The Breeders’ Cup board of directors Sept. 11 said the organization will increase the purse of the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) by $1 million if the filly and the mare start in the 1 1/4-mile event Nov. 7 at Santa Anita Park.
The winner’s share of the Classic would be $3.7 million under the incentive scenario.
“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 U.S. and Europe in the Breeders’ Cup Classic,” Breeders’ Cup president and chief executive officer Greg Avioli said after a Breeders’ Cup board meeting held in Lexington. “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.”
Jess Jackson, majority owner of Rachel Alexandra, quickly shot down the possibility of his filly participating in the Breeders' Cup. Jackson told the Associated Press Sept. 11 that "Rachel already has completed a brilliant, long campaign...these false (synthetic) tracks create potential for injury, a risk I am not willing to take with Rachel."
Jerry and Ann Moss, who own Zenyatta, intend to race the undefeated mare in one of the Breeders’ Cup events Nov. 6-7.
The World Championships, like last year, will be held at Santa Anita but under the auspices of the Oak Tree Racing Association. Sherwood Chillingworth, executive vice president of Oak Tree, issued a statement in defense of the racing surface’s safety and other integrity programs.
“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 more than 150 of the world’s top horses with all different running styles and surface experience competed safely over the two days of racing,” Chillingworth said. “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.”
Zenyatta has won all but one of her races on synthetic surfaces. Rachel Alexandra raced once on a synthetic surface—Polytrack at Keeneland—and won last year during her 2-year-old season.
The New York Racing Association is attempting to get the two top female horses to compete in the Beldame Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park in early October.