The biggest debate in the Thoroughbred racing world will officially be settled tonight when the Horse of the Year is awarded at the Eclipse Awards in California. Throughout much of the season industry insiders have argued over which horse is the most deserving: either Zenyatta, the dominant winner of 14 straight races, including the Breeder's Cup; or Rachel Alexandra, the breakout sensation who bested males and females on a variety of surfaces during her infamous 2009 campaign. To be honest my vote is with Zenyatta, though I think Rachel is the cuter, and sassier of the two ladies. Zenyatta's massive win in the Breeder's Cup, coming from behind to clear the field of all doubt as to her mastery, and accomplishing an unparalleled feat in being the first mare to win the Classic, puts her in the top spot to claim the HOY prize. Besides, Rachel has her four-year-old year to look forward to, and could also become a contender next season.
But perhaps even BIGGER news is that of Zenyatta's confirmed return to racing next year. Trainer John Sherrifs has indicated that his camp might be interested in seeing whether Zenyatta could turn in a repeat performance in next year's Breeder's Cup and win the storied race twice in a row. Zenyatta's won't run in the Dubai World Cup, but giving her another season at the races might reopen the possibility of a match-up with Rachel Alexandra. The horse's owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, are also considering running Zenyatta on non-synthetic tracks, opening up a wide swath of opportunities for the mare to prove her prowess all across the world. Sounds like 2010 will be an exciting one for the ladies!