vote against either one of them.

12 Jan 2010 11:35 AM

I can't believe Rachel is ahead of Zenyatta!  Three year old filly, for sure, but not Horse of the Year.  Zenyatta retired with a perfect record for one thing.  And while Rachel did beat older horses - and doubtless some of the best dirt horses in America, let's not forget that Zenyatta beat the best older horses IN THE WORLD!!!  That was her first start against males AND her first start at that distance (unless my memory fails me)  So, Rachel became the first filly in a long time to win the Preakness.  Zenyatta became the first mare to win the Classic - EVER!  Zenyatta totally wins in my opinion.

12 Jan 2010 11:41 AM

My vote is for Zenyatta.  Every one of her races was a masterful display of the champion that she is.  The Breeder's Cup Classic was the grand finale of her career and no one will ever forget it.  She deserves it and she earned it.

12 Jan 2010 11:46 AM

I think Rachel Alexandra hands down. She beat G1 fillies by 20 lths. Won eight for eight on 6 or 7 different tracks. She beat all comers male and female, even older males. I don't know if the other contender can run on good old mother natures dirt surface or not. So therefore its a no contest for me. Thanks for the opportunity to express my thoughts on the subject.

12 Jan 2010 11:47 AM

My vote goes to Zenyatta. The Breeders' Cup Classic and beating the best in the world did it for me; with her come from behind style which only makes it better.

12 Jan 2010 11:50 AM
Two Ball Tommy

RACHEL .. It is Horse of the YEAR, not horse that won the BC Classic only. But both are deserving because they both brought so much pleasure to all racing fans and terrific publicity to our sport.

12 Jan 2010 11:51 AM

While I fear the emotional vote may go Zenyatta's way, I still think we need to remember that it is horse of the year and must be based on the overall record of the year, not the lifetime achievement of the horse.  The vote is not for race or moment of the year.  When we compare the entire year, the vote must go to Rachel Alexander.

12 Jan 2010 11:51 AM
Hole In The Wall Newsletter

The Reason numbers show it for Rachel is because Zenyatta never really had to try, and that is scary. It can be scientifically proven that 9 out of 10 times that Zenyatta would win in any race from 7 to 20 furlongs. I've watched all of their races over and over, and Zenyatta would always come out on top no matter what because of the way she did it. Not her time or speed figures. That has nothing to do with it. She ran as fast as she needed to to win, and won by as much as she needed to to win. That's all that was expected of her, and any horse for that matter. They're not out there to break records. They're out there to perform to the best of their ability, and to be as careful as they can when doing that.  I give credit to the jockeys and trainers who keep to those tasks.

  The time that Rachel would beat Zenyatta however would be in a match race in which out of the gate is needed to win the race, and Rachel would for sure would have the advantage there.  I love both horses and am hoping for a draw in some way, but if I had to choose. Zenyatta 2009/Rachel in 2010.

12 Jan 2010 11:51 AM

It's really a dead heat, but if push comes to shove, it's Rachel Alexandra by a nostril

12 Jan 2010 11:53 AM

While Zenyatta has established herself as the top mare over her career of 5 years, Rachel has established her greatestness in 1 year as a 3 year old, beating the derby and belmont winners as well as winning the preakness.  And because she did this all in 2009, she should be Horse of the Year.

12 Jan 2010 11:55 AM


Rachel can win it next year.

12 Jan 2010 11:59 AM
A fangirl from Hungary


She is so beautiful and perfect, I really love her, and her running style!


12 Jan 2010 12:05 PM

Love both of them, but Rachel is my choice for HOY.  Her season was longer with more races, she had less average time between races, she had significantly less time between the start of last season and opening of 2009, she ran farther in total distance raced, ran as far in average distance raced, faced more horses (individual and aggregate), faced males more times, had the higher Beyer, broke records for time and margin of victory, and did all this on off tracks as well as fast, and at many different tracks.  And she left me hollaring and in tears every single race.  Rachel all the way.

12 Jan 2010 12:08 PM

Zenyatta!! Undefeated and won the BC Classic!! RA is incredible too.  :-)

12 Jan 2010 12:11 PM
Charmed By Silver

HOTY goes to Zenyatta. If it was Zenyatta closing in on Rachel in the Woodward... Rachel's nose wouldn't have been ahead at the wire.(Zenyatta could out close Macho Again any day without breaking a sweat) Rachel beat an older group of decent males in the Woodward and ran her brains out to do it. Zenyatta beat the best group of males assembled for a race this year and did it with ease. Also, Rachel never went the classic distance of a mile and a quarter. I don't think that her owner will ever send her out that long. Zenyatta ran and won at a mile and a quarter against males... and I think she'd run all day and she'd win even if they sent her further. Rachel had an amazing season, but Zenyatta isn't just the horse of the season, or horse of the year, shes the horse of a lifetime.

12 Jan 2010 12:11 PM

I am going to have to say the BIG ZEN gets my vote. Reason #1- I still feel like RA should have been there in the starting gate BC day. Reason #2-Eventhough RA has more races this year the highest quality field in several years was assembled in the classic and Reason #3- RA never ran at the classic distance facing classic horses. I don't she could have fended off MA if the race had been at 1 1/4. Both broke new ground this year in their respective divisions and outside of it as well and the only way to have truly settled this would have been if they had met on the track but we will never see that will we.

12 Jan 2010 12:13 PM

This truly should be the year for two Horse of the Year champions. Both had tremendous wins against all comers.  For me though, for sheer take my breath away , pure adrenalin excitement, Zenyatta would be my choice.  May both ladies have long healthy lives and lovely babies.

12 Jan 2010 12:13 PM

I really think both horses should be co-Horse of the Year.  But if I had to choose one (even though I am a big Rachel fan) I would have to choose Zenyatta for her gutsy win in the BC Classic over a stellar field with a less-than-ideal trip and overcoming Quality Road's starting gate fiasco.

12 Jan 2010 12:14 PM

My vote is for RA.  This vote is supposed to be for the year 2009 not the year before and this year too.  I would think that her record speaks loud and clear for her.  8 wins on 7 different tracks she ran on fast tracks and in the slop.  She won them all against Fillys, Colts and older Males.  Wake up people when have we seen a three year old filly do this?  Zen is great but what message do we send to give HOY to a her due to one race?  I agree that the BC was a most awe inspiring preformance but it was only one race.  Rachel gave us many over and over again and she never had the option to pick her track to do it on.  She is a gutsy filly with a heart of gold that went out and did everything asked of her.  If Zen gets horse of the year off just the BC win then all horses might as well just wait for that one race.  heck we can put a thousand horses on the track the winner takes all.

12 Jan 2010 12:15 PM
Mike V

Rachel is the most accomplished three-year old filly in American history on dirt. If she is not Horse of the Year future generations will look back on us and ask, "What were they thinking?"

12 Jan 2010 12:18 PM

my vote is  simple , its  for RACHEL  who did  so much in one year,  she  won a classic  beat classic  winners  and broke records established by Secretariat and Ruffian, who  would  have even pondered there records to be matched or even re written by   another horse so worthy of  such praise, if  she doed not get it , then what  the h%&* do you have  to do oh, win on a synthitis  track for 15  strait, hmmmmm sounds fishy  to me!!

12 Jan 2010 12:19 PM

1) Her record, including running 2 turns at a mile and a quarter, which is the standard in Europe,  attests to her stamina, soundness and versatility  

2) No matter the pace, she'll run her race

3) Defeated the best, fillies and males going 1-1/4 miles

4) Never touched by a stick, did it on her own

5) Ease of Breeders Cup victory  shows you haven't see the bottom of this horse

12 Jan 2010 12:24 PM

This is for Horse of the Year...not Horse for career.  Zenyatta while masterful in the Classic Rachel put a year together for the ages, including the Oaks, Preakness, Woodward (older horses),Haskell.  she dominated in the Oaks and Preakness.  HOY not Horse of career...

12 Jan 2010 12:27 PM
Bob D.

Rachel had a great year, no doubt, but other Fillies have beaten the boys in the Derby, Belmont, etc. And if I'm not mistaken Rachel never ran over 1 1/8 mile.

Zenyatta is the ONLY female to EVER win the BC Classic.  ZENYATTA!

12 Jan 2010 12:28 PM
LeahAKA Zenny lover

my vote goes to my Girl Zenyatta. she has been around longer.
she is more talented in my opinion. Zenyatta has done more she's won more including the CLASSIC!. not to single out Rachel. she's an amazing filly and I am excited to see what next year holds for her. but Zenyatta needs the Crown.she Deserves it more then Rachel.. My Final Vote is to Zenny

12 Jan 2010 12:28 PM
Jenn from Canada

My vote goes to Zenyatta b/c how can you not recognize the very first female winner of the BC Classic?  And in what fashion!  I will never forget hearing two comments in the call...1) Zenyatta has a lot, a looot of work to do and 2) as she came down the stretch...unbelieeeeevable!


12 Jan 2010 12:28 PM

I gave my vote to Rachel. While Zenyatta was fantastic, Rachel ran almost twice as much, faced males 3 times, almost equalled the track record in the Haskell, beat older males in the Woodward at a time when even 3-year-old colts have a hard time doing it, and set a new record, beating Ruffian's time in the race after the Preakness. I know she didn't run in the BC, but in my opinion, the BC should not be the only race that counts.

12 Jan 2010 12:30 PM
George Grauer

As usual the NTRA if in fact they are the ones that made the decision that there could not be co-champions has shot thereselves in the foot.If there were 3 choices available to the general public'i.e. Zenyatta,Rachel Alexandra "Both" I think the majority vote would be "Both".To me there is no way you can separate the two greastest femalesto come along since Ruffian.It would be a disservice to either for the other to win.In any other sport there have been years when there have been co MVP'S why not racing?Some may fault Rachel Alexandra for not running on a sythetic surfacein the breeders cup,but Zenyatta scratched on a sloppy track when she had a chance to meet Rachel,I rest my case-- Co Champions

12 Jan 2010 12:30 PM

ZENYATTA!!!  She is perfect in every way.  She is such a card in the way that she "dances" in the post parade and then watching her run--it is truly the most beautiful and amazing thing that I have witnessed EVER in horse racing and I probably will never see anything like it again in my lifetime. Rachel Alexandra is a beauty too, but hands down--I like Zenyatta and her connections MUCH BETTER.

12 Jan 2010 12:33 PM
Racing fan from California

It's hard to not vote for Zenyatta with her fantastic win in the Classic and continuing her undefeated streak, but it's even harder to ignore Rachel's entire year. HOY should go to Rachel.

12 Jan 2010 12:37 PM
Mike Relva

I've been a fan of Zenyatta's for over two years. Both are once in a lifetime horses,but I want Zenyatta to win.

12 Jan 2010 12:39 PM

First, why is Zenyatta still training.  I feel she is coming back to run.  Just to swing the votes her way, they are thinking about sending her to the breeding shed(Still no stallion picked).  "Rachel Alexandra could win this next year," is the thought process from team Zenyatta.  But it's all about this year(2009).  Lets see them both run again in 2010.  There were no signs of any injury to either horse.  So continue racing.  A mare can make more money racing instead of breeding.  Especially in this market.  Both are great horses.  I will still have to side with Rachel Alexandra.  We are breeding race horses, not breeding horses.

12 Jan 2010 12:45 PM

Zenyatta - took on all comers in BC Classic & prevailed!

12 Jan 2010 12:48 PM

It's big business, and it'll send a real bad message if you're able to win HOY without competing in the BreedersCup, a very bad precedent.  Sorry Rachel, but them's the backroom rules.

12 Jan 2010 12:53 PM
Mike S

ZENYATTA won all her starts, retired undefeated, carried 129 pounds to victory, and defeated the best field assembled in 2009, in the BC Classic, winning that race in a manner that is unbelievable and unforgettable. I think it was the best race in the history of the Breeders Cup. I give ZENYATTA the Horse of the Year award, hands down.

{Edited by moderator for content}

12 Jan 2010 12:53 PM

Everyone kept saying what a weak group of 3YO's this year's bunch was.  And then they want to make the argument that RA should be horse of the year because she beat them.  Can't have it both ways.  Zenyatta beat the best, and she did it w/ something left.  Watching the winner so stylishly smash the field in the Breeder's Cup Filly and Mare race, a horse that Zenyatta beat up on this year, only strengthens the argument for Zenyatta as horse of the year.

12 Jan 2010 1:00 PM
Blue Blue Sea

8 races and 8 wins in 2009

raced on 7 different tracks

first horse to both run in and then win KY Oaks and 2 weeks later win the Preakness

first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness

First horse to win the Preakness from post 13

Broke the stakes record in the Mother Goose as well as the margin of victory set by Ruffian (less than a second off Secretariat's track record)

Beat the 3 yo boys again in the Haskel and again was less than a second off the record on a sloppy track - only the 2nd filly to win

After 11 races in 12 months, she became the first filly to win the Woodward

first 3-year-old filly to win a grade I route dirt race against older males in New York since 1887

Notice how many firsts or records or near records this horse had? Her impressive wins and year long campaign drew comparissions (rightfully so) to Secretariat.

Why are we having this debate? Zenyatta is a good race mare, but she's no super horse. Although I fear Z will unfairly get the nod, the vote should go to Rachel.

12 Jan 2010 1:04 PM

Zenyatta for this one.  No comment other than ... she's the best!  

Been cheering for "Z" for over two years now!  I adore her!

12 Jan 2010 1:05 PM

I'm am such a huge Zenyatta fan. I think RA will win HOY for what she has done this YEAR. It's so hard to choose either way because both are fantastic and for what Zenyatta has done in here career and I really want her to win but this is for HOY honors and RA did more this year. It's just unfortunate that they had to come along at the same time.

12 Jan 2010 1:05 PM

Both horses. NO queston.I have a lot of horse an i thank both should be H.O.Y.  

12 Jan 2010 1:10 PM

HOY Zenyatta!!! Both are spectacular! But Zenyatta beat the same 3-yr-old champions Rachel Alexandra did (Mine That Bird & Summer Bird), plus a more talented & accomplished international field of older males in the BC Classic. Zenyatta not only beat probable Eclipse Award winners Summer Bird & Gio Ponti (phenominal himself being nominated in TWO categories!), but also the BC Ladies Classic winner Life is Sweet numerous times. For me, Rachel A's winning length average is negated by Zenyatta's win where she carried 129 lbs.

But the real deciding factor for me is this: I could picture RA being slightly in front of Gio Ponti in the BC Classic, but there was no way she was going to hold off the charge of Zenyatta coming down the stretch! RA has phenominal speed, but Zenyatta's determined closing kick is spectacular! She may have had to start that kick sooner with RA in the race, but RA wouldn't see her coming in time since Zenyatta closes in the middle of the track. Macho Again showed us that RA had heart and could hold on to the wire, but he was right next to Rachel. Zenyatta's closing style (in the middle of the track)gobbles up so much ground so fast, and I feel she could sustain that kick for as long as necessary (watching her gallop out) that she would pass RA before RA could re-rally.

Both horses are in a class all their own, and I'm just glad I got to witness such fantastic racing in 2009!

12 Jan 2010 1:12 PM
War Admiral

I would just like to offer a comments regarding those persons who feel that Zenyatta deserves to win because she showed up for the Breedres Cup Classic and Rachel Alexandra did not...

Zenyatta raced 5 times this year. Her racing started at the end of May. She raced in four of the same races that she raced in last year.

Rachel Alexandra raced 8 times...and was owned by two separate people...with different goals for her. Rachel's first connections were never considering running her against males until much later in the year...and if so...never in the Classic.

Jess Jackson bought Rachel and immediately off a two week rest brought her back to face males for the first time at a distance she had never run before...9.5 furlongs.

Rachel rose to that challenge and did she did in her remaining races...

Zenyatta on Kentucky Oaks day was scheduled to race...and scratched...because of the sealed/sloppy track...Rachel ran that day in the slop and won...impressively...

Rachel is a three year old filly...

What Zenyatta did was special but we have to remember that she was a 5 year old mare who had won three times over the Santa Anita track before this race racing -- and only two other horses that were older than she was...Einstein and Awesome Gem and we see how well they ran...

Rachel faced in her three races against boys...all horses that outclassed her...

No other top three year olds except one raced as much as Rachel did...and guess what...the horse that did ended up injured...Summer Bird...

Summer Bird's eighth race was the Jockey Club Gold Cup...his ninth race the Breeders' Cup for the tenth he was injured...

So, those of you who are pressing for Rachel to have competed against Zenyatta on her home track in the Classic...that would likely have been Rachel's ninth or tenth race...and could have resulted in injury...

And it would likely have been a loss not only because Rachel would have been exhausted at this point...but also because no dirt horse has ever won a BC race on Pro Ride...

Rachel could have been the first....but an exhausted three year old filly against a multiple grade I stakes winner well rested 5 year old horse over the Pro would have been a miracle for her to win...on the Pro Ride...

So, suggestions that Rachel should have been in the Classic are misplaced...especially given that at least 10 of the HOTY choices have not run in the Classic since the Breeders Cup was first established...which demonstrates clearly there is no need to run in the race to win HOTY...

12 Jan 2010 1:12 PM
Andrea Bouwkamp

Bob D, you are mistaken Rachel has run over 1 1/8 miles...

She won the Preakness.

12 Jan 2010 1:15 PM

Here is the bottom line.  Put both horses in the gate at a mile and a quarter, scale weight, and who do you think would win? Zenyatta, and most sensible people realize this.  

12 Jan 2010 1:17 PM

Zenyatta to win. She deserves it for her whole body of works capped off with that Breeders' Cup Classic.

12 Jan 2010 1:18 PM
Old Warhorse

It's Horse of the YEAR, not total race record, and the year in question, 2009, belongs to Rachel --multiple victories against the males, large margins of victory, multiple tracks.  We'll have to wait to see who's lifetime career is better.

12 Jan 2010 1:21 PM

Zenyatta wins because of all the data the others have given i.e. she beat the best horses in the world, far tougher competition than those Rachel beat.  But the real reason she wins is that she gives the people that see her win like that a feeling that is like no other.  She pulls your soul right out of you and is able to make her audience transcend everything and vibrate at a level that is so rarified that no one hardly ever gets there. it's as if time stops and you're outside of time and resonating with the gods.  i saw a whole racetrack full of people transported to this rare place from dead silence when she was dead last to a screaming frenzy of joy when she slowly pulled on by the best horses in the world and did only what she needed to to win. Once in a lifetime experience for us all.

12 Jan 2010 1:29 PM
A Fan

The vote should be based on who had the better year, not as a bolster to the Breeder's Cup or the NTRA, or an East-West bias.  It really is a no-brainer.  Rachel Alexandra.

12 Jan 2010 1:29 PM
Arkansan Racing Fan

My vote has to go to the Filly that rewrote the history books.I never thought I would see a horse like Rachel Alexandra in my lifetime. Lets review shall we? Largest winning margin in the history of the Kentucky Oaks, first horse ever to win the Preakness from the thirteenth gate and the first filly to do so in 85 years, she broke Ruffians records for time and largest winning margin in the Mother Goose, she was two ticks off of Secretariat's record at a 1 mile 1/8 in the slop at the Haskell Invitational, and then she became the first three year old to win the Woodward in over ten years and the first female ever to do so. I love Zenyatta, I do, and I feel bad that in any other year she would be a slam dunk, but you have to recognize greatness and this year that's Rachel Alexandra.

12 Jan 2010 1:30 PM

Whoever wins, at least the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities rankings should put to rest the arguments over the world class status of the BC Classic.

12 Jan 2010 1:30 PM

As Mike Smith stated, "Zenyatta is not only HOY, she is Horse of the Decade". RA is very impressive but Zenyatta is a horse that comes along once in a lifetime. It might take years for people to realize what a magnificent horse she really is and how watching her run was truly an honor. Her win in the BC Classic was the most exciting sports moment I have ever witnessed. You couldnt even hear yourself think !!

12 Jan 2010 1:30 PM


Class horse, who won at the Classic Distance, that says it all.

12 Jan 2010 1:32 PM
Raven C.

My vote would be for Zenyatta. Although Rachel is an unbelievable horse, I feel Zenyatta deserves this title. Looking back at her past performances, it did not matter what the pace of the race was. The bottom line, she would defeat whoever was in front of her.  

In regards to her dead-last running style, this feat is unbelievable. What she did in the Breeders Cup was a historical event.  The Breeders Cup Classic is an event that brings together the ‘best of the best’ from around the world.  Her Beyer’s speed score questioned whether she could keep up with the notably faster horses in the race at the distance, but from dead-last she came flying by like a freight train leaving the crowd in awe as she was the first female to ever win the Breeders’ Cup Classic defeating older male horses at a mile and a quarter distance with ease. No marks against Rachel, as I have said she is a phenomenal fille, but I will bring up a great point that Voodoo had mentioned. Zenyatta has also surpassed the 13-0 undefeated record previously held by Personal Ensign with an undefeated career of 14-0. Looking at her past performances with a 14-0 record, how could you not vote Zenyatta as horse of the year?

12 Jan 2010 1:32 PM


It was for the year! The Body of work. She ran in the slop. She not only ran against the boys but the best in the nation, 3 times. G1, different tracks.  

She is simply supurb.

I doubt Rachel will get it, Calvin Borel has been totally screwed.  I imagine a west coast horse will win.

Z you are a big freak, glad you are a mare.

12 Jan 2010 1:36 PM

Rachel has competed at a variety of tracks and beat the boys.  I absolutely LOVE both gals, but I have to say the BC Classic on home turf for the California Queen of Racing was a significant advantage considering she knows and loves Santa Anita.  Had Rachel been in Jackson's stable sooner, we may have seen a very different campaign for RA so we'll never really know.  As for the Zen Mistress, she has beaten the the top 3YO's RA has so you have to give credit where due. However Rachel had a more strenuous 2009 schedule against the boys in my opinion.  At this point, it's a coin toss as to who will be accepting the HOTA honors in CA in a couple of weeks.  Even then, with honors bestowed, the debate will continue on especially as Zenyatta has recent published works and isn't announced in foal and Rachel campaigns a 4YO career.

12 Jan 2010 1:40 PM
Smoking Baby

Rachel Alexandra ran in 8 races.  Zenyatta ran in 5.  This is just my opinion and I could be wrong.  I say so what?  Look back at the horses Rachel beat at the Fairgrounds and Oaklawn in those first three races this season.  Would we really be more impressed with Zenyatta had she beaten fillies of this quality in three more races just to run her season total to 8 races?  I doubt it.  I see Stone Legacy finally won an allowance race for non-winners of two a month or so ago.  Isn't this the sort of filly that Rachel should beat by 20 lengths?  For me it comes down to the fact that I can easily picture Zenyatta blowing by that field in the Woodward and winning going away while I can in no way picture Rachel Alexandra winning the BC Classic even had it been run on dirt.  I understand that Horse Of The Year isn't bases on what I can picture but this is just a thought I wanted to throw out there.  Bottom line...If I had a vote it would be for Zenyatta but I will also be happy for Rachel Alexandra if she does in fact win the award.  You can certainly make valid arguments for either horse.

12 Jan 2010 1:42 PM
Spectacular Bid

Tracey...while Zenyatta beat the same two horses that Rachel Summer Bird and Mine The Bird...Zenyatta beat them on her best synthetic surface...while MTB hates the Pro Ride surface and despite getting 4th, Summer Bird labored over the surface...and had his BSF drop 4 points...showing the race rather than improvement as he had been doing on dirt since his Belmont Stakes win...

And you also have to keep in mind that the horse in the Woodward was an exhausted way a rested Rachel gets tested like she was in the Woodward...

Also, Life Is Sweet is a fine horse, but except for winning the Classic...she could easily duplicate Zenyatta's record next year winning the Milady, Vanity, Hirsch and Lady's Secret...

Plus...Life Is Sweet never ran as well against Zenyatta as she did against horses in the we know clearly Zenyatta never faced Life Is Sweet at her best...

And we also know that the best horses Life Is Sweet faced in the Distaff were dirt horses with zero wins on the synthetic Pro Ride surface...which makes a difference...

Its good Rachel did not run on Pro Ride because top dirt horses have never won over the surface...

12 Jan 2010 1:43 PM

Both are so deserving, and we should be grateful to have RA coming back next year.

But my vote goes to Zenyatta.  A perfect career against all comers - on synthetic AND dirt - should count for something - even though it is to be judged on a single year.  And if that isn't enough - the Breeders Cup Classic win - historic, premier, against all comers worldwide and in a style that is most difficult (and most stirring and dramatic) - how do you truly not say that was a HOY moment?  

It wasn't RA's fault she didn't show for the "big show" - it was her new owner who kept her out.  And if you don't dance the big dance - you don't get to go home with the trophy, no matter how many regional events you tapped your way through perfectly.

The ultimate shame is no race between the two great ladies - but maybe it's better that way....imaginations can always play it out in the collective head.

12 Jan 2010 1:44 PM

Raven C. -- Voodoo's point is irrelevant since HOTY only takes into account races that occur in 2009...and as a result Zenyatta's other nine races are irrelevant...for the purposes of voting for this year's award. Zenyatta's closing ability is special...

But Rachel has demonstrated much more tactical ability and she is only a three year old filly...she can win off the pace or on the lead...wire to wire...she can settle back or win on the front end...and her acceleration is second to none...

12 Jan 2010 1:48 PM

Rachel Alexandra gets my vote. She won every time in convincing style. Every open race she competed in she did something no filly has done in a long time. The Preakness is 1 3/16 miles. Secretariat is the only horse that has had a better 3 year old campaign.

12 Jan 2010 1:49 PM


12 Jan 2010 1:49 PM

Zenyatta wins because she has proven herself to be one of the best horses of the world in her breeder;s cup classic win. and she has just been honored by the world thoroughbred assn. as the better of the two.  They gave her a 28 and they gave rachel a 27.

12 Jan 2010 1:51 PM

I love Zenyatta--the Breeder's Cup was one of the most incredible races I have ever witnessed.  But I also feel that way about the Woodward.  I believe that Rachel Alexandra has the edge because her entire year was filled with amazing performances. And such heart!  And I agree with the arguments listed above by Rachel's fans.  But what an unbelievable year--it'll be a long time until we see a year like this again!

12 Jan 2010 1:52 PM
Ashley A.


She had proved what she was worth against the best of the world. She prevailed with her ears up and looking for more.

12 Jan 2010 1:58 PM

Simply put ZENYATTA!!  She did it all and more.

12 Jan 2010 2:00 PM

After being a semi-casual race watcher for the past few decades, Rachel Alexandra woke within me the desire to follow horse racing again. Since early March I have watched countless horse races both recent and historical on Youtube. I have watched all of Zenyatta's training videos and almost every horse video that I have time to lay my eyes on.

Both fillies are tremendous and as has been said far too many times, it is a shame that they cannot share this prize. My choice is Rachel Alexandra because her campaign was by far the tougher of the two and more ambitious of the two. I believe that if her last race had been the Haskell Invitational instead of the Woodward she would have much more support than is being showed her. Zenyatta's finish in the BC was a sight to behold, but was coming from a "fresh" mare and not an over-raced (and in my opinion poorly raced in the Woodward) younger filly. If HOY is about bringing in new fans to horse racing the choice should be Rachel as she hooked me and by extension many of my friends.

Another way to decide this is to do a quick check of Facebook and find out how many people are using a pic of each filly for their profile photo.

12 Jan 2010 2:00 PM
Ashley R.

I believe that Rachel should be given the nod. Every trial that they threw at her she not only beat it but in most cases surpased it. She is what reminds me what horse racing should be about and has helped me get back some of the enjoyment that i've lost in the past couple of years.

12 Jan 2010 2:02 PM

Zenyatta's BC win was electrifying.  She is the best horse I've watched race this year.

12 Jan 2010 2:06 PM

Frankly I don't see this as a contentious issue.Rachel Alexandra had won 4 races in her division and a historic 5th race against 3yo males(The Preakness Classic) by mid May before Zenyatta ever raced at all!During the 2nd half of the year, Zenyatta raced 4 times in her division and then a historic win outside of her division against males in  the GR 1 Breeder's Cup Classic.That was the whole year for Zenyatta while Rachel put in another 3 races ..dominating stakes record win by 20 lengths in her division (GR 1 Mother Goose);another electrifying  win over 3yo males( By 6 lengths in the slop)in the GR 1 Haskell in near track record time;and a challenging race against older male horses in the GR1 Woodward while setting  the pace all the way and in a very respectable time!!

