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Mathea Kelley

It's Zenyatta Over Rachel in World Rankings

Breeders' Cup Mile winner Goldikova was highest ranking female.


Zenyatta has received another boost, with the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner rated one pound ahead of Rachel Alexandra in the World Thoroughbred Rankings comprising horses that raced worldwide last year and achieved a rating of 115 or more. But Goldikova earned the top ranking of any other female.

Zenyatta was awarded a rating of 128, with her arch rival at 127, by the official handicappers that came together at the end of 2009 to compile the WTR, which are organized by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.

Zenyatta gained her 128 rating in two races—the Breeders’ Cup Classic, in which she came from last to first at Santa Anita Park in November, and the Milady Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park in her seasonal debut in May.

Race for Horse of the Year
Race For Horse of the YearView Slideshow

Rachel Alexandra achieved her best of 127 in three races, the first two of which she won by about 20 lengths—the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 1, the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park in June, and the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park in August.

"Zenyatta is the highest-rated filly or mare on a non-turf surface since Inside Information (129) in 1995," said Gerry O’Gorman, co-chairman of the World Rankings Supervisory Committee and senior flat handicapper for the Irish Turf Club. "That was the year North America joined the International Classification process, and since then no 3-year-old filly on a non-turf surface has come near to matching the achievements of Rachel Alexandra."

Despite the intense focus over whether Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra will be awarded the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year, the French filly Goldikova, winner of four group/grade I events during the year, was judged the top female with a rating of 130. She won the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I) in 2008 and 2009.

Not surprisingly, the accolade of the best horse in the world during 2009 went to Sea The Stars, who was unbeaten in six group I contests on turf from May to October. The colt was rated at 136 for his performance in the 10-furlong Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) in September.