Where is the buzz?
Updated: June 14, 2010, 4:43 PM ETBy Paul Moran | Special to ESPN.com
With the midpoint of 2010 hard upon us, the prospect of a meeting between Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, so keenly anticipated since the debate over which was more deserving of Horse of the Year honors in 2009, remains no more than that -- a prospect. It appears unlikely that they will face one another any time soon. With her 17th victory in Sunday's Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park, the undefeated Zenyatta surpassed Citation and Cigar's historic winning streaks by an American champion, an almost incomprehensible accomplishment that will long be savored in the collective memory of those who have witnessed the drama of unfolding perfection. Rachel Alexandra, meanwhile, has encountered a bit of adversity in the current season, though after a pair of defeats she appears to have righted the ship with a solid victory over the weekend in the Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs. Nevertheless, those two defeats have removed at least some of the blush from the rose, leaving the reigning Horse of the Year in the shadow of Zenyatta's continued infallibility. If Rachel Alexandra's principal owner, Jess Jackson, harbors hopes of his 4-year-old filly winning another Eclipse Award, he must seek out a meeting with Zenyatta, who is now the sole occupant of the driver's seat in the older female division. With Zenyatta having moved to a clear lead in this perceived -- if entirely academic -- rivalry, the thing that should be foremost in the immediate plans of her connections would be focusing on exposing their magnificent mare to a wider audience. It was evident, even from a simulcast vantage point a continent away Sunday, that the massive Zenyatta is a beloved figure in California. She drew a crowd to Hollywood Park and put on a show in the best Tinseltown tradition. Not only does she not lose, she exudes personality and has an unmistakable presence, a self-awareness manifest in only the very best of horses. But she has ventured outside California only twice, both times for races at Oaklawn Park, where an anticipated $5 million spring meeting with Rachel Alexandra failed to materialize. Zenyatta might not have a great deal to gain by racing outside her home state before the Breeders' Cup in November, but she has -- in addition to building upon her own legend in progress -- the potential to do much for the sport.
Horsephotos.comZenyatta caught St Trinians in the final sixteenth to win the Vanity and stay unbeaten.
Everything Cigar did was a major story on a national scale. Though she may be the best horse we've seen in years and owner of the longest winning streak ever assembled by an American champion, Zenyatta is not a media star in the mainstream.
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