RACHEL WINS 130 to 99

In a hotly contested two-horse race, the voters chose Rachel Alexandra as Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards on Monday night at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The first filly to win the Preakness Stakes in 85 years received 130 votes to 99 for Zenyatta in one of the tightest, most widely debated competitions in years.

“Either filly deserved this award,” said Jess Jackson, principal owner of Rachel Alexandra. “There has never been another year like this for fillies.”

“Zenyatta’s never lost, she’s perfect,” Moss said. “Nobody’s beaten her on the racetrack, so they beat her by proxy as far as I’m concerned.”

Moss and wife, Ann, announced Saturday the mighty mare will run as a 6-year-old, perhaps setting up that long-awaited meeting with Rachel Alexandra. The two glamour girls never raced each other despite capturing the public’s imagination with rousing victories over the boys.

As expected, Zenyatta won the Eclipse Award as the top older female for the second straight year while Rachel Alexandra was voted top 3-year-old filly. Her trainer, Steve Asmussen, took home the award for top trainer after breaking his own record for victories in a year.

The Eclipse Awards are voted on by members of the National Turf Writers’ Association, the Daily Racing Form and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

This year’s ceremony was dedicated to Bobby Frankel, who died of cancer Nov. 16. Winners throughout the night paid tribute to the Hall-of-Fame trainer, who won Eclipse Awards as top trainer five times, including four straight from 2000-2003.