If the award is for Horse of the(whole) Year..and based on what was accomplished on the track..No doubt Rachel Alexandra is most deserving!

Zenyatta had another outstanding year but just 5 races in California on synthetic tracks is not as compelling as Rachel Alexandra's year - 8 races at 7 different tracks in 6 states!

12 Jan 2010 2:08 PM

Pretend it's a year ago. You are visited by a being from the future who relays this information:

Being: "About Zenyatta, guess what, in 2009 she never leaves SoCal and wins the same races she won in 2008 again as an overwhelming favorite again. But then she wins the BC Classic."

You: "Wow, that's cool that she won the Classic. Can't wait to see it."

Being: "Ever hear of Rachel Alexandra? No? She's a three-year-old filly who looked kind of decent winning 3 of 6 races in KY as a two-year-old. In 2009 she'll go 8 for 8 on 7 different tracks and win the Ky Oaks by 20, then win the Preakness, then win the Mother Goose by 20, then win the Haskell and the Woodward."

You: "Ok, I could believe the Zenyatta stuff, but now you're clearly nuts."

HOY: Rachel (but Zenyatta is fantastic and unforgettable)

12 Jan 2010 2:11 PM

I agree with what "War Admiral" stated.  Rachel deserves HOY for those reasons. Plus the Classic DOESN'T always draw the "Best" horses in the world. Z won that race in spectacular fashion but there were only 3 or 4 rivals in that race that could be called "world class"   Plus, I feel that Z's 2009 campaign was so very carefully chosen, races spaced far apart; not the classiest fields to run against and she didn't run on an off track.

No need to reward a horse for two or three years of accomplishments when it should be one year's body of work.   Rachel did much more in my opinion.  

12 Jan 2010 2:13 PM

PERFECTION at the HIGHEST LEVEL should not be questioned, criticised or denied. Zenyatta has been a gift to us, it will be a very long time, if at all, when we will witness this again.

When the World Thoroughbred Rankings rank Zenyatta over Rachel it is a true evaluation of how the  racing world views their accomplishmnets. Close, YES -  Bias, NO.

Zenyatta should be HORSE of the YEAR !!!

12 Jan 2010 2:15 PM
Zen Fan Forever

Zenyatta ran distances up to 1 1/4 mile and matched exact time of Tiznow in BC classic of 2001.  He was spent - bless his heart.  She was not.  She also carried up to 129 lbs in one of her races in 2009 and won in her usual fashion. She was never used up at the end of her races.   Rachel was pretty beat on two of hers.  Rachel by-passed the Jockey Club and took the easier Woodward. Zenyatta deserves horse of the year! Period. Rachel has a chance to prove distance and endurance next year. I agree she is an awesome filly but no match for the Zen.

12 Jan 2010 2:18 PM

Rachel for HOTY.

Besides having a more aggressive campaign, and travelling half the country for her victories, her 3 wins vs males were on tracks she had never been on, overcoming an impossible post (Preakness), with 15-days rest (Preakness), on a sloppy track (Haskell), in stakes record time (Haskell), while beating multiple 2008 & 2009 G1-G2 stakes-winning older horses (Woodward), a race that's never been won by a filly or mare.

Both amazing horses had close calls during their undefeated 2009 seasons, but IMO, Rachel had to overcome a lot more obstacles, and raced longer (8 months vs 5 months) & more often (8 times vs 5 times), which in this day & age, it's another accomplishment.

12 Jan 2010 2:18 PM
Steve S


Most G1's

Biggest margin of victory

Most wins

most traveled

best beyers

most races outside of class

Most records for margin of victory

Beat more male horses

Most victories "under wraps or easily"

No contest between the two

12 Jan 2010 2:21 PM

Champions race on championship days. Zenyatta proved she was the best in the world by winning the Classic. Not only was she far the best she overcame tremendous problems that seemed insurmountable during the race. Her other races weren't bad either. They took a chance and not only put her undefeated record this year but her whole career on the line and it paid off. No other horse out there can say the same. Zenyatta is my HOY.

12 Jan 2010 2:22 PM

Rachael has to win.  She had no home track advantage.  She won all over the place and against males more than once. She also accomplished this at a much younger age. What will she be like as a 5 year old?

12 Jan 2010 2:26 PM
Donna S.

When the Great PERSONAL ENSIGN won the Breeder's Cup Ladies Classic in 1988; she beat female Kentucky Derby winner WINNING COLORS and went 13-13. ZENYATTA had to go 14-14, win the '08 BC Ladies Classic and the '09 Classic to eclipes PERSONAL ENSIGNS's feat. But it's not really just about a tally of who beat who in what race and what records were broken. Sometimes a single performance can make you stand up and cry, knowing you have witnessed greatness: "Sulley" did it when he landed that plane on the Hudson; Secretariat did it by going his 31 lengths in the Belmont; When Zenyatta overtook her final opponent in the Classic with the World watching, she became a National Hero.  

12 Jan 2010 2:27 PM
Kim R

First I want to say that I LOVE BOTH OF THEM equally.  

With that said however, I think Zenyatta deserves HOY because she did what no other female has done in the history of the Breeder's Cup by winning the Classic.  I am an east coast girl through and through and I take nothing away from Rachel Alexandra BUT, she has the good fortune of being able to run again next year and get her HOY title then.  

I guess I simply just think it is Zenyatta's year!

12 Jan 2010 2:28 PM

I honestly can't decide, it's going to be really close, and I think they both deserve it. What Rachel won in just one year, it would probably take another horse's entire career to do. And Zenyatta, she stayed undefeated no matter what, and you don't see very many horses retire with a perfect record. But IMO one thing is for certain, Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra will go down as one of the all-time greats, and one award isn't going to stop that.

12 Jan 2010 2:38 PM

Zenyatta is my horse of the year.  She was my horse of the year last year, too.  I think we should not compare her to any other horses, male or female.  Zenyatta simply is the best that can be. How could you improve her?  She did everything she was asked to do, with elan and presence and (obviously) a sense of humor.  Long may she live.  Maybe she's my horse of a lifetime, and that's not casual description, as I'm quite a ways over the hill.

12 Jan 2010 2:38 PM

Zenyatta should be Horse of the Year.  Rachel is amazing but Zenyatta is the best!

12 Jan 2010 2:40 PM

Zenyatta co-earned it - and only have her chance this year - not next! If both were racing again next year, I would have called this a tie - very difficult with these spectacular fillies so equal!What a year for the girls!

Go Zenyatta & Racahel Alexandra!!!

Good luck to both!

12 Jan 2010 2:41 PM
Eleanore from Connecticut

If Zenyatta settles after being bred, she won’t grace the racing scene again. Rachel Alexandra is young, so give the queen her due. My vote is for Zenyatta.

12 Jan 2010 2:41 PM

Zenyatta is the winner! The Breeder's Cup cinched it.  I love Rachel too and we've an opportunity to see her continue on.  A match race would be grand.  But for 2009, Zenyatta is the best! I'd love to see her at her highest speed (according the Mike Smith, she still didn't go full even in the Breeders!)Both are fantastic but Zenyatta's delay in the BC & major victory just can't be ignored!!! ZENYATTA!

12 Jan 2010 2:43 PM
Nancy B.

I agree with the others voting for Rachel Alexandra.  Horse of the Year is for the Year, not the entire body of work over the career.  Zenyatta's win in the Classic WAS truly magnificent, but she stayed on the artifical surface in California.  Rachel raced 8 times at 7 different tracks, won 8 times, and beat the boys (including older boys)more than once.  Rachel all the way!

12 Jan 2010 2:44 PM
Junie Wise-Rocky Road Farm

I think that with Zenyatta having more to "LOSE" in running in the Classic & that Rachel chose not to run at all says alot!!!...Plus she beat a pretty good field in the Classic!!!!

12 Jan 2010 2:45 PM

Zenyatta is my horse of the year.  She put everything on the line in the Classic and she won in an unforgettable performance.  One of the greatest performaces of the decade.  As Trevor Denman said, "One we'll never forget!"    

Rachel may have gotten the nod had she beaten the boys at 1 1/4 miles.  She is a wonderful horse, but the Classic is the Classic.

Give it to Zenyatta for 2009 and hopefully Rachel can earn it in 2010.  

How lucky we are to have had both wonderful horses.    

12 Jan 2010 2:49 PM

While Zenyatta is a great race horse and IMHO deserved HOY last year, this year she does not.

Megs & others have pointed out, that this is for Horse of the YEAR.  Just take into consideration 2009, and Rachel is far and away the better horse.

Want demonstration of perfection? That's Rachel in 2009.

Most wins = Rachel

Most graded stakes wins = Rachel

Most horses beaten = Rachel

Most tracks run upon = Rachel

Larger average margin of victory = Rachel

Most wins against males = Rachel

And she beat males older than she was.  She did something no female had done in over 100 years - win the Preakness.  

Let's not continue to award HOY based on a horse's mulit-year career.

Best synthetic specialist = Zenyatta

2nd best HOY = Zenyatta

HOY = Rachel

12 Jan 2010 2:50 PM
LouAnn Cingel

With the Eclipse Awards right around the corner, I must say I will finally be glad to hear it announced and in print:


12 Jan 2010 2:52 PM

TIE    they both deserve it and they both should get it   AMEN

12 Jan 2010 2:53 PM
Brian Appleton

Rachel Alexandra for Horse of the Year.

Someone said that Zenyatta should win it becuase she was the first female to ever win the Classic, unlike Rachel becoming the only filly to win the Preakness in a long time. That's true, and an amazing accomplishment. But Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to ever win the Woodward Stakes which has far more history than the Classic, being inaugurated in 1954 compared to the Breeders' Cup Classic in 1984. That's over twice as old.

Plus, it's Horse of the Year, not half a year.

12 Jan 2010 2:54 PM

I voted for Rachel Alexandra, because she not only won the Kentucky Oaks by 20 lengths, but she took on the boys THREE times and showed them her heels all three times, winning impressively, taking all the boys could dish out to her and still beating them.

12 Jan 2010 3:01 PM
Barbara W

Zenyatta without a doubt. She beat the best in the world without even breathing hard. She takes my breath away.

Rachel will be back next year, hopefully.

12 Jan 2010 3:03 PM
Diane J

Zenyatta.  When she makes her move and inhales the competition in the stretch, it doesn't even look like she's making an effort.  The ease with which she overtakes her rivals is breathtaking. In 2009 - she became the first filly/mare to win the Breeder's Cup Classic, she became the all-time North American female horse in money earned, and retired undefeated.  For all this and more, Zenyatta is HOY for me.

12 Jan 2010 3:04 PM
Andrea Bouwkamp

It doesn't matter if Rachel is racing this year and Zenyatta is done. There is no guarantee that RA might not get injured in training or a race. HOY in 2010 is not a guarantee folks and should NOT be the reason RA is not awarded what she earned in 2009. Really, think about it.

12 Jan 2010 3:13 PM
Alexandra Boyd

I would vote for Rachel Alexandra. because she did so many great things this year. and she made the most headlines. Zenyatta is a great mare too. but you really only heard about her. When she won the breeders cup classic.

12 Jan 2010 3:18 PM

I only say Zenyatta because I do not think we have seen the very best of Rachel. I think she has only begun a fantastic career and she certainly has not made her statement yet.

12 Jan 2010 3:21 PM

Susan, you suggest that it will be a long time before a horse like Zenyatta comes along again...and I assume you are talking this year and not career wise because HOTY is not a career award.

The reality is that Life Is Sweet will be running again next year and is likely to duplicate everything Zenyatta did winning the Milady, Vanity, Clement Hirsch, and Ladys Secret...

But, I think you ignore that the reality is that a three year old filly will likely never do what Rachel Alexandra did in thoroughbred racing hisory. When is the last time what Rachel did happened? Let us try looking at Busher...who is the last three year old filly to take on males like Rachel did...but even Busher was not undefeated like Rachel was. So, you can truly see how difficult it would be to duplicate Rachel's results...

As for Zenyatta's Classic win...Rachel may do it in 2010 at Churchill Downs...and as for Zenyatta's streak of 14 wins...Rachel already has nine in a row..she is six away from surpassing Zenyatta...and seven away from tying Cigar and Citation for consecutive victories by a championship caliber horse.

Thus, Zenyatta is to be lauded for a magnificent performance in the BC Classic,, but Rachel is deserving of HOTY...

12 Jan 2010 3:25 PM

As great as Zenyatta is, her season this year up to the Breeders Cup Classic was the same season she had last year, perhaps easier.  She raced the same races, on the same tracks.  She faced the boys only ONCE and if she had had this season in 2008, she would've won HOY over Curlin.  She did more that season and faced better fillies & mares, including Ginger Punch.

BUT, that said, Rachel gets my vote.  Simply put, she did MORE this year.  She's a perfect 8 for 8, she defeated 3yo fillies, defeated the winner of the Kentucky Derby, the winner of the Belmont & the Jockey Club Gold Cup, beat older males, set new records and did what NO filly has done as a 3yo.  She faced the boys not once but three times, including older colts.  8 races, 8 wins on 7 tracks in 6 states and the travelling never affected her.  I think there is a reason Zenyatta never left California and I think it's that the travelling affected her too much.  The Mosses never did anything to show us anything different in any case.  

It's a tough year for Eclipse voters, but they have to go for the ENTIRE YEAR and not ONE race.  If you look at their ENTIRE body of work over the season, Rachel simply did more to deserve this win.  

12 Jan 2010 3:25 PM

My vote is to Zenyata! Nothing against Rachel, I love her, but Zenyata's got me here. Rachel had it easy in her one race only racing 2 other horses. Zenyata faced big competition and beat them. The Classic was Zenyata's best race and should be HOY. She was the first filly to win the Classic which is an amazing accomplishment!

12 Jan 2010 3:26 PM

They are both breathtaking, amazing race horses. I'll be okay no matter who wins the Horse of the Year title. They are both perfect 11's in my book.

I just feel that Rachel had the more complete season. She was unbeaten this year, even though she raced 8 times on 7 different tracks. She faced the boys three times and she dominated older males too. No matter the condition of the track or the horses she faced she always came out ahead. She has the heart of a lion and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next year!

We are so blessed to have seen two such amazing females racing in the same season. It is a shame that they never met on the track to settle it but Rachel truly deserved a rest after so many amazing races.

12 Jan 2010 3:32 PM

Rachel Alexandra.

Personally the issue, and this is not a slight to Zenyatta, should not even be questioned. One person brought up RA's firt three races of the year, saying that had Zen ran in those races, just to make her record 8-8, the world would not be impressed. That is true, which is why Zenyatta's first four races really weren't overly impressive. They were just as impressive as RA's first three races of the year. The way I see things is that Zenyatta, as someone mentioned did pass some big milestones this year, but most of those milestones were accomplished soley by winning that one race the BCC. That race is all she has to lean back on for support when talking about HOTY.

I look at RA's season and I see a filly who went unbeaten in eight starts, over seven tracks, in six states, over the course of about 7.5 months. I see a filly who took on a Derby winner and Belmont winner and won, and a filly who beat her male elders. I see a filly who never left stakes competition, who raced seven races that were no less than a grade two and won five straight Grade one races.

Rachel owns the largest winning margins in the Martha Washington, Fantasy, Kentucky Oaks, and Mother Goose. She owns stakes records in both the Martha Washington and Mother Goose, and she owns the highest BSF around two turns this year. She was only the fourth filly to win the Preakness, the first of any to win from post 13, The second filly to win the Haskell, and the first filly of any age to win the Woodward.

This year I entered the season thinking that this was Zenyatta's time to shine and that there was no way that she could possible lose HOTY. During most other years I would select her, still, for my HOTY choice, but this was not just any other year. Rachel Alexandra stole the show.

12 Jan 2010 3:33 PM

My vote is for Zenyatta. The award is for HORSE of the Year, not campaign of the year. To me that means the best horse should win and I can't imagine any racing scenario (other than a match race)where Zenyatta would lose to RA. I seem to recall Ghostzapper winning HOY (over Smarty Jones) off of a 4 race campaign, so why would a 5 race campaign be less valid? The best horse is the best horse.

12 Jan 2010 3:35 PM

Zenyatta for HOY.  The best race I've ever seen was her Breeder's Cup Classic win.  That was to me, not only the race of the year, but the race of the decade.  Rachel for top 3 year old female.  Rachel is superb, but Zenyatta is awesome.  Hopefully, we will see more great races from Rachel for several more years.

12 Jan 2010 3:36 PM

Both were spectacular, you couldnt ask them be any more impressive in the races they ran.  The tiebreaker is then the number of races, which is decidedly in Rachel's favor.  

12 Jan 2010 3:40 PM
Sammi P

My vote is for Zenyatta. She beat the best males the world had to offer (multiple group/grade 1 winners) in the Classic becoming the first female to ever do so. She carried 129 pounds, and is still unbeaten. She beat the Ladies Classic winner Life is Sweet mulitple times, and a lot of the fillies she beat this year were at the breeders cup, and almost all were stakes winners. She also ran the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles. She showed up when it counted most, and everything she has done has been done with ease.

Zen is my HOY, but I won't be mad is Rachel wins it, she too is an amazing filly

12 Jan 2010 3:42 PM
Billy's Empire

HOY is Rachel Alexander

HOD(decade) is Zenyatta.

This is why.

1. Preakness Winner- not only is this a triple crown race, but it is the first time a Filly has won this race in 85 years. The breeders cup has only been around for 25, so there is much more history and relevance behind that win than  BC win on atrack that was unknown to so many top class horses.

2. Haskell- R/A beat up the boys again, beating the Traver's winner and Belmont winner by 6 legnths.

3. Woodward- Saratoga is the graveyard of Champions, but Rachel faced older males, and won the Woodward while being pressed thru the whole race, and is the first filly ever to win this race, which is a much much older race than the BC.

To me, she did more this year. Zenyatta beat the same mares over and over and over again, and finally came to play with the boys  only when she had a great advantage, the home course. Zenyatta could of also run in the Pacific Classic or Santa Anita Handicap, or Goodwood, but did not. Big Z is awesome, don't get me wrong, but when it comes down to the accomplishments of a horse/filly for 1 year, Rachel had a far better year than Zenyatta.

12 Jan 2010 3:43 PM

Zenyatta ran a solid 2nd half to her flawless career, undefeated once again showing impressive final times (by that, I mean the last 1/16th in the Clement, for instance). She was never challenged (though she nearly didn't make it to the wire in time, but that was bad timing, not being challenged) and she danced the biggest dance like it was a walk in the park.

12 Jan 2010 3:45 PM

While both are exquisite beyond words, Zenyatta accomplished what has never been achieved by beating some of the best horses on the planet in the Breeder's Cup Classic while going undefeated her entire career.  She's my choice.

12 Jan 2010 3:46 PM

It is impossible to separate them. They are both Horse of the Year. All the arguments in favor of both are equally valid. Rachel beat more horses; Zenyatta beat better horses. Rachel won more races; Zenyatta gave us the most electrifying race of the year. Rachel traveled to many tracks; Zenyatta showed up for the championship. Zenyatta crowned her career with the ultimate win; Rachel's best may be ahead. If it were up to me, it would be a tie. Honor them both for giving us an amazing year of racing goodness! (And here's to Rachel winning the Breeders Cup Classic in 2010!)

12 Jan 2010 3:46 PM


12 Jan 2010 3:56 PM

Rachel. Everyone else has already stated why so I don't have to repeat the reasons.  She has had a once-in-a-lifetime year and deserves it.

12 Jan 2010 3:57 PM


12 Jan 2010 4:00 PM

ZENYATTA is the best!  The way she wins is electrifying.  She did what no other filly or mare has done before when she won the BC Classic, a performance for the ages.  For this, and so much more she deserves Horse of the Year.  I love you Z!

12 Jan 2010 4:11 PM
Julie L.

This was a very tough decision for me as I believe that both did more for horse racing this year and both were phenomenal in their performances. However, my final deciding factors came down to two races in favor of Zenyatta. First the Vanity Handicap in which this great mare carried 129 lbs and won easily, how many male horses have carried this much weight this year? The second race is the Breeder's Cup Classic in which this fine mare took on the best males in North America and Europe and won with such authority and with such adversities at the beginning of the race and during. She went past Gio Ponti an extremely good horse with ease and I believe that if it were even longer Summer Bird would not have past her. Jess Jackson, though I admire him very much, gave a flimsy excuse for not running Rachel "synthetic track" as this great filly had run on synthetic before and won. Also in her last race against older males she was pushed hard by Macho Uno and though she won Borel really had to get into her. In truth these two great mares should share this award equally for if ever there was a case for such an event happening (a tie) this is without a doubt it.

12 Jan 2010 4:20 PM
canterbury buck night

I've gone back and forth a couple times, but what Zenyatta did was more historically significant.  In the years to come, I imagine the single performance people will remember from 2009 will be Zenyatta's classic.  Now, if Rachel had won the Derby, which I think she could have, it would have been different.  She didn't enter in the Derby, and she didn't enter in the Classic, and she would have been favored in both.  

12 Jan 2010 4:21 PM
Carol S.

Zenyatta - carried 129 to victory, won against the best the world could put together at the American classic distance of 1 1/4 miles, became the first female to win the BC Classic, retires undefeated while racing at the highest level.  What more could anyone ask her to do?

12 Jan 2010 4:22 PM

Zenyatta gets my vote for winning the BC Classic..Yes Rachel beat the boys several times but most of the strong boys Rachel ran against, Zenyatta beat in the classic.Rachel ran against older males once & almost got caught by Macho Again, but look at the older proven males Zenyatta beat: Einstein, Gio Ponti..WoW!

12 Jan 2010 4:30 PM
Racing Fan NYC

This is my first comment ever!  I just couldn't resist joining in the debate...

After realizing how much this argument has come down to emotion vs. cold hard facts, I did a little experiment:  I asked my fiance, who is not a racing fan and doesn't follow the sport at all, to spend an hour watching Rachel and Zenyatta's races, looking at their records, ages, horses defeated, etc etc etc.  He asked any questions he felt were pertinent and I answered in as unbiased a way as possible - otherwise I made no comments.  The result?  It didn't even take him an hour.  He said it was completely a no-brainer that Rachel Alexandra had the better year and he wasn't really sure why anyone would get hung up on the BC Classic as the true method of determining HOY. As he said, why run any other races if that's the only one that matters?

Then, wanting to test myself on the emotional side of the argument, I watched all their races (for about the 100th time in some cases).  Number of Zenyatta races that brought tears to my eyes yet again = 1 (BC Classic).  Number of RA races that brought tears to my eyes yet again = 4.5 (KY Oaks was a bit more "OMG!" than tearful).

As a final, very un-scientific test, I looked thorugh ALL comments above.  The arguments in Zenyatta's favor, while enthusiastic, seem to usually lack any real explanation of their vote, whereas RA's voters are able to really lay down the facts of why she is HOY.  

Bottom line: If you ignore the BC Classic, can you say Zenyatta is HOY? Probably not - remember most folks had all but given RA the award after the Woodward.  If you ignore the Haskell (arguably RA's best race), RA is still probably HOY.

Both great horses, and we are all incredibly lucky to have watched them this year, but RA clearly has the stronger case for HOY.  I'd venture to say that's based on emotion AND facts, at least for me anyways.

12 Jan 2010 4:41 PM

Both great horses!

Hoy gotta give the slight edge to Z.

Zenyatta got a 1 1/4 RA never. Just watching Z warm up and prance around she just knows.

She knows were the finish line is she knows were the turn is she just knows.She is a freak of nature.

Watch the B/C Classic this year 200 yrds from the finish line the ears for a brief moment get pinned back and she digs in. 3 strides she passes G/P wins on cruise control.

Ill take Mike Smith's word "I still did not hit all gears"

Sorry R/A, Z is the better horse this year

12 Jan 2010 4:44 PM

So now the barometer for HOY is 10 furlongs?

Rachel loses votes because of 1/16 of a mile in distance despite having an edge in multiple categories?

I don't see the logic there but then again, I didn't pick with my heart,it's just what I saw.

12 Jan 2010 5:04 PM
mike williams

Both these horses deserve to share the Horse of Year honours for their remarkable achievements.Are the powers to be so much in a straight jacket that they cannot accommodate this consideration. Rules are made by man and can be changed by man, and we are living in an enlightened twenty first century.

12 Jan 2010 5:06 PM
Bailey Janae

I think that Zenyatta should be Horse of the Year because, if what the Mosses are saying stays true, we will not see Zenyatta again.  I think that Rachel Alexandra will go on and do even more spectacular things next year (maybe a Breeders' Cup Classic, since it is not on the "Plastic"?).  If Zenyatta was not nominated, Rachel Alexandra would get it by a landslide, as she did all of her races.

12 Jan 2010 5:17 PM
Jasmine from McGill

They're both incredible mares, but I'd give it to Rachel based on statistics alone: 8 for 8 this year, 3 for 3 against males, margin records and stakes records galore in GI company...

It certainly would be no great tragedy for Zenyatta to get it, but I see Rachel as the logical choice based on this year alone.

12 Jan 2010 5:19 PM
warren fraser

aye dont quite understand why there is such a big dispute.the hoy in my opinion when you have two or more outstanding horses should be given the award based on performance at the classic distance in the championship race or why bother having championship races.hoy 2009 is zenyatta case closed.

12 Jan 2010 5:22 PM
Majella from Ireland

It really, really hurts me to vote for Rachel over Zenyatta because I love them both and actually Zenyatta is my favourite. But Rachel achieved more this year, end of story.

12 Jan 2010 5:25 PM
Rachel Fan

In weighing this decision its not a true argument, when looking at the level of competition its important to note that one horse beat Graded stakes winners and Grade 1 winners in a number of races, Rachel defeated horses that went on to accomplish great things, Gabby’s Golden Girl, Summer Bird, Flashing, Take the Points. Zenyatta beat LIS  and what else in her first 4 races. Unfortunately nothing, in the classic her competition was suspect due to being off of their preferred surface, a great race indeed but everything this year played for Zen to win HOY and she still wont because this 3 year old sensationally, brilliant filly named Rachel Alexandra took on every challenge placed before her.  Let me ask you this could Zen have run in a similar campaign as a 5 year old and come out 8-8.  I’ll let u ponder that, comparing races though, throwing out the first 3 as they were 3 year old filly preps, The Ky Oaks vs Milady- Preakness vs Vanity – Mother Goose vs CL Hirsch – Haskell vs Lady’s Secret & Woodward vs BCC is the argument.  Right not much of an argument at all is it.  Zenyatta is a fabulous mare, and her connections had the chance to showcase her and garner HOY, but failed to put together a campaign that impressed, Rachel’s owner on the other hand gambled and it paid off.  

In the end, it comes down a a true Horse of the Year campaign vs sentiment and 1 BCC win.  Hands down Rachel Alexandra the Great for "Horse of the Year"

12 Jan 2010 5:25 PM

I don't really have an opinion on anyone else's posts here.  I just don't understand the positions some have taken that "Rachel can win it next year" or that the 10f distance is a necessity.

1. Rachel could get injured this year.  It could happen before she even makes her first start.  You can't just assume that a horse will win an award by default.  What if there is a TC this year?

2.  Last year, plenty of people (who may have been right) would have voted for Zenyatta over Curlin.  She did finish a distant second despite the fact she did not race at 10f.

HOY should be voted on for the races between Jan 1 and Dec 31 of a calendar year.  Period.  Not on future expectations or past accomplishments.

12 Jan 2010 5:26 PM

I love them both but my vote is with Zenyatta. She is an amazing girl. No matter which horse wins, I'll be happy, but I hope it's Zenyatta.

12 Jan 2010 5:34 PM

Rachel hands down.

Zenyatta is fantastic too, but it´s "Horse Of The Year", not "Horse Of The BCC"

12 Jan 2010 5:35 PM

Of course they are both wonderful.  But, for me, it is Rachel.  She dominated in the Oaks, raced the best three year old males, and raced more races on several different tracks.

12 Jan 2010 5:38 PM

Rachel - 8 starts, 8 wins, 5 GIs, 3 wins against males (Preakness, Haskell, Woodard), 2 stakes records (Mother Goose, Woodward), 2 margin records (Kentucky Oaks, Mother Goose). Raced on 7 different tracks in her 8 starts. Also, raced in 6 different states.

