The 2009 Race for Horse of the Year

Chronicling the 2009 seasons of Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta.

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The Race of the Year for Horse of the Year

Photo: Blood-horse

Rachel Alexandra made her 3-year old debut in the Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn on February 15, winning by 8 lengths and establishing a new stakes record.

Photo: Coady Photography

The Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) was run on a sloppy track on March 14, but Rachel Alexandra was in control from the beginning and geared down late.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Rachel Alexandra returned to Oaklawn for her next start on April 5, winning the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) by 8 plus lengths under a hand ride.

Photo: Coady Photography

Zenyatta was scheduled to make her seasonal debut in the Louisville Distaff (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on May 1, but was scratched on account of rain.

Photo: Mathea Kelley

That same day at Churchill Downs, Rachel Alexandra romped in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I),

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

leaving the rest some 20 lengths behind.

Photo: Mike Corrado

After the Kentucky Oaks, Rachel Alexandra was purchased by Jess Jackson.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

And 2 weeks later, she took on the boys in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico, defeating Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, and 11 others.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Zenyatta made her much-anticipated 5-year-old debut on May 23 in the Milady (gr. II) at Hollywood Park. She didn't disappoint, cruising over stablemate Life Is Sweet for her 10th straight win.

Photo: Benoitphoto.com

Ann and Jerry Moss purchased Zenyatta at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2005, for a bargain price of $60,000.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Both Horse of the Year candidates were in action on June 27. Rachel Alexandra faced just 2 in the Mother Goose (gr. I), setting a new stakes record, and winning by close to 20 lengths.

Photo: Adam Coglianese

Around 15 minutes later, Zenyatta took the Vanity (gr. I) at Hollywood, carrying 129 pounds.

Photo: Benoitphoto.com

After the Vanity, jockey Mike Smith gave thanks.

Photo: Benoitphoto.com

Rachel Alexandra was back in against the boys on August 2, taking the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on a sloppy track at Monmouth.

Photo: Jessica Denver/equi-photo

Zenyatta won a squeaker in the Clement L. Hirsch (gr. I) at Del Mar on August 9, just getting up over Anabaa's Creation.

Photo: Benoitphoto.com

In Rachel Alexandra's final race of the year, she won the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) on September 5 at Saratoga, defeating older males.

Photo: Adam Coglianese

Next up for Zenyatta was the Lady's Secret (gr. I) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita on October 10, which she won by a comfortable margin.

Photo: Benoitphoto.com

Zenyatta saved the best for last, becoming the first female to win the Breeders' Cup Classic. It was also win number 14 in her perfect career.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Zenyatta brought a lot of smiles to the face of trainer John Shirreffs.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Trainer Steve Asmussen shares a quiet moment with his filly Rachel Alexandra.

Photo: Jim Mccue/maryland Jockey Club

Zenyatta was known for her dance moves.

Photo: Benoitphoto.com

But, Rachel Alexandra had a few of her own.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Cover Girls: Rachel Alexandra after the Woodward.

Photo: Blood-horse

Zenyatta after her Breeders' Cup Classic Triumph.

Photo: Blood-horse

Two Great Choices for Horse of the Year: Rachel Alexandra 2009: 8 starts, 8 wins, 5 grade I wins, earned $2,746,924

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Zenyatta 2009: 5 starts, 5 wins, 4 grade I wins, earned $3,300,000

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

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