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Magnate ponies up $2M for match race

Aug. 11, 2009 at 10:47 AM

HOUSTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- A Houston-area furniture magnate has pledged a $2 million purse to entice two of horse racing's best a match race at the Sam Houston Race Park.

Jim McIngvale, Gallery Furniture owner and philanthropist, told the Houston Chronicle he would offer the purse if 2009 Preakness Stakes winner Rachel Alexandra races Zenyatta, a 5-year-old mare who has run 11 of her 12 races on California's synthetic courses without a loss.

"Sam Houston has the best dirt course in the country," McIngvale said. "This is the best time for them to hook up."

The duel is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 3, five weeks before the Breeders' Cup.

"Gallery Furniture would sponsor the race," McIngvale said. "The winner would receive $1.2 million. The other would get $800,00."

Sam Houston Race Park President Andrea Young said the track was thrilled by McIngvale's offer.

"We're definitely interested," Young said. "We'd love to have them race here."

Zenyatta's camp said owner Jerry Moss indicated if his horse were to race Rachel Alexandra, he would want it to be in a regular race, not a match race.

The Chronicle said it couldn't reach Rachel Alexandra's primary owner nor her trainer for comment.

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