Zenyatta - 5 starts, 5 wins, 4G1s, 1 win against males (Classic)

It's not about how pretty the horse is, or how they performed throughout their whole career, it's about their career THIS YEAR. This year, Rachel proved a lot more things and has the better resume. One thrilling race in the year is not worthy of horse of the year, a handful of thrilling races throughout the year is.

12 Jan 2010 5:44 PM

I vote for Zenyatta,she embodies what horse racing is all about fantastic owners,trainer,jockey and groom.Her style of racing is probably not going to be seen again until perhaps her children begin to race if we get one equal to her size.A thrilling horse to watch ever race and she has a personality to match a complete package our Zenyatta is..will miss her racing.

12 Jan 2010 5:49 PM

The resume of the legendary Zenyatta:

Zenyatta defeated the winners of 36 grade I stakes, won by eight male grade I winners and eight female grade I winners

Zenyatta's victims included two male classic winners (Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes), two Breeders’ Cup Distaff/Ladies Classic winners, two Travers winners, two Beldame winners, two Ruffian Handicap winners, and the winners of the Santa Anita Handicap, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Pacific Classic, Arlington Million, Champion Stakes, Sussex Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Santa Anita Derby, Man o’War Stakes, Spinster, Coaching Club American Oaks, Mother Goose, Personal Ensign, Lady’s Secret, Santa Margarita among others...

Zenyatta won back-to-back runnings of the Grade I Vanity, Grade I Clement L. Hirsch, Grade I Lady's Secret and Grade II Milady.

Zenyatta demolished the field in the Grade I Apple Blossom and all runners in that race came back to win their next start.

Zenyatta defeated three Eclipse award champions in 2009 – Summer Bird (3-year-old male), Gio Ponti (champion male grass horse), and Gio Ponti or Einstein for champion older male.

Undefeated (14 - 0 - 0)

All-Time North American Earnings Leader (filly/mare) $5,474,580

8x Grade I winner

4x Grade II winner

Zenyatta is the fourth filly/mare (and first female since Dance Smartly in 1991) to finish first in North American purse earnings.

Set a "track record" at Del Mar (Clement L. Hirsch)

Set a "stakes record" at Santa Anita (El Encino)

Zenyatta ran the second fastest "Distaff/Breeders Cup Ladies Classic" in Breeders Cup history.

Carried 129 pounds in Grade I Vanity. Conceeding 15 pounds to the runner-up.

Beat 2007 Breeders Cup Distaff Champion twice (Ginger Punch)

Beat 2009 Breeders Cup Ladies Classic Champion three times (Life is Sweet)

Beat 8 Grade I males in the Breeders Cup Classic

Zenyatta is the only filly/mare to be the morning line favorite in both the "Breeders Cup Ladies Classic" and the "Breeders Cup Classic".

Zenyatta is the only filly/mare to be the postime favorite to win both the "Breeders Cup Ladies Classic" and the "Breeders Cup Classic".

Zenyatta is the only Breeders Cup Ladies Classic Champion and Breeders Cup Classic Champion.

Closed her last 1/16 mile at Del Mar (Clement L. Hirsch) in 5 and change and the Trakus timing system caught her finishing at a peak speed of 40mph on the wire.

Closed her last 1/4 mile at Santa Anita (Breeders Cup Classic) in an astonishing 23 flat.

12 Jan 2010 5:59 PM

Both are amazing and I wish both could win.  But for all the reasons War Admiral and many other psots before me have stated, it's Rachel for Horse of the Year.  Race of the Year goes to Zenyatta.  

12 Jan 2010 6:13 PM

ZENYATTA! She has no limits. She ran against multiple grade 1 winning males. Rachel's males can't even win a grade 3 race. Pass the Point (example) this weekend. She too ran all year, not sure why people are making like she didn't. Zenyatta carried major weight (129),even when it looks hopeless she digs down herself and wins without a forceful whipping.  Zenyatta was the first filly or mare to win the BC Classic and was running the classic distance for the first time, looked hopelessly beaten and STILL WON! You can't just quote Tom Durkin and not Treveor when he said,"she would have to be a super horse to win and then said, "This is unbelieveable!" Zenyatta is that, UBELIEVEABLE!

12 Jan 2010 6:15 PM

I wouldn't want to vote against either mare, since they both accomplished great things this year, but if I HAD to, I guess I'd vote for Rachel Alexandra. She was undefeated in 8 races at 7 different tracks in 6 states, including 5 Grade 1 stakes (one of which was a Triple Crown race). She set stakes records, beat males an unprecedented 3 times in Grade 1 races, and beat her fellow 3yo fillies by an average of 11 1/2 lengths when she raced in her own division. She won on the lead and from off the pace, on tracks which ranged from fast to sloppy. While she didn't race at 10 furlongs this year, she did win over 9 1/2 furlongs. She became the first filly ever to win the Woodward Stakes, and the first filly in almost a century to win the Preakness.

Zenyatta is a great mare too, and I wish she had won HOY last year over Curlin. I definitely think that her BC Classic win was the "moment of the year". However, I can't ignore what Rachel Alexandra did for the rest of the year. I wish both mares could get the award. Neither deserves to lose. Really though, the Eclipse awards aren't as important as the horses' body of work on the racetrack. What they accomplished on the track will be remembered long after people stop caring about who won an award that was handed out based on votes by members of the press.

12 Jan 2010 6:21 PM

In 2009 we had the very great pleasure of having 2 exceptional fillys show that it's a misperception that a stallion or gelding has to win the richest and/or most competitive races in the US.  Also we've had a recession, something racing dreaded and the closing of tracks.  Rachel Alexandra and Zenzatta helped bring us of our depression if only for a day watching their races.  RA funs with the field and beats them, Z stalks like a cat and with her tremendous power and stride overcomes all takers.  I don't believe there is a horse today who could beat Zenyatta, and I don't think Santa Anita's grandstand has been that loud and enthusiastic since a guy called Seabiscuit.  They both brought racing back to the people. To me Zenyatta is HOY.

12 Jan 2010 6:26 PM

I'd echo what Nina wrote above.  My reasons to vote for Rachel would be the same.  Eight-for-eight, seven tracks, in eight months, beat males 3 times, all as a 3yo filly.  

12 Jan 2010 6:28 PM

The beautiful Zenyatta has to get my vote. She is unbeaton in 14 races and the last one BCC she beat the best the world sent to face her. She should have gotten it last year. I guess the best was yet to come tho.I pray she gets it this year.

12 Jan 2010 6:30 PM
needler in Virginia

One simple reason for Zenyatta's winning HOY...... when push came to shove at the BC Classic, she showed up! Rachel didn't.

Cheers and safe trips to all.

12 Jan 2010 6:36 PM

Rachel.  She accomplished more this year than any other horse, running in 8 races and winning them all.  She annihilated her filly counterparts and whipped the boys.  Her Preakness and especially her Woodward were amazing considering that only a minute fraction of horses can set sizzling paces, turn back the stalkers, and fight back when the closers come.  She set numerable stakes and margin records; too bad we didn't see her in Santa Anita, but she did deserve a rest after a long full-season campaign.  

If you took out each horse's most impressive/historic victory (Zen - Classic, RA - ...I guess I'll call it the Woodward)and threw it out like they never ran in it, then who would have Horse of the Year?  Based on a body of works and the whole racing season, Rachel is the obvious pick.  

12 Jan 2010 6:40 PM


       HORSE OF THE YEAR  2009  


12 Jan 2010 6:47 PM

In reading the above comments, a lot of comparison is being made in the records of these two horses, i.e. RA was 8-8, Zen was 5-5. I think some folks need to remember that the connections of Zenyatta were always pointing for her final race being the BC Classic (or Ladies Classic); that's why her campaign started later in the year. I don't think that was always the plan with RA. We know Jackson was sour on the synthetic surface, but that was a poor excuse, in my opinion, since RA had a win over that surface as well.

Bottom line for me is if you want to be named HOY, you have to beat the best horses. As I stated in a previous comment, Zenyatta beat probable Eclipse winners Summer Bird and Gio Ponti; European greats Rip Van Winkle and Twice Over, plus Ladies Classic winner Life is Sweet, who would probably have won an Eclipse award had she not been in the same "Older Female" class as Zenyatta. Those are 5 proven horses that Zenyatta raced against, and still was not truly tested. RA's victory over older males in the Woodward doesn't convince me that she could have won over stronger older horses like Gio Ponti.

Also some call Zenyatta a synthetic track specialist, while her trainer all along has said it is not her preferred type of track. I don't believe calling her competition in the BCC suspect because they were off their preferred tracks is a fair statement. Those horses had already proven their ability, and the reason they were in the BCC was because they could cross over to synthetic and still run their races.

Also, for those who like "facts", Zenyatta is the FIRST female to win the BC Classic, and the FIRST to win the BC Ladies Classic and BC Classic. Those FIRSTs add up the most!

12 Jan 2010 6:50 PM
Paula Higgins

Rachel had the better year. She accomplished more. But there is no doubt in my mind who the better horse is and that is Zenyatta. Having said that, the award is for HOTY so while my heart AND mind tell me that Zenyatta is the better horse, I will have to vote for Rachel. It is a killer, because they are both jaw dropping horses and my heart is with Zenyatta. I think I have looked at her Breeder's Cup race 50 times. But I can't be unfair to Rachel.

12 Jan 2010 6:51 PM

Zenyatta's trip to Horse of the Year nomination was more orchestrated than Rachel's. Taking a proven entity and placing her right. Rachel's career deveolped, as a three year old's will. Many tracks, many challenges, many wins..each more emphatic than the previous one, each developing. She went up against the boys after beating the girls. Also, older boys. She was not proved, yet proved herself. I think she had to show a lot more guts in her trip to Horse (Filly/Mare) of the Year. vote..Hasili..brood mare/horse/contirbutor of the decade.

12 Jan 2010 6:55 PM

I found this at and side by side, it makes for an interesting comparison. Zenyatta is awesome, but I really have to give Rachel the nod. What she accomplished as a physically immature 3 year old filly vs. what Zenyatta accomplished as a physically mature 5 year old mare just blows me away.

Rachel Alexandra Zenyatta

8-for-8    2009 Record  5-for-5

$2,746,914   Earnings $3,330,000

3 Wins vs. males 1

65 lengths Combined margin 6 1/2 lengths

12 Jan 2010 6:55 PM

i think Zenyatta deserves to win HOY, if not because of her perfect record despite a compromising style, then simply because of her performance in the Classic. She beat the best field assembled in the year WITH HER EARS PRICKED. how amazing is that? even more important is the potential (even thought it was the last race of her career!) that this shows; Zen has never given everything she had, so we can't know or quantify how good she is in comparison with Rachel Alexandra. i also doubt Rachel could wire a field at a mile and a quarter.  Plus the love shown for her after her Classic victory was just overwhelming.Either way the voting turns out, we were so lucky to have such great racehorses at the same time.

final words:


12 Jan 2010 7:00 PM
pat morris


12 Jan 2010 7:01 PM
Lil Darlin

Rachel Alexandra without hesitation for HOY. *Note: the following relates purely to 2009, not 2008, as we are speaking of the current year. And, I operate under the assumption that anything can happen in horse racing and nothing is a given for Rachels' 2010 season.

1. Race record (8 vs 5)

2. Race records.  Only 2 opponents in the Mother Goose, but broke Ruffian's time and came very close to Secretariat's, eased up. And she set a record for margin of victory in the Oaks, a race that has been run since 1875. I don't care what you think of the field, to hold a record for a race that has been run that many times is unbelievable (and imagine what it would look like if Calvin had ever actually asked her to run...that's scary).

3. Preakness.  Rachel was never trained to race against the males, especially on such a tight schedule, yet came back after two weeks to beat them after a change in ownership/trainer.  And, being a classic, she in fact did win at a classic distance.

4. Two words - Haskel, Woodward. Rachel set blazing fractions in the Woodward and held on.  The only horses close to her at the end were the ones that did not get cooked by the pace she set. She was right up in second in the Haskel as well, which had a very quick opening quarter, and she didn't just hold on, she demolished a field of colts (including the likely 3 year old champion). If there is any doubt that she could get a mile and a quarter, I would reference the mile and an eigth Haskel in a heartbeat.  Did it look like another eigth would make a difference?

5. Giving a HOY award to a horse based on 1 race would be a very dangerous precedent to set.  This industry needs champions willing to TRAVEL and RACE OFTEN if it is going to attract new fans. I have never before seen a HORSE get a spread in VOGUE. Move over, Heidi Klum, there's a new diva in town!

Zenyatta is gorgeous.  Her BC triumph was probably one of (if not THE) best races I have ever seen. Still, her overall body of work in 2009 does not match up with Rachel's.

12 Jan 2010 7:05 PM

I think it's important not to penalize Zenyatta because her connections were conservative with her.  In one race, Zenyatta changed my mind about HOY.  I had thought Rachel Alexandra was hands down the winner, but the Classic convinced me that when given a chance to show how good she really was (racing against the best and at 11/4 miles, Zenyatta proved to be simply a superior race horse and I have no doubt had she been racing against like competition at 1 1/4 or more (dirt or synthetic) prior to the Breeder's Cup, she would have revealed her true nature earlier.  We all knew she was a great race horse...but she proved to be one for the ages in the Classic.

12 Jan 2010 7:11 PM
Zenyatta Girl14

I know HOTY is based on the years performance but the fact that Zenyatta is retiring undefeated 14-14 in her career is spectacular. I don't penalize her for running out of California when the Breeder's Cup which they wanted most was in California. Also Ruffian only raced in New York! But anyways with her beating the boys was awesome. She did what Rachel did (when it comes to beating the boys)in one race! She beat males Rachel's age, males her age, and European males at a distance of a 1 mile and a 1/4. This was the worlds best. After all it is called the World Championships. The field of males Zenyatta faced was just a tougher group of males than the ones Rachel faced. I know HOTY isn't about ONE race but her performance and win in that race is a type of HOTY performance. My vote goes to ZENYATTA!

12 Jan 2010 7:12 PM

Breeder's Cup, Breeder's Cup, Breeder's Cup. Sick of hearing it. One race does not a champion make.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Zenyatta, however, if she is voted HOY based on this race alone then let's just automatically make the winner of the Classic HOY every year.  From what I've been reading most of the fans that voted for her are basing their vote on this one race.  I heard two people on one of the racing channels even admit that this was not the strongest field that had ever ran in the Classic and the runner up was actually a turf horse.  Also, where was Sea the Stars that they thought was coming over to race.  He's the best horse in Europe and was voted #1 on the 2009 World Thoroughbred Rankings.  Had he been in it and she won then I would have to say she should be HOY.

How did they use to determine the HOY before the Breeder's Cup races.

It sure wasn't based on just one race.  Rachel did her phenominal racing the first 7 months of the year and other than the Breeder's Cup, Zenyatta reran in the same races as last year.  The BCC seems to be all that most folks remember.

I watched RA run in the slop at Churchill Downs and at Monmouth in the Haskall.  She never let it slow her down.  They scratched Zenyatta the one time she left California and it was because of the slop.  

Even if she doesn't win, I will always feel that she was the most deserving.....RACHEL ALEXANDRA IS MY GIRL.

12 Jan 2010 7:21 PM


She was the best horse in training last year, and HOY is usally given to the best horse in training.

12 Jan 2010 7:31 PM

Horse of the Year is an award given to the horse with the most successful year.  Rachel Alexandra won 8 races, out of 8, wrecked s*** against the girls, winning her last 2 races against them by 20 lengths each, and hauled a** in her 3 races against boys-winning all 3 of them, and making history in all 3.  In the Kentucky Oaks, she won by an astounding 20 1/2 lengths over the best of her sex in the country, missing the stakes record by just .23 on a sloppy, muddy track, which had caused Zenyatta's scratch earlier that day.  When the Preakness came around, Calvin Borel gave up the ride on the Derby winner in order to ride her.  She broke from the 13 hole, and became the first horse ever to win the Preakness from the outside post.  She is the first Kentucky Oaks winner to win the race.  In her next race, she broke 2 records in the Mother Goose: the time (1:46.33) and the margin (she won by 19 1/4, which is more than the previous record of 13 1/2 set by the great Ruffian), while being eased, and was less than a second off of Secretariat's world record.  In the Haskell, against probably 3 year old male champ Summer Bird, she won by 6 lengths and missed the track record by just .41, and the stakes record by a mere .21, earning her a Beyer of 116, the highest of any horse in America.  In the Woodward, her 11th race in the last 12 months, she set a blistering 22.85 first quarter, and still held off closer Macho Again to win.  She is the only filly or mare ever to win the Woodward, and just the second ever to win the Haskell, after Serena's Song in 1995.  The only two other females to finish in the money in the Woodward are Lady's Secret (2nd 1986) and Summer Guest (3rd, 1972).  In addition, she is the first 3 year old filly to win a Grade 1 route dirt race against older horses since 1887.  The Woodward brought her winning streak up to 9 in a row.  

This is the greatest campaign by a 3 year old filly in memory, and by winning the award, it would be encouraging owners and trainers in the future to challenge their horses.  It is good for racing, and will bring people in.  If you ask a random person on the street, chances are they will know who Rachel Alexandra is, and maybe they even semi-follow her.  The same cannot be said of Zenyatta, even after her spectacular career

12 Jan 2010 7:32 PM

Rachel Alexandra all the way.

Zenyatta is great too, but it's Horse of the Year, not horse of the race and Rachel did so much more in a shorter amount of time then Zenyatta did.

12 Jan 2010 7:34 PM
Ida Lee

HORSE OF THE YEAR!!! RACHEL ALEXANDRA.  Rachel had the best YEAR for all the previously stated reasons. I ADORE ZENYATTA and if she wins, it will be fine with me. She's a Treasure!!! But my vote goes to Rachel. Good Luck Rachel my Racing Goddess!!!

12 Jan 2010 7:36 PM

Zenyatta HOY. A Breeders Cup Classic for a female is far bigger than any race RA won. If you asked her connections if they would trade her Preakness win for a Classic win or her Woodward for a Classic win or any of her wins they would not think twice b4 SCREAMING YESSSSSSS. What Zenyatta did RA will never do.

12 Jan 2010 7:40 PM

Everyone who is voting for Zen. b/c she won the Classic, Who cares? She only won by a length. That race proved she was the best synthetic horse. And second, because she's undeafeted, Whoop di doo. She faced allawance horses all year long, never left California ( and don't say Rachel never went to California, that's ONE state!), ran 5 races compared to Rachel's 8, and they were all on synthetic. ( Not to mention that she should have lost in the Hirch, she's lucky she has Mike Smith). Rachel set countless records and not to mention, this is horse of the year NOT Horse of the Breeders' Cup!!!

-Rachel Alexandra wins HOY easily!!!!

12 Jan 2010 7:41 PM

The Breeders Cup did it for me.


12 Jan 2010 7:41 PM

Zenyatta gets my vote. Her Breeder's Cup was awesome. She beat the best in the world and did it easily. Rachel was also great. It will be a tough decision. Too bad they can't have raced in separate years. Both will be in the Hall of Fame.

12 Jan 2010 7:46 PM

I have to admit that I have never been a fan of horse racing until now.  Rachel Alexandra is the reason that I cannot stop watching.  I have never, ever followed horse racing ever.  Now I make sure to watch any and all of Rachel's races.

It takes a lot to impress me a Diva who is very picky and not easily won over.  Once in a lifetime rare talent is what appeals to me.  People are animals who make history their own story.  That is exactly what Rachel did.

I am so into everything Rachel that I even read every single post on here & as someone pointed out there is a clear difference in Rachels fans saying why she should win & Zenyatta's fans saying why she should win.

The argument for Rachel is based on cold hard facts repeated by numerous posters.  While the argument for Zenyatta is based on the fact of how easy it is to handle her, there will never be a horse like her because she just knows what to do & the BC.

To me it seems as if the Zenyatta fans are holding their breath and hoping that she wins based on only 1 race of the entire year.  The BC.  How is that enough to justify horse of the year?  I will speak clearly when I say there is no comparison between the 2 and no reason why it should even be debated.

Zenyatta had a wonderful career undefeated in 14 starts but as for 2009 she was undefeated in 5 starts.  A lot of people are making choices simply based on the fact that Zenyatta has been their favorite horse for a while and they also feel that she was cheated in 2008.  None of these reasons have anything to do with her deserving HOY for 2009.

Zenyatta is a great champion and a beautiful horse but her year was not even close to as impressive as Rachel Alexandra's was.  It is not Rachel's fault that Zenyatta was short changed last year.  It is not Rachel's fault that Zenyatta's owners did not take as many chances and history making races as Rachel's new owners did.

This is not a luke warm discussion.  It is either hot or cold.  Rachel had the hot year and compared to her everyone else had a cold year including Zenyatta.

I truly love both of these horses but I am not a sugar coater.  I love animals and I can see all of the sentimental reasons why Zenyatta fans want her to win without enough of anything to stand up against the brilliant record that Rachel the Great had in 2009.

The BC is not enough.  That is the only time of 2009 that she set a record in a race.  While Rachel set records all year long.  This is like denying the student with the best grade point average the chance to be the valedictorian because you have a soft spot for another student and really want them to have it when they don't deserve it.

I wish they did not have to race in the same year (2009).  But based on everything I have seen and many others as well Rachel Alexandra should by far be the Horse of the Year.  Rachel is even in the times top 10 most exciting sports moments at # 5 on the list and Zenyatta is not.  Which shows the great crossover appeal that Rachel has.  Rachel not only broke records and changed horse racing in 2009 she also brought along millions of fans many who have never been interested in horse racing like me.  I had never even heard of Zenyatta.  I heard of Rachel first and only after a few months of watching everything Rachel I finally heard of Zenyatta but that was only because Rachel pulled me in.  You would think that it would be the other way around since Zenyatta has been around longer.

2009 belongs to Rachel she is the It-Girl of horse racing and has even been featured in Vogue.

12 Jan 2010 7:51 PM

That's kind of like asking, do you want the 10 carat marquis diamond or the 10 carat oval diamond?

Do you lose either way?

I would vote for Zenyatta. Beating that field of colts at 1 1/4 for fun sealed the deal for me. I truly believe she is the better horse.

12 Jan 2010 7:59 PM

It's difficult for me to choose between both of these great horses because it will be a long time before we see their equal again. I think they're both deserving winners and for that reason, I supported the idea of Co-Horses of the Year.

Of course, that proposal wasn't considered by the powers that be.  

As another turf writer noted, Rachel had a better campaign but Zenyatta beat better horses. I assign more importance to the latter, so my vote tips toward Zenyatta.

12 Jan 2010 7:59 PM

The vote is for Horse of THIS YEAR, 2009, not 2010.  I can't imagine how even Rachel herself can top what she's done this year.  Because she's a three-year-old and beat males three times, my vote goes to Rachel.

12 Jan 2010 8:01 PM
Willie G

If one reads Zenyatta's resume it says who should be the horse of the year. Rachel was fantastic and would have been the choice if it were not for Zenyatta.Read what Zenyatta did and the answer is clear.

12 Jan 2010 8:10 PM
HOY Rachel

I think if we are going to continue compareing apples to oranges, we are wasteing our time. RA had an "Awsome 3 yo Season". Very few people, that understand what they have experienced, will ever see a 3yo filly like RA. Zenyatta, is a great athlete, RA is a horse for the ages. When folks look back 30 years from now, they wll see the "Greatest 3yo of all time, RA".

Zen is a wonderful mare! She only ran one race that got my full attention, the BC. I was on the rail, at the paddock, for the K Oaks, Haskell, and the Woodward. RA was the most imposing athlete in every case. I wonder what Zen would have been able to accomplish, as a 3yo, against the same company.

Give HOY to the best horse of that year, RA.

12 Jan 2010 8:12 PM

Zenyatta - 1st mare to win the BC since 1984.

Rachel - 1st Filly/Mare to win Woodward since 1954.

Rachel- 1st Filly to win Preakness since 1924.

Zenyatta - Race of the Year

Rachel - Horse of the Year

I must say, after the Classic, I would've voted for Zenyatta but  overall, Rachel had the better year and I don't think it was a close race.

What Rachel did as 3yo was amazing! Zenyatta, was a 5yo, at her physical peak. Rachel was definitely the Usain Bolt of the race world. Rachel was breath taking in 5 very important race. Zenyatta had one awesome race and 4 good ones.

Zenyatta, all time great race horse. Rachel hoy and potential all time great.

12 Jan 2010 8:12 PM

Rachel Alexandra should be HOY because she did more and ran very well at different tracks, against better foes overall. Her 3 year old campaign is simply amazing. I believe she won 5 grade 1 races in a row (3 against males).

12 Jan 2010 8:13 PM

My vote is for Zenyatta.  The HOY award was up for grabs between the two before the BC, and Zenyatta went out and beat the best in the world, while Jess Jackson left Rachel standing in the stable.  No reason that Rachel couldn't have been out there and ended this debate for us, but thanks to Jess, we will never know.  Got to go with the horse that actually raced.

12 Jan 2010 8:16 PM
The Aspiring Horseplayer

Had the pleasure to see these wonderful ladies live this year, watching Rachel run to glory in the Preakness, Mother Goose, and Haskell, and then being at Santa Anita for the big one from Zenyatta.

I'll keep this simple, as I've been saying it for months...

To make me chose between these two, you'd have to strap me between a chair, a la Deniro in the infamous Russian Roulette scene in The Deer Hunter.  Additionally, you'd have to repeatedly smack me in the face and yell "MAO!!!!"

THEN, and only then, would I ever select a "winner" and a "loser" from amongst these two.

Neither deserves to "lose" anything, even if only an award they will never even understand they have won/lost.

Just as neither deserves to "win" over the other in anything other than a test of wills on the race track.

That being said, and assuming you do have me tied to a chair, yelling "MAO!!" whilst slapping me (repeatedly) and demanding I select...

I'd go with Zenyatta.

Rachel had the stronger year, I'll give you that for sure - but Zenyatta won the stronger race, and in the process became the first of her kind to do so.  The fact that she retires an undefeated mare cannot be underscored either.

While I know it's not a "lifetime achievment" award, I thought Zenyatta's moment in the Classic dwarfed the others.

We're lucky to have had them both this year, and here's hoping Rachel has her career defining campaign ahead of her still. She'll become a legend if she does.

In the end - two wonderful horses...and please remember the duress under which I claim I'd need to be in order to make such a choice.

12 Jan 2010 8:18 PM

We all know the stats,maybe this years vote should be from the heart,both the fillys have shown us how big their hearts are!

12 Jan 2010 8:19 PM

Zenyatta.  How important is one race? Lady's Secret and Azeri both showed up to the big dance.  In fact, Zenyatta won many of the same races that Azeri did her 4 year old HOY year plus did something that Azeri did not do which is beat the boys in the Breeder's Cup Classic at 1 1/4.  Azeri beat no males.  The question is indeed how important is one race?

12 Jan 2010 8:20 PM

ZENYATTA--since others who were for RA said these things about Z let me add to or correct some notions. To those who say they don't understand somesone saying RA can win it next year--we didn't understand it last year when us Z fans were told same thing re:Curlin. Those who keep saying it is just this year to take into acct seem to forget how at end of last year Curlin's CAREER records were taken into acct-owner even published letter here reminding all of his CAREER records. Those who think synthetics are easier--then why don't dirt horses just fly over them like a lot of syns racehorses do to dirt and to the one who said syns Z's best surface-want to bet? She has owners who live there and make money there and wow they support their state's racing. To anyone who comes up with the conclusion Zenyatta didn't race against Life is Sweet at her best-huh?? Actually it proves to most that Zenyatta is even better for the comparison. And the latest argument of RA was tired so it was right not to go to BC-uuum since it was announced in June or so that under no circumstances would RA be allowed to go to BC, of course they ran a very different campaign than if she was going--in other words they would have raced RA in ways that kept her fresh and prepped for BC--she didn't get tired and THEN they decided she wouldn't go--nope it was announced she wouldn't go and then they raced her until she was tired. Love RA but never seen one like Zenyatta!!

12 Jan 2010 8:23 PM
Paula Higgins

Zenyatta is Horse of the Decade and Rachel is HOTY.

