I am not Orson Welles (or else I would have been married to Rita Hayworth), but I can sense a War Of The Worlds when I see one. The Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park has been moved back to Friday, April 9, one day before the closing day of the Oaklawn meet and now part of their Fesitval Of The South.
This news means that it is now likely that both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta will be able to participate, the purse will be $5,000,000, and the racing (and sports) world will get the long-awaited matchup between the two best horses in training right now. Rachel Alexandra's owner, Jess Jackson, had said on Wednesday that there was no way that Rachel would be ready for the original date of the Apple Blossom, Saturday, April 3. Apparently, the extra six days were necessary to have the Horse Of The Year ready to go at full strength.
Oaklawn Park owner Charles Cella maintains that all of the parties necessary (Jackson and Zenyatta's owners, Jerry and Ann Moss) have agreed to the new date and all of the conditions of the race he had put forth earlier. So, this all means that we are just short of two months away from finally seeing the race we all had hoped to see in 2009, when both horses were finalists for Horse Of The Year. Both horses have been working out and I am sure that the intensity of those works will start to accelerate as the date draws near. What will the end result be? Only time will tell, but I have the feeling that whatever it is, it will be good for the game at a time when it needs it most.
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!