01/20/2010 1:00AM

Rachel-Zenyatta offer up to $2M


Sam Houston Race Park will offer a maximum purse of $2 million if Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta were both to start in the track's Gallery Furniture Distaff that has a tentative date of March 27.

Sam Houston and race sponsor Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale have been pursuing a showdown between the two horses for several months, first setting a date of Dec. 5 for a $1.5 million race, then Jan. 30. Sam Houston has now moved the date again and left room for purse negotiations after learning in the last week that Zenyatta has come out of retirement and will race in 2010.

"In light of the news, we're going to keep doing what we've been doing to try and get the two ladies here," said Andrea Young, president of Sam Houston.

The race would be run over 1 1/8 miles on Sam Houston's main track and would be open to males. The minimum purse will be $1.5 million, with McIngvale willing to negotiate up to $2 million, officials said. Both horses would have to start for the race to be a go.

Young said the March 27 date is negotiable.

Rachel Alexandra was named Horse of the Year on Monday night, while Zenyatta won the Breeders' Cup Classic in November.