12 Jan 2010 8:26 PM

They're both beautiful and worthy of HOY, but my lean is to Rachel--multiple tracks, wins in all kinds of conditions, etc. etc.  While I don't want to discount the BC Classic as a great race, in any year to win, I see and hear comments about HOY and get concerned that, if everything else were equal, some of these folks would vote for a horse who won the BC Classic, and vote down a horse who had won the Triple Crown in the same year--very sad.  It could happen in the future; you never know!  And, a comment in support of Jess Jackson.  I know he gets a lot of jabs, but think about it:  Had he not bought Rachel, we would never have witnessed her greatness this year.  What a loss that would have been for all of us.  Thanks, Jess!  

12 Jan 2010 8:39 PM

Zenyatta all the way. She proved her self by easily romping home in the breeder's cup classic. I honestly think she has never been full out tested. She goes sooo easily in every race and looks like she could do it again after she's finished. She beat the Best of the Best in the Breeder's Cup Classic. I believe she also should have had HOY last year, but her HOY is well overdue. She has more than earned it in every way. Rachel has another year at a crack at. Zenyatta had to wait another year, so why shouldn't Rachel?

12 Jan 2010 8:42 PM

Rachel Alexandra FOREVER! I love Zenyatta but I love Rachel just a little bit more. I mean Zenyatta is cool and all but Rachel won the preakness stakes that is a big race and she is the best. Zenyatta is an old lady compared to Rachel and she has a chance at becoming a good brood mare her time is passed now its Rachels turn. Zenyatta had her chance and she did good but Rachel needs her turn she is in her prime and Zenyatta is going to be a good mommy but nothing more.

12 Jan 2010 8:44 PM
Horse Fan

Zenyatta all the way!!

She is the reason why we love the sport of Horse Racing.  Ones like her don't come around very often, so lets enjoy her and give her what she deserves - Horse of the Year.  She is perfection!! And, we may not see another one like her.  She beat the best with EASE!!!

12 Jan 2010 8:50 PM
Backside Sweetie

ZENYATTA/The Queen all the way!!! I HAVE FOLLOWED HER SINCE THE BEGINNING OF HER CAREER,AND SHE HAS NEVER DISAPOINTED ME.Not since following Secretariat or Cigar,have I been so into or excited and entertained by a horse,that is that I haven't had a personal relationship with.She is a people horse,she loves the crowd and she enjoys what she does and she knows she is the best thus why she dances.To me she already is horse of the year and she should have been last year!I will miss her.I enjoy Rachel but as others have said she should be best 3 yr old.

12 Jan 2010 8:51 PM

The title may be tight for HOY, but the race Zenyatta ran in the Classic was a race for the ages.  She will be the legend they make movies about in years to come.  

12 Jan 2010 8:54 PM

It should be pointed out that RA never won at the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles and dodged Zenyatta in the Classic.

12 Jan 2010 8:56 PM

Rachel gets the nod.

She ran a her three year old career lke a true champion filly .

Clearly the best and toughest year.

While Zenyatta is spectacular as well, she ran on her favorite oourse which no doubt is similar to grass.

Just ask Mr Gosden.

12 Jan 2010 9:14 PM

I love both horses! I think they are both great for the sport and how often are the mares center of attention in racing. Since there isnt likely to be a tie, I have to go with Zenyatta. She is so captivating in everything she does. She demands attention and you never want to look away. Not to mention how dominating she was in all of her races. She wasnt even trying and you could tell she loved racing. She went undefeated and beat the boys. She has heart and class!

12 Jan 2010 9:16 PM

rachel had an outstanding campaign this year.8 races..3 against the boys..a 20 length victory in the oaks.she also broke track records.she won the preakness from the #13 hole while battling colts the whole vote goes to her.

zenyatta's win in the breeders cup was fantastic! her other races this year while good i did not consider records broken and she never left the comfort of cally to race.her limited amount of races this year do not add up to eight.

i would love for them both to win it but if we are looking at this year's racing rachel gets it!

12 Jan 2010 9:19 PM

The  world's handicappers rate Zenyatta ahead of Rachel Alexander (final WTR rankings issued today).

The NTRA rates Zenyatta ahead of Rachel Alexander (their final NTRA poll).

The Associated Press rates Z ahead of RA (Female Athlete of the Year for 2009).

Horse racing fans from around the world rate Z ahead of RA (Thoroughbred Times poll of 29 countries).

Europeans rate Z ahead of RA (Jour de Galop).

Cyberspace surfers rate Z ahead of RA (Facebook all time leader ahead of Sea The Stars, Seabiscuit, and Secretariat-RA is fourth).

The betting public rates Z ahead of RA (Daily Racing Form).

The horse racing fans in America rates Z ahead of RA (Bloodhorse, Horseracinginsider, the Sporting News, CBSSports, Chicago Tribune).

Have I left out anything. Oh, yeah, the turf writers from the east.

Oh, well. So much for democracy.

12 Jan 2010 9:20 PM

Zenyatta has my vote - She is the total Thoroughbred!  A fierce courageous competitor who is stunningly beautiful with a smile in those intelligent brown eyes.  She has a style and personality that is unique to her alone.  She is a big girl and once she gets rolling watch out!

As stated in the World Thoroughbred Rankings article: 'The French filly Zarkava, the Irish colt Sea The Stars and the American mare Zenyatta were all unbeaten in their main racing seasons, winning their races in the same trademark fashion regardless of the class of opposition and in the process clearly demonstrating their superiority in each race they ran in but equally never appearing to be "all out" in victory with their true extent of their superiority not reflected in their winning margin, but rather remaining a matter of speculation."

For whatever reason, it is unfortunate that Sea The Stars and Rachel did not make it to the Breeder's Cup Classic - if winning on synthetics is 'so easy' they should have been there.  

The WTR also rightly made the point that Zenyatta was "seriously disrespected" here - until the Classic when she blew them all away!

All Hail Zenyatta!

12 Jan 2010 9:35 PM

Zenyatta gets my vote.  She won the Breeder's Cup Classic.  That has always been the race to decide the best no matter where it is held.  If and I say a big if, Rachel runs and wins in the classic next year are the same people going to discount a Classic win like they are doing  this year?  I don't think so.  

12 Jan 2010 9:42 PM

Zenyatta.  Whatever anyone has to say about anything she was/is the best horse this year.

12 Jan 2010 9:48 PM

Zenyatta - a horse so superior she is in a class all her own.

“There is a type of racehorse, which has been especially prevalent of late, who may not be fortunate enough to be part of a vintage crop of horses or who, because of their minimalist nature, will not win in extravagant fashion as Shergar did but rather will do no more than necessary to win the horserace they are involved in,” O’Gorman said.

“We are especially lucky to have seen and marveled at a number of exceptional horses recently who fall within this category. The French filly Zarkava , the Irish colt Sea the Stars, and the American mare Zenyatta were all unbeaten in their main racing seasons, winning their races in the same trademark fashion regardless of the class of opposition and in the process clearly demonstrating their superiority in each race they ran in but equally never appearing to be ‘all out’ in victory with their true extent of their superiority not reflected in the winning margin but rather remaining a matter of speculation.

“Handicappers can quantify the ability of an extravagant winner who ‘shows his hand’ and equally a horse who is ‘all out’ in victory but the winner who keeps something in reserve is far more problematic.

“Handicappers are understandably intent, within reason, on rating a champion racehorse on what he has actually achieved not on what he could, should or would have done if the opposition had been better, if he had chosen to extend himself and show his full ability etc, etc.”

O’Gorman argued that it would have been illuminating if Sea The Stars had stayed in training for the Breeders’ Cup and taken on Zenyatta in the Classic.

“We have had some exceptional horses in 2009 and 2008 and if they had taken each other on then they could have pushed themselves to new heights. The ratings are what these horses achieved, they are not a reflection of their inherent ability. There is no real way of knowing how Zenyatta would done against Sea The Stars.

“We cannot even accurately compare horses in the current generation like Zenyatta and Sea The Stars; they have never met. If they had met, we might know more. Now we will never know.” 1/12/09

12 Jan 2010 10:04 PM
The Z Girl

Zenyatta!  RA is a good filly, but Zenyatta is a truly great horse.  She won with 129 pounds, beat the best males in the country and some from Europe in the biggest race of the year while running at the Classic distance of a 1 1/4. Rachel didn't do those things this year nor do I expect her to do them next year.

12 Jan 2010 10:06 PM
Bob Z

Rachel Alexandra...  

She beat everybody that showed up to race against her...

More wins, done more convincingly, at speed with fast paces, challenged at multiple times in races by different horses...

12 Jan 2010 10:14 PM
John T

My vote goes to Zenyatta,not only

for recording an historic first victory for females in the Breeders

Cup Classic,but there was a point in the race were you just had to say she can,t possibly win from there but she did.She has been an impressive winner on dirt before and there is no reason not to believe her trainer when he says she acts better on it.

12 Jan 2010 10:16 PM

The two most important races in North America are teh Breeders Cup Classic and the Kentucky Derby. Since neither ran in the derby the Classic should be the baramoter. Since Zenyatta won the Classic beating the best in the world both male and female the it is a no brainer Zenyatta is the best horse in North America.

12 Jan 2010 10:29 PM

RACHEL ALEXANDRA! Breeders Cup was supposed to be a dirt race.

ZENYATTA won all her big races

in ARTIFICIAL tracks. Owners would not have run her if the BC were held in DIRT track.

Also RACHEL was a 3 year old. That should count heavily on her favour.

12 Jan 2010 10:31 PM

I feel that RA should be horse of the year because she has raced at many different tracks and Zen really started the year late.

Granted she ended it very well I still feel that RA gets my nod.

12 Jan 2010 10:42 PM
Linda O.

What a tough decision to make.  They are both amazing girls.  To watch each of them race this year has been so exciting.  They have such different running styles - Rachel staying in front the whole way and Zenyatta coming from the back and closing like a freight train! I will be thrilled to see either one win, but my vote goes to Zenyatta.  Since she is retiring this year she will not get another opportunity.  As amazing as Rachel is, I am sure she will have a fantastic 2010 and will hopefully win Horse of the Year next year.  I would love to see her run against the boys in the BC Classic in November!

12 Jan 2010 10:44 PM

I think they should be co-HOY, but that isn't going to happen, so my vote is for Rachel.  She demolished the fillies and beat the boys in three Grade 1's, ran on different tracks, and is only a three-year-old.  Give Zenyatta her due, she is spectacular and beat the boys in the BC.  RACHEL didn't dodge anyone, she raced wherever her connections sent her as a 3-year-old.  Rachel and Zenyatta - these two sure did give us one fantastic, exciting year of racing that I'll not soon forget.  I love them both but RA gets my vote.

12 Jan 2010 10:46 PM

My vote is for ZENYATTA! I was there at the Classic and it was a magical moment. Regardless of what happens with the HOY vote, Zenyatta is a World Champion and no one can ever take that away from her, EVER! RA had a great year but she can't be called a World Champion (at least not yet).

12 Jan 2010 10:47 PM

raichel alexsandra!!!!!zenyata is very cool but RA fought every batlle hard.And BC Classic is bigest race of the year but this year it fell a part,average turf horses were second and third

12 Jan 2010 10:56 PM

This is so huge, I think we are  in agreement that these are two of the greatest females who have ever touched a racetrack. I have to go with Rachel, but I still wish it could be shared by both.

12 Jan 2010 10:57 PM

Both have accomplished a lot. Z mainly stayed on the syntheitics. She did beat other Grade I mares and faced the boys once(BCC) which were other Grade I winners. But that one race should not determine HOY. She has an awesome closing kick.

RA has done a lot for her 3 yr old season. She faced the boys 3 times. She went around to different tracks(different states) ran on fast, slop etc... Her competition was a little less than Z's though.

Both are undefeated last season.

This is a hard one but I am leaning more for RA.  I would have liked for her owners(Z) to have taken her outside CA way more and would have liked J.J to have raced RA on Synthetics. Both horses have one on each once.

12 Jan 2010 11:05 PM
Leila Mohseni

Rachel Alexandra is my vote. No doubt about it.

She is truly HOTY deserving.

Thanks to The Blood Horse for posting a poll on which to vote!

12 Jan 2010 11:07 PM

Dirt is harder on a horse and RA dug down deep and proved she could do it.

12 Jan 2010 11:11 PM

Rachel's body of work as a whole was the most impressive of any thoroughbred in 2009.  Noteworthy is that she beat colts- OLDER COLTS, as a THREE YEAR OLD!  That a 3 year old filly could do that is astounding.  She won all her starts all over different tracks, in the slop, on short rest, and beat a wider quality of horses over the course of the year- all as a 3 year old filly.  

12 Jan 2010 11:18 PM

Well isn't this just cool. Who would of thought that we'd see HOY being competed by TWO gals.  Man, what a gift to racing.  Never thought I'd see what they both accomplished in my lifetime but in the same  I have my opinion and my favorite, which I will keep to myself, but in the end the title isn't what does it for me.  Regardless of who is awarded HOY The individual accomplishments speak for themselves and will be definitely be legend in the racing world for a long time to come.

12 Jan 2010 11:18 PM

Zenyatta has to be it.  Look at the facts, she won at the classic distance, never had to give it her all to win (at least, never looked like it), beat every horse that she had in front of her and did so with style.  Zenyatta ran against quality horses in her races and stepped out of her comfort zone by going against the boys and at 1 1/4 miles and impressed the world.  She is the stuff they make movies about.  I wish I had a vote that counted for HOTY!

12 Jan 2010 11:26 PM
DS in Nevada

The world rankings got it right.  It's a shame that one of these great racehorses will probably lose this honor, but it will be a crime if one of them loses.  I did not receive a bottle or case of wine, but if I had I would still vote for Zenyatta.  At the classic distance, there is no doubt in my mind that she would have passed Rachel as she passed all the others, on synthetic or dirt (her better surface), and made it look effortless.  Let's do the right thing for the sport, vote them co-HOY or vote Zenyatta.

12 Jan 2010 11:33 PM

Although both horses are great, especially being the only two-and female!-for Horse of the Year, there can only be one winner. Zenyatta is great-undefeated!-but did not take on the challenges as Rachel did except in the BC Classic. Rachel's owners were more gutsy with entering her in a more variety of races than Zenyatta's owners. But remember, the horses did not choose what races to run in but I think Rachel got to prove her stuff better than Zenyatta got to. Does this deminish Zenyatta's efforts? Of course not. I would be just as proud to own one over the other and both will bring great backgrounds to breeding and future babies. That is where these great females really prove themselves. Good luck to both horses!

12 Jan 2010 11:34 PM

I wish Rachel would've ran in the BC Classic with Zenyatta. Would that be a new "race of the century"? YES, YES, YES! This is one thing the world will never know with Zenyatta considered as retired and Rachel moving on to a new year of racing.

12 Jan 2010 11:38 PM

It's simple.  Zenyatta is unbeaten.  Rachel has another chance, but this is the last to show Zenyatta and her connections how much she is appreciated.  Rachel is great, but nobody knows how good Zenyatta is.  She was never beaten, and rarely pushed. She is unbeaten, and that says something.  Besides nobody puts on a show like Zenyatta.  She's a mare for a lifetime, and I am going to miss her.  It would be nice if bloodhorse would keep us up to date on her so she doesn't disappear.  It's good for racing.  

12 Jan 2010 11:50 PM

alxeandera my hoy

8&83yrs old east racing dirt tracks old dirt ruffian my hero

13 Jan 2010 12:16 AM
Barry Irwin

I give the nod to Rachel because she achieved her results on dirt, a surface that requires power. Zenyatta achieved her wins on all weather surfaces that are play like turf. In my time, I have seen other fillies and mares as good on turf as Zenyatta is on synthetics. But I have never seen any filly or mare, let alone one at 3, do what Rachel has done on dirt. She is not only Horse of the Year, but filly of the last 100-plus years. Racing people that have a sense of history know what I am talking about. Trainers know what I am talking about.

13 Jan 2010 12:22 AM

I can`t vote against either...they`re both fantastic. Personally I do like Rachel better, but for personal reasons (I love her looks, tomboyish attitude, guts, and her jockey Calvin is awsome), but I must vote unpersonally. They both ran great in 2009 and they`ve both given me insane thrills. They`ve both done extraordinary things and done things no other horse has done.

13 Jan 2010 12:31 AM

People are so quick to point out that Rachel dodged Zenyatta & she never won @ a classic distance and I say so what.  Zenyatta scratched at a race that she and Rachel both could have been in but I don't see Rachel Alexandra fans constantly throwing that up in Zenyatta's fans faces.  I am more than sure that whom ever would be riding Rachel at the time would run her according to the distance so that really does not have a leg at all to stand on.

I strongly feel that the reason this is constantly mentioned is because there really is nothing that can be taken away from from Rachel Alexandra the Great.  Everyone knows how incredible her 2009 campaign was everyone.  It is known by anyone who is a racing fan and anyone who is not who understands history that 2009 will be remembered most because of Rachel Alexandra.

People need to realize what is really going on here.  Zenyatta was 5 in 2009 and Rachel was 3.  That alone tells you how impressive it is that a 3 year old can break and set records in almost every single race that she ran in.  Results like that do not come by often.  Every trainer or horse owner wants a horse like that who can accomplish historic record setting victories this early in their career.

The BC is a fairly new race in the horse racing world and to me knowing that some races have been around since the 1800s, I do not think that it is worthy enough to be compared to those legendary races.

These are both innocent, graceful horses who are doing what they were trained to do, very well.  It is hard not to love both of them because they are not even aware of all of the hoop-la swirling around them.  Funny thing is that they both could care less.  We are the ones making the fuss over them.

But if I am going to vote for either one of these beautiful horses I am voting for the one who impressed me most in 2009 and that is Rachel Alexandra.

13 Jan 2010 12:32 AM


1) Won more Grade 1 races

2) Won on more tracks

3) Won in more states

4) Won against males more often

5) Broke more stakes records for time

6) Broke more stakes records for winning margin

7) Came within a second of the track record TWICE

8) Consistently had higher beyer ratings

9) Distinguished herself more times: (only horse to win Preakness from 13th post, only female to win Woodward, highest Beyer speed rating in North America, only 3 year old female to have the kind of campaign she had)

10) Ran on dirt - the preferred surface of horse racing.

In reading HOY articles all over the net, I noticed that about 80% of turf writers will agree that Rachel Alexandra earned HOY for 2009.

Zenyatta is a great horse for 2008 and 2009, but since we are only considering 2009: It's Rachel.

13 Jan 2010 12:33 AM

Zenyatta is Horse of the Year. 2 years, 14 start, 14 wins. Yes Rachel had 8 starts and won them all while Zenyatta raced only 5 times this season. Rachels 3 wins vs males were excellent, but Zenyatta took on one of the most talented fields ever in the BC Clssic and ran away from them becoming the 1st female winner of the race. Rachel never met this deep a field and Rachel has never raced at the American classic distance of 1 1/4 mi, remember this East Coast voters. The farthest Pachel has run is 1 3/16 and she would have lost had the race gone 100 yds further. Zenyatta took on 1 champion after another coming from dead last and drew off. Until Rachel runs and wins at a 1 1/4 mi Zenyatta is Horse of the Year. If Rachel is as great as her supporters state she is, let her have her 4yo season,

go undefeated and end with a victory at a 1 1/4 mi in the BC Classic at Churchill Downs. This year belongs to Zenyatta.

13 Jan 2010 1:00 AM

The WTR ratings are not about campaigns or seasons. . . unlike HOY.

13 Jan 2010 1:21 AM

Zenyatta-she beat all the horses RA did-pulling away.  

13 Jan 2010 1:57 AM

Zenyatta, of course.

Unbeaten and Breeders Cup Classic winner. Doesn't matter what Rachael has done or will ever do, she will never be able to accomplish those two feats. Rachael will never win against the likes of the BC Classic runners at 1 1/4, maybe against lesser quality colts but not the same type as Zenyatta. Does anyone honestly believe Rachael could have beaten Gio Ponti this past year at 1 1/4?  Rachael is a great filly and had a truly wonderful year but my friends, Zenyattas' was one for the ages. U_N_B_E_L_I_E_V_E_A_B_L_E!!!!!!!!!!!

13 Jan 2010 2:22 AM

My vote goes to the queen, Zenyatta. She beat the best colts on the planet at the classic distance of a mile and a quarter. That is the standard for every great race horse we have ever loved, to be able to win and dominate at a mile and a quarter.

Before the next 5 or 10 years pass, folks will be saying that Queen Zen was one of the all time greats.............

13 Jan 2010 2:37 AM

Zenyatta won the BC Classic, the world championship (arguable), but can we say with absoluteness, it stamped her as the best horse in the world? If we're not convinced, maybe due to some doubt caused by Sea the Stars or Goldikova even, can we use the BC Classic as the tipping point for Zenyatta?  This is one year that is extremely rare, not two horses, but two female horses that are potentially the greatest in the history of the sport. To me, there will never be another Secretariat on the male side. However, for females, Zenyatta & Rachel are clearly in Ruffian territory (notwithstanding Personal Ensign, Lady's Secret...)if not in Big Red's neighborhood.  Zenyatta capped off an amazing career undefeated. We can't help but consider her past. Rachel, her year was absolutely mind blowing! To go beyond just this year, we consider races prior to 2009 with Zenyatta.  With Rachel, we are left to ponder what awaits us beyond 2009. I'm at a loss to describe what COULD be since we haven't seen Rachel's best. She IS STILL a babe. That's scary! Zenyatta? Can anyone say we've seen her best? Wow!!! This is the rarest of years in the history of horse racing that might not happen again. Horse of the year??? IT'S TIME TO MAKE THE RAREST OF EXCEPTIONS.........BOTH!!!

13 Jan 2010 2:52 AM
Gayle M.

My vote goes to Zenyatta.  I love Rachel,  but the Breeders Cup Championship Races are just that.  The Championship Races.   Our champions should come from these races.  Otherwise they are just races and mean nothing. The Best of the Best from around the world, come to these races.  Zenyatta deserves the eclipse award.  congratulations Zenyatta and to the Mosses and all connected to her, on her spectacular win in the Classic.

13 Jan 2010 3:20 AM

Well! No gettin around it, it has been a filly yr.  I do'nt get into numbers but I do get into the facts for the most part. The facts have been mention already. We all know them if we are anywhere near attentive to racing at all.  I would like to throw out one idea. Front running is hard to do. Rachel did that in most of her 8 races.  To stay up with the  pacesetter an win is grueling in my book, havin been a half miler an miler in my youth. I was a come from behinder runner in my day an it is also grueling cause you have to hit the burst of speed at the right time or you loose it all at the finish.  Zenyatta was awesome, no doubt about it an thnks to the jockey she was able to be let go at the right time.  Sooooooo even though Zenyatta is awesome, I go with Rachel for her ability to stay with the pace an still win. Take it or leave it.  Fun no matter what! Love horses since I was a lil' boy!

13 Jan 2010 3:25 AM

HOY should go to Zenyatta.  RA did great, don't get me wrong.  And we have had a wonderful wonderful year of racing.  Two outstanding fillies.

But here is my reason for picking Zenyatta.  You may not have seen how fractious she was on race day behind the gate.  ESPN didn't show this.  However, TVG did show a postrace show and she was about to come uncorked.  She was leaping forward with her front feet--like a half rear the whole way across the track.

Of course we all know about QR.  And thank God that fabulous gate crewman not only caught QR but had the guts to hang on.

Zenyatta had to load twice.  Very upsetting to her.  Then she got off on the wrong lead and fell way behind.  That last quarter was insane.  I swear I don't think I've ever seen a horse run faster--including Secretariat!  She got free and took off.  Zenyatta knew what she had to do and did it with grace and great poise.  Faster and faster she ran with huge strides.

My God I thought when they were coming around that turn it was over for her.  I couldn't see how she was going to break free much less have time to make the lead.  But she did.

The only sad part about that fabulous race was the man that was shouting obscenties that were heard on ESPN.  Really un-necessary.

13 Jan 2010 5:04 AM

I give the nod to Rachel as she has raced on various tracks. Both are equally good in their own rights.

13 Jan 2010 5:48 AM

My choice for the Eclipse Horse of The Year Award, drum roll please!!!


Look at the consistant fields of G1

races she's won. Her entire 2009 campaign, 8 Major Wins, 7 different tracks. Oh, and who won the Kentucky Oaks? Who won the Mother Goose?

That Record Breaking Filly!!!


It would be kinda tough to make a decision if she stayed put and mostly raced against and beat the same fillies all year long.

But that's not the case here.

Don't get me wrong. Zenyatta is without a doubt, one fine filly!!!

But I have to go with the Consistant Boy Beater!!!

RACHEL (the babe) ALEXANDRA!!!

13 Jan 2010 5:53 AM
Rachel fan

Rachel is my pick. I am also a zenyatta fan. But rachel raced at several track's and surfaces. Ran against the boy's more than once. The boy's she beat she beat them worse than zenyatta, in diffrent senarios with rabbit's put in to tire her and still she won. She faced way more heat from competition through out the year. They where gunning for her while the other had it easy till one final try at the boy's, which was all in her favor. Rachel did everything the hard way. her owner was currect for not running her on a track that favor's turf runner's. She faced harder competition all year long and for a young filly it is much harder to do than a seasoned and pampered older mare.

13 Jan 2010 6:01 AM
Kansas Race Fan

Zenyatta!!!! All you RA supporters say Zen had a cake walk season and only ran one race but I want to point out that in these races she was alway at a pace disadvantage with no speed to run at and still managed to find the wire first. She also carried 129lbs how many horses can say that now a days. RA never carried that much weight, she also never went the true classic distance either. Zenyatta did and beat best BCC field assembled in the last several years and she did it without really taking a deep breath. RA can't say that she was all out to beat MTB and Macho Again, at 1 1/4 RA would lose to Zenyatta. Number of races and stats are not everything and Zenyatta's preformance in the BCC is going to be remembered much much longer than any of RA's to date.

13 Jan 2010 6:12 AM

Both are HOTY. There is no way to choose one and not cheat the other. Both are deserving and both should wear the crown.

13 Jan 2010 6:58 AM

She raced more times,won all on more tracks and beat the boys 3 times,case closed Rachel it is.Zenyatta was devastating in the BC classic but her other wins don't compare.

13 Jan 2010 7:46 AM

Rachel deserves HOY, she raced 8 times at different tracks,no matter what the condition of track was, destroyed other females she raced against, beat the boys 3 times. Remember one race does not make a champion, the whole year is what should be voted on.Rachel should be HOY hands down.

13 Jan 2010 8:01 AM
LouAnn Cingel

Zenyatta is one of those horses that just keeps on going and keeps on winning and still asks for more.  What else can be said that hasn't already been said about this magnificent horse:


13 Jan 2010 8:08 AM


Using a baseball analogy, you do not become World Series Champ by staying in the dugout, even if you win the other 169 games in the regular season and playoffs.

13 Jan 2010 8:20 AM

Rachel had the best year in NORTH AMERICA! Period....who really cares how the WTR ranks horses....IT never has mattered in previous years why should it matter now. This is just people trying to justify picking Zenyatta over the Classic she beat very good DIRT horses on synthetic.....and VERY GOOD TURF horses on SYNTHETIC. She did not beat anyone on their best surface. YOU people are killing me. GIO PONTI beat summer bird .....I bet my paycheck summer bird would kick GIO Pontis butt on the DIRT. RACHEL beat the BEST Dirt horses on THEIR best surfaces.

And second ....when you talk about Mares and Colts...Zenyatta was older than most of the field in the Classic. She is a full grown mare and bigger than most of them. Also she still got the 3 pound allowance in the race. So the playing field was slightly tilted in in her favor. Nevermind that she had won over that track multiple times.

13 Jan 2010 8:26 AM

In the 63 years I've been in the business, during which I have galloped, seen and witnessed some of the best fillies, mares, geldings and colts in the world, I find that what Zenyatta has accomplished in her three years of racing demonstrates that she is  one of the finest, if not the finest, mares I have ever seen.  In addition to my experience, my opinion is based on the fact that she was able to show her best despite her come-from-behind running style, which always subjected her to whatever pace was dictated on the front end.  In spite of attempts by the opposition to defeat her, she has overcome these attempts at pace manipulation, to win.  Despite difficulties at the starting gate and delay of the race, as well as a field of the finest male horses in the world and her first attempt at the 1-1/4 mile distance, she overcame these obstacles with something left in reserve in the BC Classic.  It's a shame that this controversy should even exist with an animal two years her junior who has yet to prove, in my estimation, the same greatness.  The 2009 BC Classic was the finest achievement by a mare on any level.  Good luck, Zenyatta, on the second half of your incomparable career.

