The much-anticipated racing showdown between unbeaten Zenyatta and 2009 horse of the year Rachel Alexandra scheduled for April 9 in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park is off. Rachel Alexandra's owner, Jess Jackson, said in a statement Sunday that his horse is not in top condition and will skip the race.
Rachel Alexandra, a 4-year-old filly, finished second Saturday to Zenyatta's stablemate, Zardana, in the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies, her first race in six months. On the same day, the 6-year-old Zenyatta won her 15th consecutive race, winning the Grade I $250,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap at Santa Anita.
"Yesterday's race, while a disappointment, helped us define Rachel Alexandra's racing condition," Jackson said. "While she is healthy, just as I had anticipated, she is not in top form. Therefore, I decided today she will not be going" to Oaklawn for the race.
If both horses had raced, the Apple Blossom purse would have been raised to $5 million. Now it will revert back to $500,000. Zenyatta still intends to compete in the Apple Blossom.
"We're disappointed that we're not going to be able to face each other in the Apple Blossom," said Jerry Moss, owner of Zenyatta. "Hopefully, we can meet down the line."