Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, elected to Racing Hall of Fame
Two of thoroughbred racing’s most beloved superstars in the past decade – Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra – never faced each other on the track, but will go into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., together this summer.
The two mares were elected today to the Hall of Fame on their first time on the ballot. The other inductees are jockey Ramon Dominguez and one of Rachel Alexandra’s trainers, Steve Asmussen.
Zenyatta, 2010 Horse of the Year, and Rachel Alexandra, who won the same honor a year earlier, were chosen from among 10 finalists that included Breeders’ Cup Sprint champ Kona Gold, Breeders’ Cup Turf winner English Channel and Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza.
An induction ceremony is set Aug. 12.
Zenyatta – arguably one of the most popular horses of either sex in recent memory – won 19 consecutive races, including the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic, before losing narrowly to Blame in her final race in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. The daughter of Street Cry is owned by Jerry and Ann Moss.
Rachel Alexandra won 13 of her 19 starts, including a whopping 20 ¼-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks for owner Dolphus Morrison and trainer Hal Wiggins. The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro was subsequently sold to Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick to be trained by Asmussen, and promptly went on to beat Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird in the Haskell Invitational and older male rivals in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga.
Dominguez won Eclipse Awards for outstanding jockey for three consecutive years between 2010 and 2012 before retiring in 2013 because of an injury. He piloted 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and also rode Gio Ponti, Better Talk Now, Little Mike and Hansen.
Along with Rachel Alexandra, Asmussen trained 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year Curlin. Asmussen won the Eclipse Award for top trainer in 2008 and 2009 and ranks second in all-time career wins.