13 Jan 2010 8:29 AM

Zenyatta should be horse of the year.  She has never lost a race, and beat the best of the best in the Breeders Cup.

13 Jan 2010 8:33 AM
Donna in Canada

Zenyatta.  Horse of the Year goes to the best horse that year.  Has any other Horse of the Year never run the Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles?

Zenyatta was never asked for her best.  She's the champ!

13 Jan 2010 8:45 AM

Step back from your heart (because a lot of people are commenting from the heart and not the head).

Zenyatta never left her home state. Never trained anywhere else. Never ran anywhere else.

The true test of a champion isn't beating the same group over and over again on the same track. Yes, Zenyatta won the BC Classic...but looking at the was pretty suspect. Rachel Alexandra ran across the country, against her demographic and then against boys and then against older boys...all the while victorious.

The test of a champion isn't just crossing under the wire first. It's showing you can overcome. Rachel had an answer for everything that was thrown at her. Everything from wicked splits to off tracks to travel.

Zenyatta just won.  Yeah, that's nice...but she never passed an impressive test.

Rachel Alexandra is Horse of the Year.

13 Jan 2010 9:03 AM

Yes, many times...

Azeri was the last horse to win HOTY and she had yet to run for 10 furlongs in her career. She later tried it in 2004, but when she won the award she had not attempted the distance.

Favorite Trick in 1997 won HOTY and had yet to try 10 furlongs as well.

Lady's Secret won the award in 1986 and never attempted 10 furlongs.

Secretariat won it as a 2 year old and had yet to try 10 furlongs.

Native Dancer won the award in 1954 having only won an allowance race and the Met Mile...

Etc. etc.

13 Jan 2010 9:15 AM

Zenyatta did not compete outside of California.  Horse of the Year needs to be a horse that has the best overall resume.  Zenyatta traveled to Kentucky and was to compete on the undercard of the Oaks but scratched because the track conditions were not to her connections liking.  That track was not bad and Rachel showed later that afternoon that she could run on any surface by destroying the field in the Oaks.  For me...that day is the tie breaker.  Rachel should be Horse of the Year.

13 Jan 2010 9:18 AM


13 Jan 2010 9:19 AM

Due to the fact that there are no official guidelines as to what constitutes "Horse of the Year" these are the factors I considered: races won, records attained, competition defeated, historic accomplishments, and how the sport benefited from each horse.  

Without going into race details that we already know, up until the Breeders' Cup Rachel was first in my book and Zenyatta was second.  After the Breeders' Cup it became a dead heat for Horse of the Year and I couldn't pick one over the other based on performances alone.  They were both spectacular.  The only way I can possibly choose one is when I consider my final requirement for Horse of the Year... which horse did more for the sport?

In short, Zenyatta was the heroine of racing in 2009.  She brought more passion to the sport than it has seen in years and that is what makes her the most deserving candidate in my eyes.

13 Jan 2010 9:24 AM

I beleave both Zynatta and Rachel Alexandra should go to the winners circle. I am a former jockey,in racing there are "dead heats" now we know there is always one of the horses in a "dead heat" that is in front of the other horse. It's mathematically impossible for them to be right on the wire together.  The judges examin  the photo and by that they make the call. That is all they have to go by. So if the people who make this call have to examin the two horses race records this past 2009, what it ment to the fans and racing. This is a "dead heat" if ever there was a true "dead heat"

13 Jan 2010 9:26 AM
Don in Massachusetts

First of all, I think that the racing industry seriously missed the chance to make history by refusing to allow voters a Co-Horses of the Year option.  Had they done so, it would have been the first time 2 great females would have been selected and history would have forever shown what a unbelievable year 2009 was in Thoroughbred racing; and future generations could rightly envy us for being alive to witness their achievements!

Both Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra are indeed exceptional horses, and I am very happy and grateful to be alive to have witnessed their historic accomplishments.

If I had a vote, I would vote for Rachel Alexandra based on her 2009 record alone, not last year, nor on what the future will bring.  To state that Rachel always has 2010 is totally disingenuous and unfair.

Her 2009 record is HOY material!

That being said, I will not be disappointed if either female wins.

What a fantastic year we all experienced!!

13 Jan 2010 9:41 AM

WOW- I have never seen this much controversy regarding horse of the year, and- it is heart felt - no matter whose camp your in. I am soooo glad that these two horses were in the same year, as it has stoked the racing industry and revitilized the sport.  

13 Jan 2010 9:42 AM

The outcome from all of this will be "It's all Zenyatta"

13 Jan 2010 9:52 AM

The award is for horse of the YEAR. We're all racing fans here, and there's no need to state their records. Rachel Alexandra should be horse of the year based on her accomplishments in 2009.

13 Jan 2010 10:09 AM

If you take emotion out of this and stop discussing this as the accomplishments of two female horses, Zenyatta wins HOY.  She won the big dance, against the best horses in the country.  She was undefeated in competition this year (since this is a 2009 award, the fact that her overall record is perfect shouldn't factor in) and the manner in which she won was very convincing.  She never appeared to be all-out to win, even though she had to come from off the pace to do it.  RA is a champion, for sure, but just not as impressive.

13 Jan 2010 10:10 AM

I've called it a dead heat since this argument started...both are that great...but their racing styles and surfaces are very different.  Apples and oranges!

I've been amazed by Rachel's accomplishments, by her courage and heart.  I've been awed by Zenyatta's accomplishments, by her style and stamina.  I've been leaning, since I must choose one, toward Zenyatta, not because she won the Classic, but by the way she won the Classic...and all her other races......with ease...

..always ready to go around the track again.  Maybe it's because she can dance....I don't know.  I just know that I love them both, appreciate them both, and am  thrilled with the girl power this year.  Long live the Queens of the 2009 season.  I will always feel most fortunate to have witnessed their fantastic triumphs.

13 Jan 2010 10:15 AM

Only One Horse of the Year, Zenyatta.  It's her second undefeated year.  She went to the Classic and made history!

