06/26/2009 11:00PM

Moss wants Zenyatta to face Rachel

Benoit & Associates
Zenyatta's owner Jerry Moss, shown with his wife, Ann, said Saturday that Zenyatta may race outside California this year and that he would like her to face Rachel Alexandra.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Don't rule out a Zenyatta-Rachel Alexandra showdown this year just yet.

Saturday morning, in an interview on the "Down the Stretch" radio show on Sirius XM radio, Jerry Moss, the owner of Zenyatta, said "there's a good chance" Zenyatta would leave Southern California to race this year and that he "would very much like" to see his mare face Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra.

Moss said no decision on Zenyatta's schedule would be made until after trainer John Shirreffs assesses how the mare comes out of Saturday's Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Zenyatta scored her 11th victory in as many career starts in the Vanity. Rachel Alexandra posted her seventh straight victory with a romp in Saturday's Grade 1 Mother Goose at Belmont Park.

"Obviously, we take it race to race," Moss said. "[Shirreffs] is going to need a week to see how she's come through this . . . then maybe we'll say something about where our next start will be, and it could be out of the state for certain."

Last Wednesday, in a conference call to preview the Mother Goose, Jess Jackson, the owner of Rachel Alexandra, said his filly would not race in this November's Breeders' Cup because it was being run over Santa Anita's synthetic surface. With the belief that Zenyatta would not leave Southern California to race this year, that appeared to put an end to any possible meeting this year.

But Moss's comments opened the door.

"If the two horses are ready and at the top of their form, I would very much like to see a race between the two of them," Moss said.

There are a number of potential places for them to meet. There is the $1 million Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park on July 19; the $300,000 Go for Wand at 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga on Aug. 2; or the $400,000 Personal Ensign at 1 1/4 miles at Saratoga on Aug. 29.

Moss added that he shares Jackson's negative view of synthetic racetracks.

"It's just that I'm a Californian, I moved out here from New York a long, long time ago," he said. "I like the people. This is where I live. This is where I race mostly."

Moss suggested that one reason he would consider shipping Zenyatta out of the state is to help make her Horse of the Year. She finished second to Curlin for that award last year.

"We want to win that this year if it's possible," Moss said. "The horses have got to perform, every step has got to be the right one.

"We hope both horses do well throughout the year and we can meet somewhere."