Emailed from Breeders' Cup (Not holding my breath...)
BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC WINNER'S SHARE TO BE WORLD RECORD IF RACHEL ALEXANDRA AND ZENYATTA RUN
LEXINGTON, Ky. (September 11, 2009) - In an unprecedented enticement to bring horse racing fans the strongest possible field for the 2009 Breeders' Cup World Championships, the Breeders' Cup Board today authorized an increase of $1 million to the winner's share of the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on November 7 if undefeated five-year-old mare Zenyatta and three-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra both start in the race.
Adding the $1 million would raise the base winner's share of the Classic from $2.7 million to $3.7 million, making the winner's share the richest of any race in the world this year.
"Racing fans around the world have made it clear that they would like to see Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta face each other and the best horses from the US and Europe in the Breeders' Cup Classic," said Greg Avioli, President and CEO of Breeders' Cup, Ltd. "While we respect that the race has not been under consideration by Rachel Alexandra's connections, we wanted to make sure that the Breeders' Cup did everything in its power to make the prospect of competing at Santa Anita in November as attractive as possible."
The 26th Breeders' Cup World Championships will be hosted by the Oak Tree Racing Association at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 6-7.
"The Oak Tree Racing Association would be honored to host this most anticipated battle of racing’s greatest female stars in the Classic,” said Sherwood C. Chillingworth, Executive Vice President of the Oak Tree Racing Association. “The racing surface at Santa Anita is both fair and safe as the results of the 25th Breeders' Cup at Oak Tree showed last year when over 150 of the world’s top horses with all different running styles and surface experience competed safely over the two days of racing. We believe that California's medication rules combined with Breeders' Cup's elite testing and security procedures ensure the highest standards of integrity for staging the best competition we can for racing fans across the world.”
Owned by Jess Jackson and Harold McCormick and trained by Steve Asmussen, Rachel Alexandra has dominated US racing this year, going undefeated in eight starts and winning the Kentucky Oaks against her own sex and age division, beating three-year-old males in the Preakness and the Haskell and, most recently, defeating older male horses in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga. Zenyatta, owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, is undefeated in 12 career starts, won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic and the 2008 Eclipse Award as champion Older Filly or Mare. Zenyatta has won all three of her starts this year, the Milady and Vanity Handicaps at Hollywood Park, and the Clement Hirsch at Del Mar.