13 Jan 2010 10:25 AM
Phony JJ

~~~~~~THE WORLD FAMOUS~~~~~~



13 Jan 2010 10:27 AM
Ack Ack

Kansas Race Fan:

Zenyatta is a five year old mare...she stands 17 hands tall...and you are trying to suggest that Rachel Alexandra carry the same weight that she carry...when Zenyatta trounces these fields...the weight is assigned based upon the competitiveness of the field...her carrying 129 pounds is impressive...but how weak could the field be if she is assigned that much weight to equal things out and she still wins. She set a stakes record in the race the previous year which is why she got the high impost.

And whatsamattatoyou...

The HOTY award is not a career award...its an annual award...Zenyatta's first nine races were raced in 2007 and 2008...only her last five count toward this year's award... :-)

Jess...I do not know how you can suggest that Zenyatta did more for the support...until she announced on the day of entries that she was going to run in the Breeders Cup Classic...she had not done anything for the sport until November...while Rachel Alexandra carried the industry on her back from the Preakness Stakes on perhaps even the Kentucky Oaks where Zenyatta scratched from racing at Churchill Downs and Rachel ran into the history books...accomplishing one amazing feat after another...

Granted...Zenyatta was the first mare to win the Breeders Cup Classic which is an impressive feat...though the race has only been around 25 years...but Rachel --- a three year old filly --- was the first filly to win the Woodward the 55 years ofits being run...

And Jen is absolutely right...Oaks Day at Churchill Downs where Zenyatta scratched and Rachel ran should be the tiebreaker...because had Zenyatta run and won that day there would be no question that she deserved HOTY...she would have run in six races...not all of them in on dirt again...and demonstrated that she could win on an off track...instead she scratched...

13 Jan 2010 10:29 AM

I honestly do not see what all the "controversy" is about. One horses campaign was without a doubt more challenging and exciting and no matter how her competition tried to beat her, she always came out on top. Horse of the Year is about who accomplished the most/ who is the best/ and who has done the most for the sport. Rachel Alexandra's record speaks for itself and everything that needs to be said has been said.

I will add though that the BCC should have a major asterik* by it so for those basing the other Horses entire 2009 campaign for HOY on that is a little over emotional and horribly misguided. What she did was great but lets not act like the cards were not stacked in her favor. Beating horses who have never raced on/are not proven on a new surface that one loves does not make you "the best" by any means. I am a track runner in college and if all my life I run on synthetic rubber tracks (which I believe all colleges have) and then I go to say Africa or Europe and race on sand or grass and I am beaten that does not mean those runners are better than I am. It simply means on a foreign surface (to me) they are better. Zenyata is the best Synthetic Horse in the World/ California Horse of the Year. Unfortunately it seems too many people are voting based soley on emotions and not logically thinking through. This seems to be more of a "what have you done for me lately" sort of thing in the public opinion because RA has more news articles and brought attention to the sport throughout the year. Not just in the month of November. And to whoever said RA "ducked" Zenyata by not running in the Classic...Um JJ said back in May Rachel would not run in the BC so are you saying he predicted Zenyata would run in the Classic?? This is odd considering it was not even announced what race she would run in until the last minute.

Rachel Alexandra for Horse of the Year. NO DOUBT. We will NEVER see another 3 year old filly accomplish what she did. And the best is yet to come- which is scary.

13 Jan 2010 10:34 AM
I love Mine That Bird

Zenyatta-I have never been chilled by a horse race like I was at the BC Classic. She is horse of the decade.

13 Jan 2010 10:48 AM

Just to balance out Margaret's comments about how fractious Zenyatta was in the BC gate loading, RA was totally rank in the post parade at the Woodward to the point of tossing off Calvin Borel...then smacking him in the head when she swung her head around, "Did I do that?"  She also was not herself in the Preakness..but she won both of those races.  Females do tend to come into season at certain times, and I believe they both have faced and dealt well with that problem.

13 Jan 2010 10:52 AM

I truly love both horses and wish they both could win - but it that's not the case I vote for Rachel Alexandra - she's run in different tracks where Zenyatta basically stayed on the West Coast.  But I love Zenyatta's pre-race moves a lot!  She is adorable!!!

13 Jan 2010 10:55 AM
Greg J.

      When history is written, The 2009 Horse of the Year Award will be an after thought.  What these two greats accomplished this year is what will stand the test of time, Not some Award that is quickly forgotten...

      With that said, I will bite and say Rachel will win the Award, I will even say it will be in the neighborhood of 54%-46% in the voting.  Lastly, If these two had gone head to head, There is no doubt in my mind that Zenyatta would win, Hands Down!  Lastly, I would love to see comments and remarks after the award is given to Rachel on the 18th that show class and respect for her and her connections, But, I am not naive, A majority of the comments will be the opposite, It boggles my mind that people will feel the need to slam one to build up the other, Quite Sad actually...

13 Jan 2010 10:59 AM

Both horses are worthy of the title, they have both had an unbelievable year, however, the title is for horse of the year and only the accomplishments in 2009 should be taken into consideration.Zenyatta has had a wonderful career with her Breeders cup finish but i feel people are looking at her entire career as opposed to Rachel's run for 2009.Who knows whats in store for Rachel when she runs in 2010.Rachel looks like horse of the year to me.

13 Jan 2010 11:00 AM

Oh I can't vote for one and against the other. I'm trying and it's too hard. I love both these horses SO much... when I read comments slamming one I immediately think of defenses in her honor and therefore think "yes she should win HOTY" and then two seconds later I think the exact same thing about the other! Despite the foolishness that has been displayed by various commenters during the HOTY debates, I'm still glad we had such a year that we have had two females stand heads and shoulders above the rest... I am glad RA is returning and only wish Zenyatta would remain on the track too.

13 Jan 2010 11:01 AM
Buckram Oaks


If you have watched Zenyatta many times she is often fractious on race day and all the horses had to load twice...

And for those of you who suggest that Zenyatta coming from last to first was remarkable...this is her racing style...the way that she was run and won every race in her career...

And while Zenyatta won races without pace in them...and that is impressive...the pace was taken away because the competition could not beat her otherwise...

13 Jan 2010 11:04 AM
Crazy Horse Lover

Zenyatta!  This year she won at 1 1/4 miles carrying 123# against the best field of males.  She also won carrying 129#.  Neither of which did Rachel do.  Zenyatta was willing to come east to meet Rachel but Rachel ducked her each time.  It should not be held against Zenyatta for not racing in the mud if it is not held against Rachel for not racing on synthetic.  And since they weren't racing against each other in May it should not be a deciding factor regardless.

Also, when the non racing world recognizes Zenyatta as exceptionally special, then how can the racing world ignore that.  Her story has ignited the interest of prospective new fans in a way that Rachel has not.  That should definitely be recognized.  And her connections have always been the best representatives of our sport.

13 Jan 2010 11:09 AM

Its Zenyatta  How many horses could run her style carry her weight and win 14 times in a row.  She was great.  For the folks who say she did not beat top horses well...Yes she did beat top horses. Gio Ponte  hey folks  hes tops. Summer Bird he had a hard season running with the best he did good. Mine that bird, Einstein tops.  As far as the fillies she beat come on they were good. Some of the best and she beat them over and over. But i think of the Breeders Cup race how she came from way behind and wasn't even breathing hard at the end of the race.  Yes shes the best.

13 Jan 2010 11:13 AM

Zenyatta for her accomplishments and how she has brought the racing fans to their feet to popularize a sport that was on the downswing as shown by the interest of attending fans at the tracks and on t.v.  

13 Jan 2010 11:20 AM

Facts for 2009:

BOTH were undefeated. Tie


RA won 8

Z won 5 point to RA


RA beat the boys THREE TIMES.

Z beat the boys ONCE. Point to RA.


RA won 5

Z won 4. Point to RA


RA first female winner of Preakness in 85 years

RA ONLY to ever win Preakness from 13 post.

RA the ONLY female to ever win the Woodward, a race with a 75 year history

RA broke Ruffian's stakes record(time) and distance of victory in Mother Goose.

RA the first female to win a route race in NY since 1887.

RA ran the fastest Haskell in 24 years.

RA set a record for winning the KY Oaks by 20 1/4 lengths

RA is the ONLY filly to have won a classic race(preakness), The Haskell, and The Woodward.

Z only female winner of the BC Classic

Z only horse to win two different BC races

Z set earnings record in a year for females

Z broke Personal Ensign's career undefeated record

Point to RA in the History dept.


RA won the KY Oaks and Preakness Stakes

Z won the BC Classic.

All three of these races are considered Classics...

Point to RA.

Seems kinda obvious who should win HOY.

13 Jan 2010 11:21 AM

It would be cool if TVG has a camera in Zenyatta's stall so she can do a little victory dance for us if she wins.

13 Jan 2010 11:22 AM

when people talk about Zenyatta for HOY, they only talk about her BC win, because none of her other races are worth talking about. The BC is a big race but you have to remember that she was the only synthetic trained horse on the field. But when people talk about Rachel Alexandra, they can talk about the Woodward, the Preakness(those two together should more then equal Z's BC win, but heres some more just in case), the Haskell, where she demolished Summer Bird and some other tough three year olds in the slop, the Mother Goose, she beat Ruffians record in that one, and the Oaks, largest winning margin that race has ever seen! Zen ran five races, only one of them being important, one race does not make HOY. you don't even have to think about it to say Rachel Alexandra is Horse of the Year!

13 Jan 2010 11:27 AM

my vote def goes to "Queen Z" after her win in the Breeder's Cup she really showed what she was made of, and anthing that is put in front of her she will capitalize a 100%.. there is not a word to even describe how great she really is!!!! as for Rachel she is a great filly also,but being that she did not show up to the Breeder's Cup my vote is a 100% Zenyatta!!!!!p.s i would still like to see a match Race.. so we could get the real answer!!! :)

13 Jan 2010 11:38 AM

Holy Bull won champion 3-yr-old and horse of the year but DID NOT run in the Breders' Cup classic. And that's because the award recognizes all the accomplishments made during the year and not just one race.

Take an unbiased look at Rachel's 8 wins (3 more than Zenyatta), highest speed figures (116 for Haskell), distances won by (sometimes 20+), tracks and states (6) where she won, and the fact that she is a 3-yr-old filly. She beat the best older males who wanted to face her at the time (Woodward). Many were dodging her, with good reason.

I live on the West Coast and think very highly of Zenyatta and her connections, but she was not the best horse this year. That distinction belongs to Rachel Alexander (Rachel the Great). I think the West Coast will be out voted by savvy horsemen or women in the rest of the US.

Rachel "brings the heat" in every race and doesn't sit back to beat tiring horses and horses that were probably not at their best in Nov. after year-long campaigns.

Kodiak Kowboy also did not run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint but will pobably win that award...because voters will base their vote on his body of work during the year.

Viva Holy Bull, Rachel and Kodiak Kowboy!

13 Jan 2010 11:47 AM

Zenyatta, undefeated two time Breeders Cup Champion says it all.

13 Jan 2010 11:51 AM

Zenyatta won the biggest race of the year. Not only did she beat the boys, but she beat them when they were at their peak, both in maturity and in physical condition. She beat favorites from around the world. She showed up in spite of a less-than-ideal post position and handled a race fraught with difficulty. This race alone is inspiration enough to merit Horse of the Year, let alone having run an impressive campaign earlier in the year. There is no point wondering what might have happened had both Rachel and Zenyatta been in the race together; BC Classic 09 speaks for itself.

13 Jan 2010 11:56 AM

I loved watching both horses race, and both are very deserving of Horse of the Year. My personal opinion since this is the 1st year we have two superior horses but female and no other year have we had HOY between only 2 girls it should be a tie. That would make both fan sides happy.

However, if I have to choose one I find myself leaning towards Rachel Alexandra.  

She traveled more, raced on different tracks, beat the boys 3 times. Her resume is more impressive.

A comment was made as in as in Rachel backing out due to the surface (BC) but looking back Zenyatta was scratched due to the wet track. So my I question people why is ok for one and not the other to not want to run on a track surface that is not to the likings of one horse.

I love both horse and think Zenyatta was amazing in her BC race but do not think an award should go the one race, Rachel ran more then most male  Grade I competitors this year.

13 Jan 2010 11:58 AM

Rachel Alexandra

Her body of work for 2009 has been well documented in this blog.  Her THREE wins against males.  Her ability to win on several DIFFERENT tracks.  Her wins against GRADE 1 winning males.  

I fear that the HOY voters will be focused on one race--the BC Classic rather than the entire body of work for both females.  If you look at the whole year, as you should, then Rachel Alexandra is the clear HOY.

13 Jan 2010 12:09 PM

They are both phenomenal racehorses.  They both were undefeated this past season.  They both have different running styles.  They were both breathtaking to watch.  But, I have to go with Zenyatta.  I know all the pros and cons, racing surfaces, number of races invoked in various arguments.  I will invoke this one which was on a placard after BC Day:  Rachel beat the boys, Zenyatta beat the men".

13 Jan 2010 12:12 PM

Rachel Alexandra - A true Ambassador of the sport who has personally visited Arkansas(2 times), Louisiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York(2 times) and New Jersy - all in a 7 month campaign!!

Zenyztta - a fast horse in California

My vote is for Rachel Alexandra

13 Jan 2010 12:17 PM
Evening Attire Fan

ZENYATTA!!!  I love RA also, but Z, the way she dances and the way she wins.  Her personality, she has more than a lot of people do.  A previous writer wrote that had the BC been run on dirt Zenyatta would not have run.  That is a silly statement as many consider her race in the Apple Blossom at Oakland (on dirt) to be her best race prior to the BC.

13 Jan 2010 12:18 PM

In a perfect world, the two would share the honor. However, if you held a gun to my head, I would choose Rachel! Why? Well, I'm not gonna write a treatise on this, but I saw Rachel run, in person, twice this past year, and after each race I had tears in my eyes. On an emotional level alone, Rachel gets the nod!

13 Jan 2010 12:19 PM

Rachel Alexandra without question. I concur with Rankuvic posting. Rachel did not run on synthetic and Zenyatta scratched out of a race at Churchill Downs because of a muddy track. Rachel's record alone stands out as the best of 2009.

13 Jan 2010 12:24 PM
Smoking Baby

The Rachel Alexandra camp started to lose me when the chose the Woodward Stakes over the Personal Ensign, Alabama & Travers.  They tried to spin it that they were being bold taking on older males when what they were doing (in my opinion...I can't read minds and could easily be wrong)was taking the easiest race.  I believe that at 1 1/4 miles Rachel would have had her hands full with Careless Jewell in the Alabama, Icon Project in the Personal Ensign and most certainly Summer Bird in the Travers.  Much has been written about Rachel's thrashing of Summer Bird in the Haskell.  I'm sure Tim Ice would agree that Summer Bird was only just beginning to get good at that point.  I will say she wouldn't have beaten the Summer Bird of late summer and fall going 1 1/4 at all much less by six.  The Mother Goose by 19?  Those were two wonderful fillies she beat but were sprinters going much farther than they wanted to run.  The Kentucky Oaks by 20?  List the also rans in this years Oaks and you'll find it hard to believe that was actually the Kentucky Oaks. If that wasn't the weakest Oaks field in the last 60 years I don't know what was.  My point to this rant is only that when you list this wonderful fillie's accomplishments it sounds so very impressive but when you look a bit closer it's a house of cards.  Aside from Big Drama I don't know if any of the Preakness field won a single race the rest of the year.  Having said all this I should admit that I've never owned a horse and would LOVE nothing better than to have a filly like Stone Legacy (an Oaks also ran) and would probably have a much different opinion if it were so.  I have no facts to back this up but I just think that had Zenyatta came east hunting bear she would have smoked any and all comers as long as the race was 1 1/8 or longer.  ZENYATTA for Horse of the Year!!!

13 Jan 2010 12:27 PM
Paula Higgins

Greg J, you are absolutely right. Couldn't agree more. When all is said and done, no one is going to care who won HOTY. Their records will speak for themselves. I wish those idiots who decided against allowing voting for them as co-HOTY's could see this blog. I would like to thank Jerry and Ann Moss and the Jacksons for giving us two great horses and two great campaigns. They all deserve our thanks. Also, to their spectacular jockeys and grooms.

13 Jan 2010 12:44 PM

Love them both, but I voted for Rachel...She excelled on fast tracks and wet tracks, and she raced at different tracks in different states...her campaign was phenomenal...she beat top 3 year olds in a Triple Crown race as well as older males in the Woodward.

13 Jan 2010 12:44 PM

Rachel and Zenyatta are both exceptional athletes who will be remembered forever, but Zenyatta has always been my girl.  In addition to watching her race, I could watch her strut around the paddock all day! Wish I had a video of that to watch.  It's all about Attitude.

13 Jan 2010 12:52 PM

Looking at all the comments I honestly have a heck of a time with this. Read one and it makes perfect sense that Zenyatta should win with her great victory in THE race of the year. Then read the other side and it makes sense for Rachel, who did more in different locations. When I was a young man they had co-horses of the year once (mid-60's) when a 2 year old filly named Moccasin had an undefeated season and she tied with the older horse, Roman Brother for HOY. I know they do it different now, but the precendent is there. I do not understand the Eclipse award committee's reasons for not having a tie as an option.

13 Jan 2010 12:55 PM

Both are incredible, incredible Horses of the Decade, and it's a shame they both came in the same year because of the difficulty of choosing one over the other.

However, I believe Rachel Alexandra should get the award. Yes, while Zenyatta stirred emotions in many and won the Classic against boys once, this is called Horse of the Year -- not Horse That Stirred The Most Emotions or the Winner of the Breeder's Cup Classic award. Simply put Rachel's achievements are far greater and much more well-rounded. Its been said before: 8 races in the year, 8 wins, all coming on 7 different tracks. Five of those were Grade 1s. In 3 of those Grade 1s she was the lone filly in the field. Two of those Grade 1s she won by daylight. Being a much-less-mature-than-a-5-year-old 3 year old, she still beat everyone. How many of the top Beyer speed figures were held by Rachel Alexandra? (Per division; off the top of my head I believe she held five of the top 10-20 positions for all 3-year-olds, not sure but I know they were up there.) Think about it this way: throw out the Breeder's Cup Classic and the Preakness (or Woodward, if you prefer) for a moment. Now I dare you to tell me any other horse even had a shot at HOTY.

Zenyatta has been the Horse of the End of the Year, but Rachel has been the Horse of THE Year. Whose name was on everyone's tongue for the prior to a single race? Yeah, I thought so. Rachel had almost every vote prior to November. Within a matter of minutes everyone went from one camp to the other because she became the "IT" horse for the time and those bandwagon-jumpers are merely thinking only about recent events. How fair is that?

I truly am not trying to bash Zenyatta in any way, she is fantastic in her own right and I am so sorry for the connections of the unfortunate loser, whomever that may be. I am a fan of her also and I love and respect what she has accomplished, but it shouldn't be a doubt in anyone's mind whether Rachel Alexandra is more deserving of the title Horse of the Year.

One more comment about something I neglected to include intentionally but this seriously makes me laugh when it is used as an argument: people use the "Shirreffs said Zenyatta prefers dirt to synthetics" answer when the subject is brought up. Point being... because Shirreffs said? Now, I am not knocking Shirreffs as he has done a great job with not only Zenyatta but Life Is Sweet also, but keep in mind that he is her trainer.

HOWEVER, it's not what you run on, it's how you run on it.

(Re-reading this, I have a feeling I am going to be badly flamed. Eh, whatever. There is no point in arguing with me or against me as my decision is set in stone so therefore, why bother? =D)

13 Jan 2010 12:56 PM
Pam S.

I vote for Zenyatta.  Why hold the Breeders' Cup with the hoopla and huge purses if it doesn't matter?  I mean, it can't be worth all the trouble, expense and planning if it is just the same as, or outweighed by, other races (except the KY Derby).  And if the BC is "meaningless" when run on a synthetic track, then why move it around?

I have nothing else to add to what Greg J. wrote.  I agree with his post, also the one about Zenyatta's victory dance in her stall, should the votes swing her way after all.

13 Jan 2010 1:00 PM

My vote goes to Rachel Alexandra!! Beacuase she proved that she can dominate over 3 year old fillies, 3 year old males, and older males. She became the second filly to win the Haskell. And became the first filly to win the woodward. I believe if she was given the chance. Considering she raced and won on synthitics before. She could have done it again and won the BC Classic.

13 Jan 2010 1:16 PM
Andrea Bouwkamp

So how is it that Summer Bird and Mine That Bird are Men when they face Zenyatta but Boys when they face Rachel Alexandra?

Can somebody explain this to me?

13 Jan 2010 1:25 PM

The importance of the Breeder´s Cup:

Smarty Jones: Kentucky Derby 2004, Preakness Stakes 2004,and more.. ;

Ghostzapper: Breeder´s Cup Classic (2004)

HOY 2004: Ghostzapper

13 Jan 2010 1:25 PM
Elena Scott Wrightson

To come back and race in 2009, when retirement would have been completely understood, and cap off a brilliant, undefeated campaign with a win in the Classic, Zenyatta showed us what being Horse of the Year is all about. The most important races in this country are run at 10 furlongs, and we judge our horses accordingly.

13 Jan 2010 1:47 PM

I saw Zenyatta at the Breeders' Cup and it was the highlight of my year, but I think Rachel's record is the more impressive--more starts, more tracks, big margins, mostly faster times at comparable distances. She should not be "punished" for the human decision (an understandable one, after Curlin's experience in '08) not to run in the BC after a tough campaign.  But as another said, in a perfect world they'd share the honor.  

13 Jan 2010 1:48 PM

Zenyatta is my choice for HOTY.  Her victory in the BC Classic was one for the ages, let alone the year.

13 Jan 2010 1:51 PM

Weight is assigned based upon a number of factors usually age and sex.

In an open race, like the Breeders Cup Classic...Zenyatta had a two pound weight advantage over the older males in the race...and she carried I believe one pound more than the three year old colts. Zenyatta did not receive any weight allowance for her age, because she was older than all but two 5 years old...Einstein and Awesome Gem.

So, she was not at a weight disadvantage in the Breeders Cup Classic.

Rachel has had a weight advantage...BECAUSE SHE IS A THREE YEAR OLD FILLY...and handicapping rules require that she receive a weight you want to punish her for what the rules state? That seems a bit crazy.

I did not see Holy Bull who did not run in the Classic being underweight in the Met Mile or the Woodward Stakes...and he didn't race in the Classic...

13 Jan 2010 1:55 PM

I love them both and prior to the BC my vote would have gone to Rachel, and I'm sad to say I was one of the people who doubted Zenyatta's ability to win the Classic. After watching her not only win but do it very easily, my vote has to go to Zenyatta. She won the biggest race of the year and she beat better males than Rachel. I loathe synthetics, but that's where racing decided to hold its championships in 2009 and you can't blame the horse for that. If the BC had been at Churchill or Belmont, there would be no debate - the BC Classic ranks above any other race. You gotta show up on racing's biggest day.

13 Jan 2010 2:06 PM

Zenyatta gets my vote. To take on the boys in the Classic and win has never been done by any filly and she proved herself to the world. She is also 14 for 14 which beats Personal Ensign's record of 13 for 13.

13 Jan 2010 2:11 PM

Rachel, Rachel, RACHEL! She by far showed more class, winning against stronger fields and repeatedly against males. She did more things that no other filly has done. While Zenyatta is impressive, one race does not a HOTY make. Rachel was in the national spotlight more, and I'm sure non-race fans know her name better than they do Zenyatta. Both are wonderful mares, and deserve their own spotlights in history, but Rachel has to be HOTY.

13 Jan 2010 2:14 PM

ZENYATTA!!! She's my girl. Rachel is a great horse too, but she can't compare with Zenyatta's amazing style of running with effortless winning, intelligence and PERSONALITY.  I will miss Zenyatta, thanks Mr. & Mrs. Moss.

13 Jan 2010 2:18 PM

My vote goes for Rachel. She raced in more locations, on different types of tracks and raced against the boys AND WON on more than one occassion. Zenyatta is also a champ, but Rachel's year was more varied. Just because of the BC is not a reason to be HOY. Since fans are denied two winners, it doesn't seem fair to judge the girls like this. If you always pick the winner of the BC - then why bother to have HOY? Listen to the fans for once and pick both. Otherwise, look at Rachel's diversity this year.

13 Jan 2010 2:33 PM

Zenyatta destroyed a field of world class colts in the BC Classic ... it is also important to not she played with Life is Sweet, the easy winner of the Ladies Classic.  Rachel had a good year; however, they choose easier races when she could have faced tougher challengers the same week and/or weekend.  If Zenyatta doesn't win, we will look back and say "what were they thinking"!

13 Jan 2010 2:44 PM

I love both horses, but Zenyatta gets my vote. She is perfection in motion. She has done everything that was asked of her, and she has done it with such ease. I wish that she had been able to race against Rachel and Sea The Stars so perhaps we would have finally seen "just how good she really is". I don't think her limits have been reached in any of her races.

13 Jan 2010 2:55 PM

To those who think a BC Classic win equates HOY...

Think about this: Wild Again, Ferdinand, Proud Truth, Skywalker, Unbridled, Arcangues, Concern, Alphabet Soup, Awesome Again, Cat Theif, Tiznow(in 2001), Volponi, Pleasantly Perfect, and Raven's Pass did not get HOY.

The Breeders Cup IS NOT the determination for HOY, it never has been.

It's always been about the entire year campaign.

13 Jan 2010 3:05 PM

Ever since Nov. 07 2009, the polls and rankings everywhere have spoken for themselves....I'm sorry, but HOTY voting is much smaller than the world's votings..

And the HOTY, is forgotton after the one year. but a legacy like Zenyatta for a lifetime...

13 Jan 2010 3:09 PM


Smarty Jones retired BEFORE he faced older horses.....Rachel did it and won. no comparison

13 Jan 2010 3:12 PM

Only one horse showed up on championship day.  Not only did she show up, but she did so in the marquee race.  Not only did she show up in the marquee race, but she dominated the boys in it.  Zenyatta should be rewarded for showing up on championship day and proving what a champion she is.

13 Jan 2010 3:13 PM

I think the funniest argument written for RA in all of these comments are when people say she ran against better fields? Really? These are the same people who say Zen beat a weak field in the BC Classic. You can't have it both ways people.

Zen won at the CLASSIC distance against BETTER males, period! She had a 5 minute delay in the gate, a troubled trip but still won without hardly breaking a sweat. RA was practically run into the ground to hold off Macho Again at 1-3/16th mile. It's really simple. Zen is doing something RA can never do. Retire UNDEFEATED. Zenyatta is not only Horse of the Year, she's Horse of the Decade.

13 Jan 2010 3:29 PM
Bold Ruler

Elena Scott:

Did you know that there is not one classic distance in the United States?

In fact, there are multiple Classic distances. There to be exact...the distance comes from the American Classics which are the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes.

Zenyatta won at one classic distance. Rachel Alexandra won at another. That is all.

13 Jan 2010 3:53 PM

Zenyatta is horse of the year.

Why? She is the better horse.

Rachel is fantastic and had a fantastic year but she was exhausted and half dead on her feet after her Woodward win. Calvin had to really whip her and ride her hard to get several of her wins. She did not win with ease and dance away. She gave her all.

Zenyatta was still dancing after her BC Classic win and all of her wins. She was barely blowing. She won all of her races with her ears pricked and without much urging my Mike Smith. She knew what she had to do to win and did it. Mike just did some steering. We'll never know how fast she really is because she never once ran flat out with her all, she didn't have to.

13 Jan 2010 3:58 PM

It's a VERY tough decision, but I gotta go with Zenyatta. I thought Rachel had it all sewn up before the BC Classic, but Zen beat a stellar cast of older horses in that race in such an impressive way. I wish they could both win!

One thing I would have loved to see is Zenyatta at a mile and a half. She was just getting started at the finish line and we STILL have not seen her full power.

13 Jan 2010 4:02 PM


The issue is not who ran against better fields on paper. The issue is who ran against better fields in actuality. On paper, Zenyatta's Breeders Cup Classic field looked impressive. However, in actuality, her field was rather mundane with two turf horses that went off at 12-1 and 24-1 being the runners up. Thus, Zenyatta, a synthetic track specialist schooled two turf horses whose preferred surface was other than synthetic.

Also, examine the field that Zenyatta ran against and tell us how many of those horses ran their career best race at the time? Two...and they were turf horses.

Compare this Rachel Alexandra's field in the Haskell Stakes and the Woodward Stakes.

Summer Bird on his preferred dirt surface...the same sloppy surface he had what his trainer Tim Ice termed an excellent workout over several days before he scored a career high at the time BSF in that race of 106.

In the Woodward Stakes, Macho Again scored a career best 109 in the race and Bullsbay scored a career tying 107.

The difference is that these horses were running on their preferred surface...whereas the horses challenging Zenyatta were not running on their preferred or the surface on which they had had most of their performances...

Rachel Alexandra faced her horses at the peak of their condition...careerwise on their surface of choice...

Zenyatta faced two turf horses on Pro Ride...a surface she loved and one which Gio Ponti had been victorious over once before...but it was in the slop...against a weak field...

This provides some perspective for who their competition was...

13 Jan 2010 4:02 PM

I know this will sound strange but RA deserves HOY, but I don't think she could beat Zen.

13 Jan 2010 4:12 PM
Billy's Empire

As I have said 1,000 times, rachel should win b/c she had a better year. If the two raced at 1 1/8 miles, rachel would win. If they went any further, Zenyatta would win. But this award is for HOY, not horse of two years, and not a horse that won the BC on plastic where half of her competition had never run on the surface before, where it was Z's home course, and when Rachel won on 7, again 7 different tracks. To the level headed, non bias race fan, this vote should be easy... Rachel did so much more this year, it is not even close.

13 Jan 2010 4:52 PM

Rachel beat the male 3 time it's ok...But....Zenyatta not beat the males 3 time..... She beat the males in the world championships breeders' cup classic......An international race......She beat males from Europe too....Zenyatta for eclipse award !!!!!

13 Jan 2010 5:08 PM

1st choice,both



Now I am sorry they came along in the same year --but Rachel did the most.

13 Jan 2010 5:10 PM

I have watched racing my entire life, I really enjoyed watching both Rachel and Zenyatta run this year. I watched Secretariat and Seattle Slew win the Triple Crown,and Ruffian race, a great mare. I never thought that I would see a mare come close to Ruffian, and Zenyatta does. She causes you that feeling in your gut that Ruffian did when you watched her race. Like you where seeing something special, once in a lifetime. Rachel is a great mare, but part of what goes into racing is not just the win or lose. It is what is inspired by what they accomplish and how they accomplish it. Rachel had a wonderful year, and helped to bring racing back into the spotlight. But what Zenyatta did was to spark an interest on an emotional level with racing fans again. On Breeders Cup day people where there to see her. She had a bad start, was dead last and still won with plenty left over. She beat the horse that is up for 2 awards himself, Gio Ponti. She beat Summer Bird, whom Rachel beat also.She has been retired undefeated and SOUND. That in itself is an accomplishment.Her connections did an excellent job of handling her career. A perfect mare with a perfect record, and a wonderful race to end it on. Rachel has not quite gotten there yet, maybe next year. Zenyatta should get the award not just for the year, but for the decade.

13 Jan 2010 5:16 PM

First of all both horses are super!. But, I cant understand why people continue to say Rachel is better because she won at 7 different race tracks. Who care if a horse races on water. Its the competition that the horse races in thats important. Other than that I give my HOY to Zenyatta because of her 14-0 record & Breeders cup win which she showed tremendous heart for being in the race and the ability to win it..

13 Jan 2010 5:52 PM
distorted humor

my vote i for rachel alexandra because she is only 3 years old doing all that she did beating the boys three times and older ladies too that feet will never be duplicated...remember people she is jut a baby doing this!!!

13 Jan 2010 6:12 PM


You're right, this is HORSE of the YEAR!!! BUT RACHEL had a far BETTER YEAR than Zenyatta did. And in my OPINION Rachel would beat Zenyatta any given day. She's just too quick too catch. Rachel Alexandra should and will be HORSE OF THE YEAR!!!

13 Jan 2010 6:23 PM

Let's take a good hard look at Rachel Alexandra's Woodward since there are those who suggest that this race exposed a flaw in her and proves Zenyatta to be the better of the two horses.

Someone said that if Zenyatta had run in the Woodward that she would have run right by Rachel in the stretch and gone on to win.

Have a look at the replay and the chart again. Runner up Macho Again took a page out of Zenyatta's page book and loafed along dead last, trailing the field by eight or so lengths for the first six furlongs while Rachel was setting suicidal fractions up front. Macho Again then made a Zenyatta-esque run at Rachel in the homestretch and still did not get by her.

People here have also faulted Rachel for never having run at the "classic distance".

1) She won the Preakness Stakes which is only .5 f short of 1 1/4 and

2) She has run more 9(+) furlong races THIS YEAR than Zenyatta has run in her entire career - not to mention that Zenyatta's Classic was her first and only start at 9+ furlongs, so let's put an end to that argument, shall we?

And returning to the Woodward should further discount that argument. Rachel dueled with Da' Tara for the first half mile of the Woodward. This is the very same Da' Tara who, the year before, went wire-to-wire to win the 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes by over five lengths. And where did he finish in the 1 1/8 mile Woodward? Actually, he didn't. He packed it in after four furlongs and was eased.

Let me repeat that... The 4 yo colt that went wire-to-wire to win the 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes by 5+ lengths was cooked after dueling the 3 yo filly Rachel Alexandra for four furlongs and was EASED.

And yet Rachel still held on for an additional five furlongs and withstood a late charge from Macho Again to not only survive the Woodward, but to win it.

As I said before, Zenyatta is magnificent (I was holding my breath and willing her to get up in time for the Classic myself!), a no-brainer for HOY herself any other year, but this year Rachel was even better.

13 Jan 2010 6:30 PM

Absolutely, without question, Zenyatta is horse of the year. rachel had a great year but she barely beat Macho Again, who is a nice horse, but no superstar. Zenyatta's win in the Classic was the greatest moment in sports that I ever witnessed. I've been watching sports for 40 years. She destroyed a terrific field in the classic. She was breathtaking.

13 Jan 2010 6:52 PM

Where Zenatta is a magnificent mare,who could say otherwise.The BC classic is just one race and not a body of work over the season,all of you Z voters should go and read SEBISKIT post and get back to me.He's hit the nail on the head it's RA SORRY.

13 Jan 2010 6:58 PM
SmushFan 1

I gotta' go with Zenyatta for HOY.  She's raced consistently not only this racing season, but also last (I know last year doesn't count, but I'm talking in terms of staying power).  Hasn't lost a race in 2 years.  And there's not a doubt in my mind that had she continued to race next year, she would have stayed true to her course - all wins.  Yes, Rachel blew me away in her races.  But I don't see her having the legacy of wins that Zenny has (NOT a slam on Rachel, honest).

Zenyatta always looks so relaxed when she races, like there's no pressure at all, just another day at the track.  She could overtake a field from last to first without breaking a sweat, and still have energy to spare. With Rachel, while she exuded power as she ran, it also looked like a chore, like if she wasn't pushed, she would fade back.  Zenyatta always seemed to want to go around one more time.

Zenyatta has proven she has staying power, an older mare she.  She's proven she deserves it. She's retiring, and there will never be another opportunity for her accomplishments to be acknowledged.

Rachel still has at LEAST one more year to race (if Jackson stays true to his word and only gives her one more season).  If she really IS all the horse she appears to be, "there's always next year" - and I sincerely hope she can keep up the pace she set for herself this year.  It will be exciting to watch!

