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Big money still won't sway Rachel Alexander to come west

Breeders' Cup had offered a $1-million increase to the winner's share of the Breeders' Cup Classic if both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta started.

September 12, 2009|Eric Sondheimer

Call it a Hail Mary pass for the Breeders' Cup -- and an incomplete pass at that.

Less than two months before racing's world championship comes to Santa Anita, the Breeders' Cup said Friday that it will add $1 million to the winner's share of the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 7 if both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta start in the $5-million race.

The winner's share in the 1 1/4 -mile race would increase to $3.7 million. The problem is that Jess Jackson, owner of 3-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra, has said repeatedly that he would not run his horse on Santa Anita's synthetic track.

And late Friday, Jackson said Rachel Alexandra wouldn't run in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Jackson said he was humbled by the interest his filly has generated, but "Rachel already has completed a brilliant long campaign," the Associated Press reported.

Jackson put an end to the possibility of facing Zenyatta at the Breeders' Cup, reiterating that he dislikes Santa Anita's synthetic surface. "These false tracks create potential for injury, a risk I am not willing to take with Rachel," he said in a statement to the AP.

Rachel Alexandra is the leading candidate for horse of the year after winning eight consecutive races this year.

Zenyatta, a 5-year-old mare, is 12 for 12 in her racing career. Racing interests have been trying to bring together the two female horses all summer.

Jackson has indicated Rachel Alexandra could be finished racing this year after becoming the first filly to win last weekend's Woodward Stakes.

-- Eric Sondheimer

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