Friday, February 12, 2010

Apple Blossom showdown back on

Jay Privman,
Daily Racing Form

The Rachel Alexandra-Zenyatta matchup is on, according to Oaklawn Park owner Charles Cella.

Cella said on Thursday that the Apple Blossom has been moved back six days, from April 3 to April 9, and that the owners of both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta have agreed to run.

"The Apple Blossom Invitational has been renegotiated," Cella said Thursday afternoon. "Both principles are on line, and have pledged to me they will enter their horses and race. The date will be Friday, the 9th of April. All other conditions remain the same."

The Apple Blossom will be run at 1 1/8 miles, and if both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta run, it will have a purse of $5 million. Otherwise, the Apple Blossom reverts to its original $500,000 purse.

On Wednesday, Jess Jackson, the majority owner of Rachel Alexandra, said in a prepared statement that Rachel Alexandra would not be ready by the original date of the Apple Blossom, April 3, and that his request to have the Apple Blossom moved back one week had been denied by Oaklawn Park.

Cella on Thursday said he had been in touch with the owners of both horses over the previous 24 hours. The two horses have never met.

"I've never had so much trouble giving $5 million away," Cella said. "We've got a solid commitment, assuming, of course, their health continues."

- additional reporting by Mary Rampellini

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