But the Queen deserves her crown this year.  Give the Eclipse to Zenyatta.

13 Jan 2010 7:00 PM
Elena Scott Wrightson

Bold Ruler:

I think you misread my comment. My reference was to the BC Classic, "... a win in the Classic," and while I suggested that our most important races were run at 10 furlongs, i.e. the KY Derby and the BC Classic, nowhere did I say it was the only classic distance.

13 Jan 2010 7:07 PM
screen prospect

Rachel. Not even close. I read what the Zen fans write. I love the horse. What she did last year and this year. She is my girl. Horse of the decade. I am glad you people dont get to vote. The facts laid out from other posters I wont repeat. Zen is not even close. The Preakness IS a classic race here. Emotions pick Zen. Record R/A

13 Jan 2010 7:08 PM

It honestly sucks that 2 such fantastic Fillies should occur at the same time. I love both a great deal, and watched both of them run several times. Aftere 20 years of waiting for truely great horse( thought Ghostzapper was very close) I am spoiled this year with two of the best fillies since Ruffian. In as much as it pains me I have to give the edge to Zenyatta, simply because she has not been beaten, the horse she beat several times wins the Filly and Mare classic easily and then she in turn beats the best male horses in the world easily going away. If they ran around again she would have been in front by 60 lengths.. Zenyatta was barely tired not even breathing hard while crushing this field of (21 grade/group 1) winners. Rachel maybe due to her youth was struggling at 1 1/8 miles , the Preakness had absolutely no speed and she was all out to hold off the other horses (i was there screaming for her too)

But a winner of a championship race over champion horses from all over the world cannot be overlooked or set aside or dismissed as second best...

13 Jan 2010 7:13 PM

Rachel Alexandra definitely deserves a spot among The Greats. But Zenyatta was the female that showed up for the big dance and beat the best in the WORLD (with the exception of Sea the Stars).  She has given me two years of thrilling races and memories that will last a lifetime. When she charged down the stretch in the Classic and the crowd at Santa Anita roared as she flew past her competition, it gave me goosebumps and sent chills up my spine; something that I have not felt in racing in a very long time. Just thinking about that moment brings tears to my eyes. That is what horse racing is supposed to be about. If Rachel Alexandra is Horse of the Year, then Zenyatta is Horse of the Decade.

13 Jan 2010 7:40 PM

You have two undefeated gals who both race in their own regions, one wins 4 Grade I races, the Breeder's Cup Classic against top older males at the Classic distance, the other wins 5 Grade I races, none of them at the classic distance, and none of them Breeders Cup wins.

I'd let the second one win as long was we immediately cease and desist holding a Breeder's Cup, which would apparently be an utterly meaningless 2 days of non-Championship races.

PS- I'm from Albany and Saratoga, worked at the Spa track, and have not missed a season there since 1951.

13 Jan 2010 7:42 PM

Rachel, due to the fact that she did it ALL as a 3 year old.

13 Jan 2010 7:51 PM

This proud member of the New York Racing Association PROUDLY casts his vote for Horse of the Year to the greatest female racehorse of ALL TIME - the GREAT ZENYATTA!

13 Jan 2010 7:58 PM

Regardless of what happens, it is going to prove a sorry shame that either one of these brilliant horses should fall short of what seems a rightful prize. The following is simply an observation. Enjoy!

You had two horse who I feel had uniquely different paths. Zenyatta, a proven 9 for 9 last season, was at the heart of this storm last year. It was Curlin who stood at the opposite end of the debate. I feel that it is precisely why she ran the campaign that she did. 5 races, 5 wins, no sweat. Zenyatta's ultimate goal was not the Woodward or The Haskell, but the Breeder's Cup. The very same stage in which her legend was carved in stone the previous year. Like Rachel, she simply did what she was asked. No runs, no hits, no errors. Simply put, she pitched a perfect game, and for the second straight year.

Rachel on the other had was a three-year-old. Unlike Zenyatta, she had something to prove. She came into this season relatively unknown. There was no Breeder's Cup last season, no accolades as a two-year-old. She was a horse who opened people's eyes with a dazzling and aggressive campaign. Albeit one with a different port of call. I honestly believe that the Breeder's Cup was never in the cards for Rachel. This could afford her the aggressive campaign. They raced for the moment, at the moment. Rachel was simply taken in a different direction with a uniquely different agenda. Why should either of these horses be denied what rightfully belongs to both of them? Especially over something in which neither had any control..

Both horses captivated the world. Equally... Both horses brought us tears of joy and appreciation. Equally... Lastly, both of these brilliant ladies showed us how great our sport is and can be in the future. Yes, they did that equally as well. So it stands to reason in my mind that the only fair and just remedy would be to provide them with a mutual honor. They provided us with memories that will transcend this past year, and provide us with memories and smiles to last a lifetime.

13 Jan 2010 8:05 PM

Here's the $64,000 question - fans of both Rachel Alexander and Zenyatta - how will you feel when the other horse is announced as Horse of the Year on Monday night?

Zenyatta fans, you've been floating up there in the clouds ever since the Breeders' Cup, and have yet to come down. Your thrill and ecstasy is almost a religious experience. You believe that Zenyatta is the greatest horse in the history of the universe. There is no other as she. She automatically should win the Horse of the Year.

Rachel Alexander fans, you believe that there is NO DEBATE for the Horse of the Year. You believe that Rachel Alexander beat the most superior horses in the east and there is no west. And you'll be d....d that some California horse is going to steal this award from your horse when she already has won it.

One of you will have a gut-wrenching, sickening, devastated reaction while the other will experience almost unsurmountable joy and elation.

Zenyatta fans, will you accept Rachel Alexander as Horse of the Year, or will you ask that an asterisk be placed by her name explaining she won because of east coast bias.

Or Rachel Alexander fans, will you accept Zenyatta as Horse of the Year or will your heads explode from an overwhelming sense of bitterness.

That is the question. What do you say?

13 Jan 2010 8:32 PM

screen prospect said  " The Preakness IS a classic race here. Emotions pick Zen. Record R/A"

Actually, the year end IFHA World Rankings put the kabosh on that argument.

While Mine That Bird got high marks from them for his near win the Preakness, the race didn't help Rachel any (except on an emotional level).

But even so, why is "emotion" not a valid factor?

The reason horse racing is IN the toilet these days is that it caters too much to the  statisticians (bettors and handicappers) and not enough to the hearts and minds of real people.

Grown men still cry at the grave of Secretariat, and it's NOT because of his stats, but because he represented a greatest of spirit that we rarely see... and in the BC Classic, we saw the same in Zenyatta.

If that's NOT why horse racing is all about, it darn well SHOULD be.

13 Jan 2010 9:39 PM

I went with Zenyatta - wow what a mare and a truly amazing win against the best in the world! Rachel IS a super filly but Zenyatta accomplished a truly amazing feat!

13 Jan 2010 9:47 PM

Zenyatta & Rachel Alexandra should share the prize of "Horse of the Year."  In their respective divisions, they were both OUTSTANDING! How can one separate their accomplishments?

13 Jan 2010 9:56 PM
Patricia Guthrie

I chose Zenyatta because of her undefeated lifetime achievement, her ability to race on any surface and the magnificent way she wins her races. (So does Rachel. Was close of me too)  Main reason: Zenyatta is retiring and won't have a shot at it again. Rachel will have next year.

13 Jan 2010 10:02 PM

Lets get it straight guys, I love rachel but rachel has distance limitations and nay horse play out here knows it.. champions run and win at classic distances and until I see Rachel take on the same kind of field at teh same distance, my vote goes to Zenyatta, who by the way was berely breaking a sweat after the race, while rachel held on by the skin of her teeth against second level males...

13 Jan 2010 10:13 PM

Zenyatta... Because Rachel's going to get it in 2010. ;)

13 Jan 2010 10:26 PM

My question to you all...Why keep on it? Both horses are great and as I stated before, their greatness lives on with the babies they produce. Both these females are awesome and deserve the red carpet treatment. I hope their after race life is just as good if not better than during their race life. A lot of these horses end up in a horrible situation.....browse and see.

13 Jan 2010 11:56 PM

Maybe when they announce the winner on Monday no matter which it is,we should all rise and give them both a standing ovation for waking us all up,agreeing to disagree over who should have won and thanking them both for reminding us why we love horseracing for moments like this.Thanks ladies for a memorable year at the horsetrack!!!!

14 Jan 2010 12:02 AM
Lorna Lentini, New York City

While Rachel Alexandra ran her heart out this season, Zenyatta simply ran to her heart's content -- and blew past them all.

The unvanquished ZENYATTA deserves to be Horse of the Year -- especially since her connections have so painstakingly encouraged her to delight in her talent and her work...

14 Jan 2010 12:30 AM

This is a tough decision. I love them both! Both of them are amazing FEMALE equine athletes. It is such a cool thing to have such a hard decision be between two girls this year. It truly has been the year of the girls, so to say.

My vote will have to go to Zenyatta. She is amazing, beautiful, talented...There is just some air about her that calls to me. I love her and am sad to see her ending her career but excited to see how she will be as a broodmare.

I look forward to Rachel's continued racing career. Here's hoping she bests the best of 2010 as she did in 2009! Perhaps this will be HER race next time around!

14 Jan 2010 12:42 AM

If the Breeder's Cup classic is the top race of the year as we have believed since Breeder's Cup races began, the only choice is Zenyatta.  Her perfect record was on the line when she raced further than she had ever gone against not the boys as Rachel has done but the men, the best horses in the world,many of them ranked in the top ten in the world. I was lucky enough to see Personal Ensign beat Lady's Secret when she won her 13th race and I was ever more thrilled when I saw Zenyatta coming down the stretch this year as she swept past some of the greatest horses that are currently racing. She not only came to the dance but showed the men how to do it.

14 Jan 2010 12:44 AM

Just a final addition to my earlier post,  after Zenyatta wins HOY, she should be bred to Medalia D'Oro!!!  What a super foal that would be!

14 Jan 2010 12:52 AM
ZENYATTA all the way

Well I have to go with Zenyatta. She has done everything asked of her and stayed undefeated, also she did go back east to race and still beat the best back their. The same horses that rachel beat in the male division Zenyatta beat them a lot easier. The races that both of them ran were amazing and both deserve top billing for all there races, but My vote is with the very talented and undefeated ZENYATTA.

14 Jan 2010 1:32 AM

Rachel Alexandra has my vote. She did more and did win at a Classic Distance "The Preakness". Won on every track she stepped on this year. She is the better fit for HOY,

14 Jan 2010 1:35 AM

All the comments about how easily Zenyatta won her races "with her ears pricked" was also accomplished by Rachel Alexandra. Watch the Kentucky Oaks, The Mother Goose, and the Haskell.  In races that RA ran every step of the way with another horse pushing her, The Preakness Stakes and The Woodward she still won but had to work for it.  In the Woodward people who were there (sooo lucky)said that she rebroke and was up by several lengths (5 or 6??) ahead of Macho Uno. Two horses that were not there at the end of the Woodward were Da'Tara (last) Cool Coal Man (2nd to last) and Past the Point (3rd from last. They were there at the beginning of the Woodward pushing Rachel into fractions of 22.85  and 46.41 (this is where Da'Tara starts to fade and Past the Point and Cool Coal Man are still pushing Rachael to three-quarters in 110.54 before they start to get rubber legged and retreat.  Now here comes Bullsbay and Macho Uno.  The only other race where a horse was tag teamed like this was the 2004 Belmont and poor Smarty could not hold off Birdstone. (yes I realize the Belmont is 1 and 1/2 miles but Smarty didn't help himself being so rank.  He had put away Rock Hard Ten and Eddington and should have had a breather to hang on for that last furlong).  Rachel was sensational in the Haskell as well running with Munnings (22.4 / 46.2/ 109.4 / 134.1 and 147.1 ) and Summer Bird for the first three-quarters and then putting both colts away.  Let's compare her to other fillies and or mares.  Ashado 7 grade 1's age 2  through 4. Rachel had 5 grade 1s just this year. Ashado' s record was 19 first or second in 21 starts winning 12.  Azeri was champion older female 3 years in a row 2002. 2003 and 2004.  Azeri won 17 races, 14 stakes in 24 starts.  She finished forst or second in 21 of 24 starts in 4 years of racing.  

Zenyatta's breeders cup was a first for a female (just like RA's Woodward). Do you think she would have run in the classic if RA had not had the year that she had. Zen's owners and trainer had played it safe the previous year and not gone in the BCC  (now she has done something no other filly or mare has done; win both Classics- Bravo one big race on national television a year).  It is hard to understand why some people COMLETELY understood why Zen did not run on an off track in May in her only trip out of California.  But think RA was ducking the BCC, which was a track that she had not raced on before (pro-ride is different) and given the year she had already had.  And it was proven out that Pro-ride is a very different track to run on.  Zen had several good races over that very track. Other BCC horses did not fair so well.  Sea the Stars was not there.  Rip Van Winkle was injured, and other that Summer Bird (4th) only turf runners faired well. Rachel deserves it, hopefully she gets it.  

14 Jan 2010 1:50 AM
Northern Dancer

The best horse of 2009 is quite simple. It's not that hard people.


Who won the most money with less starts?



14 Jan 2010 1:58 AM

Rachel had a better year and she's faster! This is a horseracing award, isn't it?  

14 Jan 2010 2:55 AM
Maria K.

The Queen Zenyatta!!! The perfect "10".  She's undefeated and my goodness she can dance!!!

14 Jan 2010 4:46 AM

Both horses are spectacular.  If both could win that would be my first choice.  but....

since horses dont get to choose the races they run, I'm looking at how they run, the heart and competitve spirit that they show in thier races(and I  know thats not how HOY is decided).  Which still doesn't differentiate them significantly but I give Zenyatta the edge.  Her personality and just plain awesomeness is undeniable.  She rules every track she steps on, way before the gates open.  She is truly the queen this year .... Rachel will win it next year.

14 Jan 2010 5:57 AM

John, I'm a diehard Zenyatta fan,

Zenyatta has been "On Top Of The World" so to speak, since her win in the BCC. She has been leading the way in all polls everywhere, she has been ranked the highest above RA in the world rankings, she also has a race named in her honor, she has amassed so much,

John, if RA gets the Hoy, it will be because of the east coast biases or because of her three more races and maybe some pity in there since Zenyatta has been voted so high since the BCC.

John, No, I know I don't care if RA gets the award, because it will be the only acknowledgement that she is recognized for since the BCC. Also, it goes like this, "RA can win the battle, but Zenyatta wins the War".  HOTY is very small compared to what Zenyatta has gained since her win in the BCC...It is a very High Honor to have a race named after you? It don't get any better than that....

14 Jan 2010 6:03 AM

Zenyatta got my vote. True, she did not win as many G1s THIS year, but she is undefeated in 14 & won the BIG one against the BEST horses around the world. And she won it so easily--from off the pace with such grace! Something to remember also--She won't have another chance. Rachel will. I also have a tremendous admiration for her owners, whom Mr. Blount of "Old Friends" say are the model of what horse owners should be.

14 Jan 2010 6:31 AM
Don from Delaware

Love them both and hope it is a tie, but if one must be crowned my vote would go to Rachel Alexa....because she won 9 races in 2009 as a 3yr old including Preakness and beat older males. As Jim Morrison once sung/said

"Give the Singer Some" Don

14 Jan 2010 6:34 AM

Those who say Zen should get it because Rachel can get it for 2010...what??? One stinking misstep is all it takes.

Zenyatta accomplished One amazing race, ok maybe 2.

Rachel accomplished so much more, in a much longer season, all over the country in mud and dirt. She is the # ONE Dirt horse in the USA.

PS Rachel has no distance limitations. She's certainly bred to go on.

14 Jan 2010 7:48 AM

Honestly the saddest and most unfortunate thing of this is the fact that a dirt championship was NOT RUN ON THE DIRT. SA is a great location but the pro-ride is a different surface and RA was not the only viable dirt contender who did not make the trip. Thank god the BC is back on the dirt this year where it should be.

14 Jan 2010 8:15 AM

Undefeated. Brilliant BC Classic win against a field like no other horse faced this year. It's that simple. Go ZENYATTA!

14 Jan 2010 8:25 AM

I love both horses. And I'm so happy that Rachel will be racing again next year. Let's just hope she still wants to race and win. We'll never know till she gets there.

HOWEVER, there is no horse out there so awe-inspiring as Zenyatta. With each of her wins, she thrilled each of us lucky ones to the core by pulling a win out of what seemed a hopeless situation up to the last few seconds or second. And boy did she love to win. Ah, those ears and that proud head!

She truly loved every minute of it from the moment she enered the paddock. She was amused by the crowd and had a relationship with us that no horse has ever had before. On first sight of her, you could hear the gasp of wonder in the people lucky enough to see her.

With each race she added new zing to the dance moves for our entertainment.

Should we award a horse for dancing, being knock-dead gorgeous, and playing to the crowd, thrilling them to the core with the way she won her races (ALL of them), and being a sweetie at the same time? You bet!! (And how I wish I did bet on her at the BCC but I spent all my $ just to get there!)

HOY should not just be based on a year's campaign planned out by the owners. It should be based on the whole package, and frankly Zen made more people happy in 2009 than any other horse possibly could have.

14 Jan 2010 9:40 AM
Reality Fix

Phony -- Zenyatta only started leading polls after she won the Breeders Cup Classic. Before that happened Rachel Alexandra was leading all polls since they started for most of the year.

The World Thoroughbred Rankings do not take age into account and they also based their results on ONE PERFORMANCE...while the Horse of the Year award is intended for the entire year and not for Moment of the Year.

Before Zenyatta won the Breeders Cup Classic she had no shot of winning HOTY. What does that tell you? That it is one race that has put her in this position.

It was a great performance, but we have to remember that Zenyatta won this race over a track she had some of her top career performances...a track she had won a previous championship over...and two Grade I races...a track that allowed her to be stabled at the peaceful Hollywood Park in her home stall while most if not all of the other horses were stabled within the hubbub of Santa Anita and some of the best horses had to travel far to get to the race...

Rachel Alexandra had no home track. She raced eight times at seven tracks in six states.

If Rachel wins it is not about East Coast bias...but rather it is about which horse did the most throughout the year.

Rachel was repeatedly challenged on an off track, on an unfamiliar track, against three year old boys, against four and five year old boys...stepping up in class three Zenyatta's once.

No horse will ever repeat what Rachel Alexandra has done this year...EVER...whereas Rachel could repeat Zenyatta's biggest feat...the BC Classic year. She can also surpass Zenyatta consecutive races if she stays healthy...God willing...and wins six races...  

14 Jan 2010 10:01 AM

Zenyatta.  Both had extraordinary unbeaten seasons that included multiple G1 victories.  Over the course of the entire year, however, the established quality of the horses Zenyatta defeated on the racetrack eclipses Rachel's opponents.

Each raced only once in genuinely open company, but by virtue of racing exclusively within her own age group, Rachel's only victory against a horse who, in his own right, earned significant success against open company came against Summer Bird, a horse who Zenyatta also defeated.  But the roster of significant open-company winners defeated by Zenyatta includes not only that champion, but Life is Sweet (three times) and Gio Ponti, as well as several significant older males who claimed major victories in 2009.

In the end, this brilliant filly and spectacular mare gave us one of the finest years racing has witnessed in some time.  But when all the kickback (both natural and synthetic) had settled, the Queen had risen to the top.

14 Jan 2010 10:16 AM
Rachel's Ego


By your statement:

HOY should not just be based on a year's campaign planned out by the owners. It should be based on the whole package...

Rachel Alexandra should be the winner...

Rachel Alexandra traveled to more tracks which held more people attendance wise than Zenyatta did...

Rachel performaned before well over 100,000 people...and Zenyatta's best mark was the 58,000 who say her at the Breeders Cup...with none of her other races even approaching that number...

The attendance at the Preakness Stakes was over 77,000...

The attendance at the Woodward Stakes was 31,000...

The attendance at the Haskell Stakes was 37,000...

The attendance at the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs where Zenyatta scratched on May 1st and Rachel ran and won...was 105,000

So Rachel is hitting about 250,000 that have seen her this year...and Zenyatta is probably closer to just over 120,000...

So, by your measure...Rachel has made many more people happy...

And I have had reports from people at both the BC Classic win at Santa Anita...and Rachel's Woodward Stakes win and the latter had the louder cheers even though there were less people...

The person at both events I heard from...compared the crowd response to Secretariat's Triple Crown win which she experienced in the Belmont Stakes with the roar he heard at Saratoga Springs...when she had witnessed that...

14 Jan 2010 10:21 AM
HOTY Is Not A Career Award

A number of Zenyatta's posters here continue to extoll the virtues of her 14 races in a row...and the fact that she might not have won Grade I races this year...but she won them last year.

I think we need to take into account that HOTY does not include past victories...but rather only the horse's performance THIS YEAR.

To continue to emphasize what Zenyatta has done in other years...only winner of TWO BC continue to minimize what she has accomplished this year...

So please...Zenyatta fans let us try and stay focused...because by mentioning what happened in other years only makes what she has done this year seem less.  

14 Jan 2010 10:29 AM
Both Horses Did Everything Asked Of Them

Many of the Zenyatta fans laud their horse because she did "everything that was asked of her"...

Well, Rachel Alexandra did everything that was asked of her and more...she was asked to win races which she did...but she also set records...she also made history...she also took on multiple challenges and she was asked to win 8 races and she did...while Zenyatta was only asked to win 5.

Rachel was asked to race as someone else mentioned...8 races, at seven different tracks in six different states.

Zenyatta was asked to win 5 races....4 of the same races she ran last the same three tracks she raced over last year...and only in one race was she not in her home stall at Hollywood Park.

Not much of a challenge was presented to her...

And the only challenge presented to her other than the BC Classic...was a race in the slop at Churchill Downs...which she scratched from...

So, she may have done everything asked of her...but it was not near as much as was asked of Rachel Alexandra -- a three year old filly...vs. Zenyatta a five year old mare.  

14 Jan 2010 10:37 AM

When it is all said and done, I will look back and marvel at what Rachel Alexandra did this past year. She did things I couldn't have even imagined that a 3yo filly could do. I thought I saw it all when Rags To Riches took on Curlin. I was wrong. Thank you Rachel Alexandra.

Zenyatta will always go down as having that ONE great performance for me, her other one that sticks out in my mind is her Apple Blossom win LAST YEAR. Too bad her connections didn't just go for it more this season because I feel she was even better on dirt. Zenyatta deserved to prove how good she was more than ONCE this past year. I loved her BC win, but I feel that her connections sold her short of showing what a monster she really is.

Sadly, that example will probably be Rachel's fate this season.

Why travel and take on all comers when you can stay at home and win HOY?

14 Jan 2010 10:41 AM
Rachel All The Way


I think you need to realize that Zenyatta's victories over Life Is Sweet were not in open company...they were sex restricted...filly's and mares three year olds and up...

Zenyatta raced 80% of the time in sex restricted races...Rachel only raced 63% of the time in sex restricted races.

And her victories in her one true race against open company...the BC Classic...Zenyatta beat two turf horses.

The clear issue here is who took multiple steps up in class...and Rachel stepped outside her division --- the three year old filly division...THREE times and won impressively.

Zenyatta a five year old mare...17 hands tall...stepped outside her division ONCE.

And let us examine the horses that Zenyatta faced...which horses that Zenyatta faced all year ran career best races at the time against her?

There were two...Gio Ponti and Twice Over who had their best BSF performances against her. However, these were turf horses running on a Pro Ride surface which Zenyatta had multiple wins over, which Twice Over had never won over and Gio Ponti's previous win was in the slop.

Then you have Rachel Alexandra who faced older horses who were performing at their career best...Macho Again (109 BSF) and Bullsbay (107 -- tied for best)in the Woodward Stakes and a three year old who were performing at his career best at the time of the race...Summer Bird (106-BSF).

14 Jan 2010 11:05 AM

Zenyatta defeated the best older horses assembled all year. She won the biggest race on the biggest stage. She is the the horse of the year and one of the greatest filly/mares ever. Rachel if retired today would not be considererd one of the best ever. I believe she will  be horse of the year for 2010 and maybe the best ever after her 4 yr old season.

14 Jan 2010 11:06 AM

The poster Rachel'salterego makes many valid points to which readers should adhere.

Rachel is the only Horse of the Year in terms of accomplishments. Zenyatta may have run the best single race but this is a year-long honor.

Rachel won more races this season, won more G1 races, ran outside her division more often, won on more tracks, won on tracks with different conditions (i.e. fast and wet) and beat and nearly equaled stakes and track records. The latter of these feats is what really should be the deciding factor. Horses are often deemed great not only by how many wins or quality of the wins but by how fast they run when they do win.

14 Jan 2010 11:11 AM

Horse of the YEAR.  That is what the award stands for, a horse's body of work over the course of the whole racing year.  How can you call Zenyatta HOTY when she never left California, and the only time she did, she was scratched because of a little rain.  You have to take into account how Rachel Alexandra beat other fillies and mares in convincing fashion.  Not only that she took on the best colts of her generation and dominated.  Rachel Alexandra had one of the toughest campaigns of any three year old filly in the history of racing and came out on top each time she left the starting gate.  Then we have people contradicting themselves.  You say that we should look out for the well being of the horse, but when Jess Jackson decides to rest his horse you call him out for not running her in the Breeder's Cup Classic.  Zenyatta is  a great mare, but I think her owners did her a disservice by hand picking her races all year.  I commend them for running her in the Classic but I feel it was too little too late.

14 Jan 2010 11:15 AM

I wish there could be a dead heat,but when push comes to shove I give it to Rachel.She took her show on the road while Zenyatta stayed at home,I know she was at Churchill,but I think scratching because of a sloppy track is weak.Rachel raced on both synthetic and dirt,both fast and sloppy.

14 Jan 2010 11:23 AM

I voted Zenyatta.  The turn of foot in the stretch of the Classic she showed was spectacular!  Geo Ponti was running his race even if Enstein was not running his and Zenyatta passed Geo Ponti  with energy to spare.  I would have preferred to have seen Zenyatta in more classic length races in her career but...  She did not need a certain kind of pace in front, in order to win her races.  She raced on at least 3 different synthetic surfaces and one of them was NOT to her liking and she still won with her ears pricked forward.

Rachael Alexandra ran a spectacular campaign without a doubt.  Her Woodward was fabulous - one for the ages.  But if we have to choose I choose Zenyatta.

14 Jan 2010 11:38 AM

Rachel Alexandra wins hands down! Zenyatta is the queen of Santa Anita, or even California for that matter. Rachel dominated 6 different tracks this year! She has won more G1 than Zenyatta, she's also won her races by a combined 60+ lengths vs barely 7 by Zenyatta... Rachel by a mile!!!!!!!!

14 Jan 2010 11:41 AM
horse lover tim

i have been watching horse racing since i was 8 years old.for 35 years i have never witnessed a horse or fillie show the heart or talent as racheal alexandra has. it would be ashame to take horse of the year from her because zenyatta won the biggest race. she won at atleast at 8 different tracks while zenyatta sat in california.i hope most people will agree with me

14 Jan 2010 11:58 AM

why do we have such a debate for HOY? BECAUSE TWO HORSE HAD AMAZING YEARS, probably almost unprecedented in racing history, and because of that fact to pick one over the other does end up a slight to the one not picked. THAT IS WHY I WILL REPEAT AGAIN, as I have on many other racing blogs, that we should toss HOY this year and state that it is being done because of this unusual year and name RACHEL ALEXANDRA-HISTORIC FILLY of 2009 and ZENYATTA-HISTORIC MARE OF 2009. Wouldnt most people agree and not have a problem with that alternative to this situation that has arisen due to the uniqueness of 2009?

14 Jan 2010 12:16 PM

ERIN wrote: "If Rachel Alexandra is Horse of the Year, then Zenyatta is Horse of the Decade." I was among the thousands at the BC Classic, and I couldn't agree with her more. Watching the video over and over STILL moves me to tears of joy. What a gutsy girl!

JOHN wrote what I have been thinking about for a very long time. There won't be a a dry eye at the award's ceremoney (for reasons John mentioned) nor the viewers watching TV at home.

My heart says QUEEN ZENYATTA, but my gut says it will go to PRINCESS RACHEL ALEXANDRA. Even though she will be running this year.

p.s I won't be able to look or even listen to Jackson; I will leave the room or mute my TV.


14 Jan 2010 12:28 PM
Pam S.

I have read Zenyatta Zealots' and Rabid Rachelites' arguments for and against both horses for more than two months now.  I have come to the conclusion that the basic question surrounding the award is whether the emphasis should be placed on the word "HORSE" or the word "YEAR."  Those who think it's "horse" seem to favor Zenyatta, and those who feel it's "year" lean to Rachel.  Anyone else agree?

14 Jan 2010 12:38 PM

@ Zapper. I dunno why but it seems like every year someone is saying there are a weak bunch of 3 yr olds. That gets old so fast though.


14 Jan 2010 12:56 PM

It's not that complicated. Both horses are great. But Rachel accomplished more. She should get horse of the year.

14 Jan 2010 1:29 PM

I have to hand it to Zenyatta. Rachel is an amazing horse, but Zenyatta has raced and won on both surfaces, wheras even though Rachel has been to more tracks, she races on strictly dirt only.

Though three grade 1 races were against boys, it was obvious Rachel had all she could take after the Woodward.

Zenyatta is big, powerful, graceful, and the best horse I have ever seen. She is consistent in her races and always as cool as a cuccumber.

Zenyatta defines 'champion' to me.

My opinion ~~~

14 Jan 2010 1:38 PM

I say Rachel should win.

As others have said...

* She beat the boys three times in big races (Only female to win the Woodward)

* She set records at 7 different tracks all over the country

* She has finished at huge margins

* She raced 8 times compared to Zeyatta's 5.

Don't get me wrong Zenyatta is an amazing mare but Rachel has done more.

14 Jan 2010 1:42 PM

Although both Rachel and Zenyatta are superb, I voted for Rachel. She won over more tracks, she won throughout the year and achieved victories against the best of her generation, males and females, plus she won against the older horses too. She won in adverse conditions and also in good conditions. There are so many great comments already, it is a reminder of how fortunate we are to be able to marvel at these two great horses.

14 Jan 2010 1:49 PM

Pam S

 I agree, I have never seen the phrase "Body of Work" in print so many times.

14 Jan 2010 1:49 PM

Clearly some people here are multi-voting for RA - the posts are exactly alike.

My vote is for Zenyatta.  Who did she beat is a question that's asked of RA, also she ducked the mile and a quarter every time there was a choice.  She beat older but what caliber older?  Nobody better than Rachel beat.

Ducking the classic distance decides me for Zen.

14 Jan 2010 2:07 PM

It is very disheartening to read the comments left by some of the very biased Zenyatta fans. I LOVE both of these ladies, they are amazing and it is a privilege to have been alive to watch them both run. There is no contest for HOY, if Zenny hadn't won the BC Classic, she would have not even been in contention for HOY, her connections wrongfully chose a lightweight year for her and its a shame. At 5 Zenyatta is in her prime, and they should have challenged her more than they did. I find it dumbfounding that they brought her all the way to Kentucky only to put her in a different race than Rachel, and then to top it all off, they scratch her cause its raining...ugh.

Zenyatta is a super horse...rain is not going to bother her in the least. Rachel Alexandra is HOY, no question. Rachel had the tougher year, as a 3 year old, and no matter where she went, what was asked of her, or what the conditions, she is undefeated, 8 for 8 in 2009. Rachel is amazing, Zenyatta is amazing, and if we could have seen them race against one another, i have NO doubt it would have been AMAZING. No matter how much those people who love only Zenyatta want to live in the land of denial, and insult, and belittle such a beautiful, talented, and sweet filly such as Rachel Alexandra, you will not change the facts. Rachel is also a super horse whether you like it or not, and Rachel had, at 3, a far more challenging year and passed every test with flying colors. You should be celebrating her along with Zenny, not trying to tear her down or lessen what she has accomplished. I would love it if they could be co-horses of the year, but i know the odds of that are pretty slim. Whoever wins the award, i will still love them both, and i will still hold the hope of seeing them race against each other in 2010.

14 Jan 2010 2:10 PM

Gotta agree with you Pam. That's what it comes down to.

Personally, I don't care who wins HOTY (though my heart says Zenyatta). What matters is the Hall of Fame, and both of these great horses are in there, for sure. Each has accomplished things no other horse has done, each is impressive in their own way, and each of them is great.

Belittling one for the benefit of the other is ridiculous and childish. People need to give them both their due and just acknowledge that they've both done the sport a lot of good.

Actually, this whole argument reminds me of the Seabiscuit/War Admiral thing. And not even a match race could solve that one.

14 Jan 2010 2:27 PM


RA has raced and won at Keenland in October of 2008, which is a synthetic track.

You are the perfect example of someone who knows there opinion is biased and that you don't look at facts when making decisions.

Here is some reading material for you...

Hungry to see the two fillies compete, critics have complained about Jackson’s rationale, arguing that Rachel Alexandra has already run on and won on synthetic surfaces before and should therefore be fine on the synthetic surface at Santa Anita.   Bruno Di Julio, who is both a handicapper and horse owner, provides some perspective.  On his blog, he has written, “Since when does Keeneland or any synthetic surface resemble one another?” After giving examples of various synthetic surfaces that are each significantly different from the Pro- Ride surface, he added, “The Pro-Ride is actually two or three different tracks at different temperatures.   So, no, Rachel Alexandra is not tested or proven on all synthetics. She won a race on one type of 'plastic', or on Keeneland's mixture of carpet fibers, jelly cables and wax. Last I looked, the Pro-Ride was oil-based with rubber to be exact. I didn't see any part of her breeding partial to oil polymers.....… the Pro-Ride is not a level playing field.” DiJulio continued by making the analogy, “ It would be like playing the entire NFL season on grass and then turning around and playing the Super Bowl on a sandy beach.”

14 Jan 2010 2:52 PM

northern dancer-

 The ONLY reason that Zenyatta has more earnings is that she won the RICHEST race in America.

 Rachel Alexandra's connections are right. whoever is voting for Zenyatta is voting on one race.  You cannot compare one great race and four not-worth-talking-about races to four GREAT races, four good races, and ALL 8 RACES HAVING SOME SORT OF RECORD BROKEN.

 The two years are COMPLETELY un-comparable.

 Rachel Alexandra's year out-ways Zenyatta's in sooo many different ways.

 Rachel has my vote easily. No comparison.

 Rachel Alexandra for Horse of the Year!!!

 Rachel Alexandra IS HORSE of the YEAR!!!!

14 Jan 2010 3:12 PM


For your information, Zenyatta did not defeat the best older horse field assembled all year...Sea The Stars did that in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Zenyatta did beat the best field assembled in North America this year which included none of the horses that raced in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. However, the best horses in that field did not perform well. And she beat them on a track that she won over multiple times before.

The suggestion that Rachel is not one of the greatest fillies ever as a result of her year of racing misses what top racing writers have been saying all year...that her three year old racing season is one of the best ever by a filly -- and certainly the best ever undefeated season.

14 Jan 2010 3:27 PM

Can't particularly add to anything that's already been said here, so I'll simply agree with those who said it...

It is Horse Of The YEAR, not horse of "A" performance.

