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Feb 12, 2010

Jackson proposes race series between Rachel and Zenyatta


Santa Rosa, CA (Sports Network) - A three race series between 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and champion mare Zenyatta has been floated by Rachel co-owner Jess Jackson.

"The fans have spoken. The media has spoken. Everyone wants to see Rachel race against Zenyatta - including me," said Jackson. "In fact, I want it to happen several times this year. We have been in discussions with Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of National Thoroughbred Racing Association, with the hope of coordinate training schedules, racing schedules, purses and all ancillary factors, so that we can all agree upon three dates and three venues for what will be a racing series to rival the Triple Crown."

The proposal by Jackson comes just days after Oaklawn Park announced that its Apple Blossom Stakes would have a purse of $5 million if both horses run. On Wednesday Jackson said that his filly will not be ready to run at Oaklawn Park versus Zenyatta.

"Out of respect for the level of competition and the importance of this race, I have told Mr. Jackson it was not in the best interest of the horse to race on April 3," trainer Steve Asmussen stated. "Getting to this level of fitness after a six-month layoff takes time. If all goes according to schedule, and we do not have any further weather delays, the earliest we could have a prep race would be the middle of March. It is then not fair to Rachel to ask her to race again three weeks later."

Jackson, who owns Rachel Alexandra along with Hal McCormick, is proposing a three race series that would feature the four-year-old filly and the six-year- old Zenyatta.

"The NTRA will continue to do everything possible to facilitate a meeting or series of races between Champions Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta," said Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of NTRA. "We look forward to further discussions with the connections of both horses."

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