As an aside, undefeated career records have no bearing on the YEAR in question. Zenyatta can't be "credited" her entire career for 2009 votes, any more than Rachel's 2008 losses would be used against her, for 2009 votes. It's about a year, 2009, and NOTHING more than that.

The Hall Of Fame is for careers; the Eclipse awards are for the year in question.

If that's the fair-minded, unobjective and rational voting mentality of those who atually DO vote, then 2009's HOTY goes to Rachel.

14 Jan 2010 3:35 PM
Soldier Course

The NTRA Moment of the Year has gone to Zenyatta's Breeders' Cup Classic win, with a whopping 68% of the vote. The runner-up?  Rachel Alexandra's Woodward win, with 10% of the vote.

This calls to mind those immortal words, "moving like a tremendous machine" and "out there all alone" and "impossible to catch".

14 Jan 2010 3:55 PM

In determining HOY-I want to see the contestants run a mile and a quarter--at least once. Zenyatta did--she won the Breeder's Cup Race so easily. If the horses had to go around the track again, -no one was going to beat her.

She carried weight and won. She ran on a dirt track (2008) and won.

She didn't need a fast early pace which most closers do. True quality. She needs to have a date with Sea The Stars---quality champion foal all the way!!

14 Jan 2010 3:57 PM

While it is a difficult decision, I do have to go for Zenyatta. I know that 2009 should only count, but to be undefeated in 14 starts isn't something that, at least, I can ignore. Rachel is great, and she did defeat the boys 3 times, but Zenyatta defeated them in the biggest race of the year. However, IF I had a vote, I don't know if I could vote against either of them. They are both extraordinary horses, not just female horses. They both have proven that colt or filly, it doesn't matter if you're as good as they are. I do have to question, though, if Rachel could have won the Classic. She had real heat coming on her in the Woodward and though she won, if it had been a little longer of a race, and I mean just a few feet longer, she would have been caught. Like I said, they are both too good for words, but I gotta go with Z.

14 Jan 2010 4:14 PM

Rachel Alexandra without a doubt.

She defeated males 3 times in 09 in spite of decoys to burn her out in the last race. I wish we could have seen Zenyatta & her race. She' the best!!  8 wins 7 different tracks & the Preakness!!

14 Jan 2010 4:32 PM
Lost in the Fog

Rachel Alexandra for all the reasons already stated.  She's already well on her way to being the greatest filly/mare of all time, and she is certainly the best I've seen in my lifetime.  Not only that, but she had the better year.  

Not to take anything away from Zenyatta though.  She had a great year as well, and is certainly one of the best of all time.

We were better for seeing both of these great horses run.  

14 Jan 2010 4:41 PM

Rachel Alexandra is the deserving horse.  Throughout the year it is very clear that she did more.  Each race she faced was a bigger stretch, a larger challenge, and another historical mark.  Every step she took over the course of the year was harder and more demanding for her.  Beating the boys 3 times proved beyond any doubt that her talent and ability are real and repeatable - not a fluke or due to one good day.  You do not have to speculate with RA!  She's that good, and she has proven it. I think it is important to note that with her year long mounting accomplishments, the sentiment was that she would be HOY because she out did, by far, what Zenyatta was doing.  She built momentum all year long.  Zenyatta ran a spectacular race in the we will never forget.  But prior to her last race of the season, the conservative approach and lack of real challenges faced by Zenyatta makes her year pale dramatically to that of Rachel Alexandra's year.   It's by a head...but RA deserves the title.

14 Jan 2010 6:21 PM

Rachel because one race does not make a season. Zenyatta made history by winning the Classic. Rachel made history by winning the Kentucky Oaks by a record margin, she made history again by becoming the first horse to win the Preakness from the 13 gate, then made history again by beating Ruffians' time and winning margin in the Mother Goose(some say she's the greatest, so...) and then went on to make history again by defeating older males in the Woodward. See the pattern here? If Rachel doesn't win, it will be a ludicrous decision. Thought this was for Horse of the YEAR, not career.

14 Jan 2010 7:51 PM

Zenyatta is awesome i lover her i have a shirt that has her name in it and on the back it says all of her wins like the Breaders cup Clais !!! i really want Zenyatta to win horse of the year !!!!!!!! Go Zenyatta :)

14 Jan 2010 8:21 PM


Undefeated for a CAREER, not just a year. Beat the best in the World Championship.

Many didn't give her the respect she deserved before the Breeders Cup Classic, what a shame if they didn't for Horse of the Year.

14 Jan 2010 9:37 PM
Lil Darlin

I disagree with the statements that the Breeder's Cup is the biggest me, the biggest stage draws the biggest crowd, and in North America, the Kentucky Derby does and always will reign supreme. A victory in the Derby is by far the most sought after trophy.

Neither of the horses in question ran in the Derby, of course, so any statements that either competed on the biggest stage are, in my opinion, not the case.

The term "World Championship" is misleading...I'm sure folks in Europe would argue that the Arc is the true "World Championship."  If the BC were a true "World Championship," Sea the Stars would have skipped the Arc and pointed for Santa Anita.  Everyone blames RA for not showing up at the

"World Championship" but does anyone take anything away from STS for his absence?

14 Jan 2010 10:02 PM

I agree with Paula Higgins: Zenyatta is Horse of the Decade; Rachel Alexendra is Horse of the Year.  I think Zenyatta would have won the Breeders Cup Classic no matter what the surface. But neither one accomplished what the Hungarian mare Kinscem did:  Poster Kinscem, was it 54/54?  In 5 countries?

15 Jan 2010 2:43 AM


Please watch the haskell again....and tell me you dont get goosebumps when she opens up 4 lengths in a matter of 6 or 7 strides at the 1/4 pole. When all of the other horse are in full stride. Its just amazing.....add to that she ran the first 1/4 mile in a 22.4....Zenyatta never made 2 moves like that. AMAZING. People vote on feeling and unfortunately these horses final race was not on the same day.

15 Jan 2010 7:03 AM

It is painful to read comments 'against' one of these two blessed fillies.  We and racing are so lucky to have them both.  I am counting on Zenyatta coming to the Dubai World Cup, winning it and then having a date with Sea The Stars.  Neither she nor Rachel Alexandra have anything to prove to anyone.

15 Jan 2010 8:20 AM

Everyone will agree both Zenyatta and Rachel are very good/special horses; however, would anyone award the Super Bowl Trophy to a team that only wins their Division? Of course not and that is why if you want to be considered a CHAMPION you have to show up on the grandest of stages.  That is why, without question, Zenyatta is HOY.  She has also captivated mainstream America, she was recently voted the 2nd best female athlete! It appears many people are very emotional regarding this HOY vote; therefore, removing all emotion from the discussion if you want to be a Champion you must face the best on the grandest of stages and earn that right which Zenyatta did.  Don't diminish this wonderful sport by turning this into politics, we already have enough of that elsewhere.  Like they say, "the great ones earn it"!

15 Jan 2010 8:44 AM
Smoking Baby

Imagine a year where aside from the winner the Derby doesn't draw a single entrant that is ranked among the top ten three year olds on the weekly Watchmaker Watch.  The winner would be forever maligned for beating up on a weak field.  I went back and pulled one of my forms from the first weekend in May and the top ten ranked three year old fillies were.

1. Rachel Alexandra

2. Stardom Bound

3. Justwhistledixie

4. Sky Diva

5. Alpha Kitten

6. Laragh

7. Hooh Why

8. Evita Argentina

9. Haka

10. Dream Play

A quick look at the also rans in this year's Oaks...Stone Legacy, Flying Spur, Be Fair, Nan, Gabby's Golden Gal (I should admit I actually love this filly) & Tweeter.  Almost every year the Derby winner is knocked for beating a bad crop but at least the starters are some of the crop's best.  In this year's Oaks Rachel drew away from a suspect field that didn't include a single member of the top ten fillies in the country and yet we give her a pass and crown her a super horse.  It should be noted that those fillies were stopping badly behind her which contributed GREATLY to the margin of victory (do the math and check out Stone Legacy's final quarter...You'll see what I'm saying).  

I also want to address the differences between a good three year old's campaign vs. that of an older horse.  If you have a good three year old (filly or colt) your entire focus is on the first weekend in May (Derby or Oaks).  Depending on how the Derby or Oaks plays out you then re-group and decide what direction to take for the rest of the season.  If your main goal is the first weekend in May you had certainly better start preparing your horse and tightening the screws in the winter.  NOT SO with an older horse where your main focus more than likely is in the late fall.  Having said this can we really blame the connections of Zenyatta for giving her the winter off?  I don't think the 5 starts vs. 8 starts should the argument to separate these two AWESOME fillies.  ZENYATTA for Horse of the Year!!!  Just a couple more thoughts and opinions...As always...I could be wrong.

15 Jan 2010 10:33 AM


Zenyatta has the most earnings because she showed up for the Breeders Cup!

15 Jan 2010 10:51 AM
Billy's Empire

Chip, the people that are emotional do not vote. The voter's are the writers, horsemen, and members of the NTRA that vote, and they all recognize what an awesome year Rachel had, regardless if she raced on synthetic or not. I have a feeling that 98% of the people responding to this blog do not watch horseracing 4 days out of the week, they just watch it once or twice a year...

Also, there have been quite a few horse of the year that never raced in the BC, just saying. THE BC is not the benchmark for a champion, b/c some horses that won the BC race's will not be named Champion in the Eclipse Awards in 2010.

15 Jan 2010 10:55 AM

Smoking Baby,

Cant they make the same argument against Zenyattas first couple of races?

The only thing these two horses can do is race twice one at churchill and one at Santa Anita. Otherwise we can go on for years.

15 Jan 2010 11:07 AM
Windy City

RACHEL....all the way. She simply had more ambitious campain, winning all the races through the year - it says it all. Zenyatta is amazing filly and MAYBE would be able to complete even more amazing campaign, if not her connections...their resistance to meet "think outside the box" (California), cost Zenyatta HOY and maybe even better records. I'm sad to think what we may have missed by that.

15 Jan 2010 11:45 AM

Soldier Course:

Indeed the moment of the year should go to Zenyatta. This is what she deserves. Her performance in the Breeders Cup Classic was the standout single performance of the year. However, she has few other performances to supplement that performance to make the case for her winning HOTY

Rachel Alexandra won the second, fourth, fifth and sixth performances of the year. This is exactly the point that Rachel fans have been making...Zenyatta has won fantastic performance, but Rachel has so many its hard to choose which one is the best.

Personally, I think its her Preakness win since she overcame so much...the outside post, against the largest field she had ever faced, on a track she had never raced, against colts for the first time, at the longest distance she had ever raced, against a number of horses that had previously been conditioned at 10 furlongs in the previous race when her longest race had been 9 furlongs.

But there are so many others...

The Kentucky Oaks where she set a margin of victory record on the same track Zenyatta earlier in the day had scratched over.

The Haskell where she had the second fastest time...and became the second filly ever to win the race with the highest BSF -- 116 of the year.

The Woodward Stakes where she battled three older horses that were in the best form of their lives...and came through the victor.

Three steps up in class.

Three wins.

Zenyatta had one step up in class.

And one win.

15 Jan 2010 12:39 PM
Smoking Filly

Smoking Baby:

This is not an issue of too many races for Zenyatta...

Zenyatta was a four year old in 2008 and raced seven times...once in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park.

She finished the year strongly not showing any tiring...

There is not reason why she could not have raced more times or at different tracks IF her connections were serious about her HOTY candidacy.

After Rachel appeared on the scene her connections could have thrown down the gauntlet and stated that they were running in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga or the Beldame at Belmont Park, and done it whether or not Rachel was entered.

They did not.

Instead, they raced in 4 of the same races they raced in in 2008 -- no challenge at all for Zenyatta.  

As for who Rachel faced in the Kentucky Oaks...Gabby's Golden Girl is a Grade I mutliple stakes winner.

Justwhistlndixie was scratched from the Oaks race...that is not Rachel's fault...

And how many of your top ten finished in that same position at the end of the year...none right...

Instead Flashing and Gabby's Golden Gal finished in the top 10...which shows you...its not looking good on paper that is decisive its how you win on the track. This was the problem with Zenyatta's Classic field.  On paper, it looked like a tough field...but in reality...the second favorite was no factor at all.

15 Jan 2010 12:53 PM

Why do Zenyatta supporters keep talking about her overall record and who she has beaten in her career etc..etc..I agree its impressive and she may have had a better year last year ..more races and one outside of California.Winning the BC classic makes for another outstanding year but when did a HOY have only 5 races for the entire year?Her size and conformation have nothing to do with it either!!She is an impressive physical specimen but its irrelevant to this issue!

As to Rachel Alexandra beating mediocre competition so what? ..look at margin of victory and race times.She had 2nd fastest Ky Oaks and fastest Mother Goose each while winning by 20 lengths..Just 2 ticks off record in Haskel against males while winning by six lengths.1st horse to win Preakness from the 13 hole!!That's what great horses do!!!

15 Jan 2010 1:16 PM
Smoking Baby


Point taken...Yes you could make the same argument about Z's first couple of races. Zenyatta ran against much better last year than this year.  You are right.  We could go on for years about this.  I've only recently joined the frey after reading about this for months now.  I'm with you...I wish they'd have settled in on the track and then one of us would probably STILL be saying our horse was better.  I LOVE THIS SPORT!!!

15 Jan 2010 1:36 PM
Smoking Baby

Smoking Filly:

Good points.  I wish they'd shipped Zenyatta east at some point also.  And no...It certainly wasn't Rachel's fault who she faced in ANY of those races (I almost wrote that earlier but chose not to).  All I'm saying is that those fillies weren't exactly world beaters at the time although I'd sure like to own one of them (Gabby's Golden Gal if I could have my pick).

I don't want to really defend Zenyatta's campaign as I'd have preferred a trip east at some point but I will say that she ran in the same races she did last year because those are the BEST and most important races there are in California for an older filly or mare.  I agree with Shane that it's too bad they didn't run against each other.  Again...Good points.  Hard to argue against.

15 Jan 2010 1:52 PM
Rachel Did Not Duck Zenyatta in The Classic

Just an FYI...Zenyatta was not eligiible to face Rachel Alexandra in the Kentucky Oaks because it was an age restricted race for three year old fillies only. However, Rachel did race later in the day on the same track that Zenyatta's connections scratched in the Louisville Distaff. I firmly believe had Zenyatta won this race there would be a much stronger argument for her to win HOTY.

And Rachel did not "duck" Zenyatta in the Classic. Zenyatta's connections did not choose to run in the Classic until the day of the deadline day for entries...four days before the race. Rachel's connections declared that she would not be running in the Breeders Cup in May because they did not like the surface -- think it was safe.

Now, Zenyatta's connections scratched from running a race at Churchill Downs on May 1st because the track was sealed and they did not believe that the surface was safe. Zenyatta is not criticized for scratching there, but yet Rachel is criticized for not running on an unsafe surface according to her connections...

Examining the issue further...a strong, big 17 hand Summer Bird -- a colt was injured in preps for his 10th race of the year, while Rachel having raced 8 times was rested. The more delicate Rachel who had already been in training racing 11 times in 13 months...could have been injured had she raced in the BC Classic.

Just think Rachel has raced more times at the end of her two seasons of racing (14 times)than the older Zenyatta had until her last two races of this year...

But Rachel gets criticized for taking a well deserved break...

15 Jan 2010 2:04 PM

Zenyatta got away last,Zenyatta is still last,Zenyatta is moving unbeliveable Zenyatta won the classic What else can you say.


15 Jan 2010 2:18 PM
Lil Filly

Lil Darlin:

To steal from a post above by Rachel's Ego Rachel appeared on the second biggest stage by my estimate...there were 105,000 at this year's Kentucky Oaks. Zenyatta could have run in the Louisville Distaff and scratched. Rachel did run and ran into the history books in the Oaks.

She also hit these attendance marks as well...where about 250,000 people witnessed in person her 8 races this year.

Zenyatta's high mark is 58,000...for the Breeders Cup.

"The attendance at the Preakness Stakes was over 77,000...

The attendance at the Woodward Stakes was 31,000...

The attendance at the Haskell Stakes was 37,000...

The attendance at the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs where Zenyatta scratched on May 1st and Rachel ran and won...was 105,000"

15 Jan 2010 2:28 PM

Although only one horse will be named Horse of the Year, I have to speak my mind one more time.

I think many people, myself included, sincerely feel Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra are equals, and thus equally deserving to be Horse of the Year. I just don't see how, if they're equally deserving, the vote can go to only one of them. If they both earned it, give it to both. That's the logic, in my opinion.

It isn't as if there's a Co-Horse of the Year all the time. It was an extraordinary 2009, largely due to these two females, and it  calls for an extraordinary vote,  rightfully acknowledging the great mare and the super filly.

15 Jan 2010 2:30 PM
Soldier Course


My point about the NTRA Moment of the Year results was not just that Zenyatta won the poll. Rather I meant to underscore the vast difference in percentage points between #1 (Zenyatta's BC Classic) at 68% of the votes, and #2 (Rachel Alexandra's Woodward) at 10% of the vote.

I analogized this result to Secretariat's 31-length victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes because the winner in the NTRA poll was so far ahead of all other contenders.  

What, if anything, the NTRA poll results portend about Horse of the Year remains to be seen on Monday night.

15 Jan 2010 3:51 PM

Notice all of this buzz about Zenyatta possibly returning to active racing. The racing world is completely consumed by it. Sorry to say but Rachel Alexander is again put in Zenyatta's shadow.

Over in Europe they are excitedly proposing the ultimate race where Zenyatta faces Sea The Stars.

Sea The Stars is considered over in Europe as the greatest European racehorse in the last thirty years - maybe ever.

And no, they don't mention Rachel Alexander in any race.

Just recently, the world greatest handicappers met in Hong Kong and released their final 2009 rankings, and had Zenyatta leading Rachel Alexander.

Zenyatta leads in this second Bloodhorse poll 54% to 46%.

Zenyatta won an earlier poll by Bloodhorse by a similiar margin.

Zenyatta leads in the Albany Times-Union poll of New York 68 to 53.

Zenyatta leads in the Daily Racing Form poll by over 2300 votes!

Zenyatta leads in The Sporting News poll 53% to 47%.

The same goes for the CBSSports Poll, USA Today poll, Chicago Tribune poll and on and on.

Zenyatta leads in the Horseracinginsider poll 56% to 36%.

Zenyatta leads in the Thoroughbred Times poll from over 40 states and 29 countries 50% to 33%.

Zenyatta was voted the best female athlete by the Associated Press other than a human being by the sports editors for the nations' newspapers.

Zenyatta leads in the European poll (Jour de Galop) by 61% to 39%.

Zenyatta is the all time leader in Facebook followed by Sea The Stars, Seabiscuit, and Secretariat.

Zenyatta just beat Rachel Alexander in the NTRA "Moment of the Year" poll.

The people have spoken. The world has spoken. The betting public has spoken. People on the site has spoken.

But what will the determine the election - turf writers from the east coast.

15 Jan 2010 4:33 PM

ZENYATTA BABY!!! If you want to be the Best, you have to show up to race against the Best! Desirable surface or not- Only one of the two finalists put their record on the line agaist the best in the World! Unfortunately Rachels' connections did all they could to avoid a face off with Zenyatta all year long! It's not her fault she's still a wonderful filly and will light up the track again in 2010... Hands down winner ZENYATTA!

15 Jan 2010 5:51 PM

Zenyatta deserves Horse Of The Year. Not since Barbaro has the public embraced a racehorse like this one. She is the shot-in-the-arm that racing needed. The public wants her to take the top honor. I have a saying when looking at a racehorse or barrel horse: It's not what race you've won - it's who you beat. Zenyatta beat the best in the world with little effort.

15 Jan 2010 6:16 PM

I've read most of the comments and all I can say is that throughout both sides make valid points but what it all comes down to is opinion.  Everyone has a different opinion and that's what makes it interesting.  Guess we'll see Monday who gets it and really, it doesn't make any difference to either horse.  They are still the best of 2009 and they will both go down in history and into the HOF.

15 Jan 2010 6:50 PM
Lil Darlin

Lil Filly,

I do not disagree with you.  My comment is really directed at those who have somehow come to the conclusion that the BC is the biggest stage in North America. It couldn't be farther from the truth.  Casual fans watch the Derby, watch the Preakness, and, if there's a chance of a Triple Crown, they watch the Belmont. And then the season is done for them (an unfortunate reality for the sport).  

As for those who think this year's field in the Classic was the deepest in years...they said the same thing last year, and the year before that, and the year before that...the truth is, we had:

Zenyatta (who I agree is an unbelievable mare with an incredible amount of untapped potential)

Summer Bird, who's owners had moved him away from Cali months before because he was not performing well on poly

Mine that Bird who I love but, let's be honest, was not the same as he was during the TC races

Gio Ponti, a turf champion

Einstein, who's performances the second half of the season were not anything like his first half

Rip Van Winkle and Colonel John, who obviously did not perform as we thought they would

Richard's Kid, Awesome Gem, Regal Ransom...nice horses, but I wouldn't count them as comprising one of the deepest fields in history.

Bottom line is that Zenyatta ran a spectacular race, it takes a real horse to close the way she did with a moderate/slow pace.  But deepest field in years? Seriously that's just silly talk.

I will ALSO agree that Rachel faced some weak fields this year, but in her defense she set multiple race/track records in the process.  Regardless of the field of the Oaks, the bottom line is RA holds the record for margin of victory in a race that has been run since 1875.  She broke Ruffian's record in the MG and came close to Secretariat's while gearing down well before the wire. When you run as fast as two of the fastest horses in history, it doesn;t matter if there's 10, 5, or 2 other her, she was the ONLY horse in that race!

15 Jan 2010 6:59 PM


Polls have nothing to do with it because the only people voting in these polls are the ones who have followed racing for years or shall I say people who know about these different sites.

I only started watching because of Rachel & I know several others who did also.  We do not know where all of these sites are and therefore cannot vote for Rachel.  These opinion polls do not cover the millions of new fans that Rachel brought to the game.  As a matter of a fact a lot of people never heard of Zenyatta until they heard of Rachel first, like me.  

When a horse makes the times top 10 sports moments that shows how they have crossed over.  Zenyatta has a lot of loyal fans who want her to win and there is nothing wrong with that.  But Rachel is the one who put horse racing on the map again in.  Rachel has crossed over into the mainstream which means that she surpasses these common places where you can find out about horse racing.

Zenyatta will always be special to her fans but she will not be horse of the year.  Because she doesn't deserve it.  There is no comparison in what she did in 2009 and what Rachel did in 2009.  Everything that Zenyatta did, Rachel did better.  

Zenyatta beat the boys once, Rachel did it 3 times.  Zenyatta beat the girls, Rachel destroyed them.  Zenyatta was 5 for 5.  Rachel was 8 for 8.

Zenyatta made history 1 time, Rachel made history 7+ times.  Zenyatta had 1 performance considered for moment of the year, Rachel had 4.  

Zenyatta's fans and supporters only talk about 1 of her races from the entire 2009 season, Rachel's fans and supporters talk about all 8 of hers.

Zenyatta only raced in 1 state, Rachel raced in 6.  Do you see the pattern here.

Rachel also has the highest beyer time of 116 of any horse this year.  For whatever reason people think that Zeyatta would have beat Rachel on the track I have to wonder what angle you are looking at.

If Zenyatta had raced that day Rachel won by 20 lengths she would have been back there with the rest of the girls.  Maybe futher ahead of them but no where near Rachel.

One thing Rachel has showed me is that when challenged she only gets faster.  It is hard for me to imagine Zenyatta or anyone beating her when she can up it like that still after leading the pack.

Zenyatta's fans have to bring her entire career together by constantly saying that she is 14 for 14 which happened over 3 years.  While Rachel's fans only have to mention 1 year.

When the argument is not even strong enough to focus on 1 year alone that should be telling.  If you take the BC away from the conversation there is nothing left to talk about for Zenyatta in 2009.  If you take the Preakness out of the conversation for Rachel she still has 7 other races to talk about.  Anyone who wants to give the victory to a horse who only had major success once in 2009 and wants to take it away from the horse who had major success throughout the year is ok with the new hire who just got the promotion you have been working your butt off all year to get because she went to one meeting that you did not attend.  Even though you attended 8 other meetings with much praise.

No one in that situation would be happy.  The harder worker is always the one who should get the promotion because they did the long hours while the new hire was resting.

Zenyatta does not touch Rachel in 2009, no one does.

Rachel Alexandra is the undisputed Horse of the Year.

These opinion polls are will never be remembered.  The only thing that matters is when the truth sounds on Monday night it will sound like Rachel Alexandra the 2009 HORSE OF THE YEAR!!!!!!!

15 Jan 2010 7:38 PM

Rachel Alexandra for HOY because she raised the bar on herself every time she raced. From the day she won the Oaks, she stopped racing fillies we expected her to beat and began testing herself against ever more impressive company. A 3-year old filly who could do all that and end up beating older males surely put in a Horse of the Year season. Her opponent was really only at risk once; Rachel risked her win-string every time she raced. HOY is, after all, not a Breeders Cup award; it's a seasonal accomplishment award. Do I wish she'd met Zenyatta? Of course I do! Zenyatta is a phenomenon! But the welfare of the filly is paramount and her team made their decision based on that fact. Either girl is a viable choice. I just think Rachel's a little more viable!

15 Jan 2010 8:38 PM
Greg J.


    Up for Auction on E-Bay is a Zenyatta Worn Halter that would be a priceless piece to own. It comes with a Letter of Authenticity stating that the halter was worn by Zenyatta in December 2009, It is signed by trainer John Shirreffs and exercise rider Steve Willard, Also, Three beautiful 8x10 prints of Zenyatta wearing the halter!

    One Hundred percent of the money goes to Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue(SCTR), They specialize in the auction rescue, rehabilitation, and re-homing of thoroughbred ex-racehorses. Besides a chance at owning a piece of History, You are also helping many Horses that need the help.

Here is a link Zenyatta's Halter:

Thank You...

15 Jan 2010 11:29 PM
Jonas luva

Zenyatta and I know that beacause this morning I was up early walking aroound my neighbor hood thinking who will win and I look up at the sky and it's painted Tourquoize and pink Zenyatta's colors!

16 Jan 2010 11:39 AM

just like Jerry Bailey said Rachel took the easy road, and didn’t run in the Travers.

Mike Smith declaring Zenyatta is not only HOTY but "horse of the decade".

Zenyatta 2009 "horse of the year".

16 Jan 2010 12:10 PM
Rachel Girl

Rachel Alexandra is definatly the horse of the year because even though they were both undefeated Rachel Alexandra started out with the fillies, she beat them, then she went for the boys and beat them too!! Then, she took on the older boys and beat them too!! i dont think zenyatta did all that in her second year of racing!!

16 Jan 2010 12:23 PM

RACHEL won NYRA story of the Year!! hooray for the SUPER FILLY!


16 Jan 2010 1:01 PM

Rachel Deserves Horse of The Year

8-8 for this season beating out of the countrys best colts at 3yrs old. Winning Preakness, Woodward, Oaks, and Haskell. What more could you want for a filly. She has accomplished alot in her 3yr old campagin... and winning 20 lengths in the oaks will be in my mind for ever what a tour de force as the announcer said.

16 Jan 2010 1:13 PM
J and J

I admire both RA and Zen but I think you have to show up at the Big Show no matter what. I feel so bad for Curlin. He didn't win the race but still got HOY! Sometime's you just have to show up!

16 Jan 2010 2:17 PM

Jess Jackson only didn't want Rachel Alexandra to get beat, so he didn't enter her in the Breeders Cup.

Rachel Alexandra already won on the synthetic track.

16 Jan 2010 3:47 PM

I personally think that ZENYATTA is the best American horse of 2009 - with her showstopping, pulse-raising and dominating performance at the Breeders Cup Classic, galloping away from a strong field of male G1 horse runners, and making history as the first mare to do so.

Her unblemished record stands out as well, surpassing Personal Ensign's, and proving that she can outclass horses outside her division. It is but rightful to honor her, Queen Zenyatta indeed!

But RACHEL ALEXANDRA is an earstwhile conqueror. While Zenyatta ruled over her kingdom in California, Rachel Alexandra, like Alexander the Great, built her empire across America, orgainzed her different battles that beat horses - male or female - she faced in jaw-dropping fashion, and disembarking a remarkable campaign for the ages (with record-shattering performances that surpassed Ruffian's and almost Secretariat's)! Thus, she is rightfully be called Rachel Alexandra The Great!

Zenyatta may be the better horse, and will always be a queen, but Rachel's impressive conquest for 2009 indicatively puts her a neck forward as she conquered the hearts of the many. Now, will somebody please call God to save the queen!

Therefore, with not much ado, RACHEL ALEXANDRA wins HOTY 2009!

16 Jan 2010 3:53 PM
chris v

i voted for zenyatta,solely for the fact that her win in the breeders cup was thoroughly breathtaking. however, i believe it would be fitting to see both zenyatta and rachel alexandra take the horse of the year honor since both did splendidly well and, really it's hard to separate the two horses accomplishments even if they race against each other and one of course beats the other. who knows, they might even cross the finish line dead heat tied for first! that would be awesome!

17 Jan 2010 4:05 PM
Laura House

I went to the source and asked the horse.  You need merely look into their eyes.  Simple.  Two legacy's of their own historical right.  One a woman and one a girl.  Neither of them care about an award.. but THEY BOTH want to tell the world to let them RUN versus becoming a broodmare.  Zenyatta  wants to show the world that she is every bit as talented as Curlin, and Rachel looks bored, as if to say, "What does it take to get respect, Zenyatta? Talk to me and share your wisdom.  What good does it do to be perfect, light up the world, provide fans with excellence and greatness......when our fate is to become baby making machines??" HUMANS award money and trophies ..HORSES just want to keep having a vote to stay in the game!!!

18 Jan 2010 7:32 AM

my vote went to Rachel Alexandra because i feel Rachel had the more impressive year,sure Zenyatta beat the boys in the Classic,but that was one time and Rachel beat the boys 3xs..I don't feel that HOY should be decided on one race alone...also I would have liked to see Zenyatta travel more and race out of her comfort zone..And for everyone saying Rachel should have been in the Classic, Dr.Larry Bramalege himself said that Jess Jackson and Steve Assmussen were smart to stop racing Rachel when they did...that she needed a rest.I feel that Rachel should get it this year and Zenyatta can win next year, now that we know that Zenyatta will indeed be racing in 2010

18 Jan 2010 8:36 AM
Gail G.

Both horses should win HOY.  But if that's not doable

Zenyatta should get it because Rachel is still young and could win any year that follows. Best of luck to the


18 Jan 2010 1:48 PM

my vote has to go to Rachel she was absolutely amazing this yr when you think about it she really kind of won a TC she won the 1st race of the Tiara the 2nd race of the Crown and the 3rd race of the Tiara she had a real season throughout the whole year where as Zenyatta saved it all for 1 race she won all her races this year on 7 different tracks and beat Ruffian's margin of victory in the Oaks and she beat and ran against the boys in 3 races where as Zenyatta only ran against the boys in 1 only 1 and only had I beleive 4 races against the girls

18 Jan 2010 5:53 PM

The Breeder's Cup Classic is Horse Racing's "Super Bowl." Rachel Alexandra's team had the opportunity to end the argument over which horse deserves to be "Horse of the Year" once and for all, by simply entering that race as did Zenyata, and letting the Horses themselves decide the matter.  But rather than facing Zenyata and putting Rachel's perfect record on the line against Zenyata on the track, Rachel's team chose to take the easy way out.  Therefore, Zenyata MUST be given the Horse of the Year award because she didn't "duck out" when the chips were down, but rather, did what any TRUE champion does:  She put everything on the line in the biggest contest that she could enter, and she beat them all.  The fact that she did not beat Rachel is not Zenyata's fault because she could only beat the horses who showed up.  And rachel failed to show.  END OF ARGUMENT!!!!!

18 Jan 2010 7:49 PM

What a decision to make.  These type horses don't come around too often, and here we have two.  How can we pick which one should be the best?  To me they are both the best, they have raced their hearts out this year for all of us.  

18 Jan 2010 9:15 PM

This was a year that all of us were privileged to witness when racing history was made that many later will say they wished they could have seen these great champions. I wish I could have seen them in person. I don't think I ever saw a race such as Rachel's Woodward or will likely see again. In my opinion HOY had to be Rachel Alexandra. I thank Jess Jackson and the Mosses for giving us the opportunity to see these champions.

19 Jan 2010 3:54 AM

At least if i could not be shared,they picked the right one.Now RA will be 4 yr old and cant wait for them to hook up,my worry here is if it's a filly  race who else will enter,i dont want to see a match race.

19 Jan 2010 5:45 AM
Linda in Texas

Now that Rachel Alexandra has captured Horse of The Year, as my grandfather taught me from an early age, if you are not the winner, and you gave it everything you could muster, be gracious to the one who did win. So congratulations Mr/Mrs Jackson and Rachel Alexandra. And know that your team has been a part of the most exciting year in racing for the 'ladies' that i have ever had the privilege of watching. May both Rachel and Zenyatta have a Happy and Healthy 2010. And a special thankyou to The Mosses for raising such a wonderful 'lady.'

It is hard though to index the fact that Zenyatta will go down in the books as a loser and i just cannot accept that and haven't since this competition began. From the getgo i posted that i would not want to look Zenyatta in the eye and tell her she lost and is a loser. The Mosses hopefully won't tell her.  If Zenyatta is a loser, my goodness, what are those of us Zenyatta fans?  

19 Jan 2010 10:00 AM
Judy G ~ Burbank, CA

Rachel Alexandra may have won HOY, but ZEN didn't "lose" in my heart. I've always adored both girls!

I can only hope and pray that both MARES accomplishment wonderful things for our racing history books for future generations!

Thank you Mr. & Mrs Jerry Moss. Thank you Mr. Jess Jackson. Please keep them healthy, safe & happy!

19 Jan 2010 11:58 PM

It's little bit late

My vote goes to ZENYATTA

Rachel is great, but ZENYATTA is better.

20 Jan 2010 9:20 AM

Well, in the poll Zenyatta may have won...but it seems like the voters were persuaded by Rachel Alexandra's arguments.

I felt bad for the Mosses who seemed to take it very hard. You could truly tell that they deeply love Zenyatta. And I felt bad for Jess Jackson who seemed apologetic almost after winning the award. There was a lot of human drama in the room.

I actually think the Mosses received some bad advice when it was suggested that five races would be adequate to earn her HOTY with one of them being a Grade II even if the intention all along was to run in the Breeders Cup Classic.

As a result of this, I was not surprised in the slightest that Rachel won by the margin she did.  

And this award does need to be kept in perspective. While it is sought after by owners, and trainers, and really has little bearing on anything since it is based on the attitudes of the humans involved and not an unbiased standard/formula.

There were no losers that night.

And with Zenyatta's announcement that she will run...and the intention of Rachel's connections to have her run if ready and able...this could be another incredible year of racing. So again, we the fans are the true beneficiaries.  

20 Jan 2010 3:27 PM
Rachel Alexandra can you think that Zenyatta will go down in the history books as a loser?

Did Personal Ensign go down as a loser?

Did Winning Colors and Genuine Risk?

Zenyata won the Breeders Cup Classic...the only mare to do so...

She is a multiple year champion.

Someone I respect, admire and hope to be able to race like in the near future.

Zenyatta knows she is a winner. Her record tells us that. Her eyes tell her that. A couple of sports writers cannot take that away from her...not one bit.

I had a spectacular year. I earned my first championship...but it was not on the track. It was as a result of votes. Zenyatta you have two championships as a result of racing on the track.

I hope to earn my first this year...on the track.

20 Jan 2010 3:34 PM

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