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31 August 2010

There's no dignity in racing in the Distaff?




Andrew Beyer recently penned one of his four articles he writes every year (I wish I had his job). To summarize what 80% the article states, it is that Rachel is past her prime. Not a bold statement at all, but in the second to last paragraph he mentions the option of going the Distaff instead of the Classic as an undignified spot for the legendary filly. The rest of the article can be found here: http://drf.com/news/no-longer-rachel-alexandra-history
"Jackson and Asmussen will have a difficult decision to make about their filly's future. The trainer would only say that he and the owner will "evaluate who she is and where she's at." Her main objective, supposedly, had been the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs and a showdown with Zenyatta, but that seems utterly unrealistic now. Aiming her for the Ladies' Classic would seem beneath her dignity if Zenyatta does challenge males in the main event."
I hope Mr. Beyer is at Saratoga for closing weekend, just so I can ask him in person how going to a grade one championship race is degrading. The Distaff this year looks like a solid lineup if the injury bug is on vacation, Blind Luck is the best of her generation and Devil May Care is a very good nine furlong runner, if Rachel Alexandra is to enter this race it will be a blockbuster race on its own merit. Not only will there be three all star fillies lining up, but also this would be a measuring stick for the three year old fillies against a legendary runner who is no doubt a first ballot hall of famer. How is this a spot that lacks dignity?
As in any case the connections of a racehorse must evaluate how a horse is doing and enter them in spots that the horse can succeed in. There have been two things proven in Rachel Alexandra's past record the first being that she is her most successful going 1 1/8 miles and the secod is she does demonstrably better at Churchill than any other surface, her two biggest margins of victory were over this dirt oval. The Distaff as a long term goal would make the most sense based on the two points stated.
If anything Rachel Alexandra's loss in the Personal Ensign could be discounted by the fact that 1 1/4 miles is probably beyond the scope of her best distance and the intense pace pressure she endured did her in. It happens to best of them, Cigar gave way in the 1996 Pacific Classic after being wedged between horses and going 1:33 for a mile. Skip Away was dueled into defeat in the 1998 Jockey Club Gold Cup after being latched to the blinkered Gentleman for a mile. Chances are that Rachel Alexandra goes to the Beldame due to the spacing from her last race to this one and the real test will be how she performs in the Beldame where she could face Devil May Care.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Glenn Craven said...

Always nice when "Anonymous" shows up and contributes ... nothing.

Beyer's article was a bit hard to fathom on that one point. How is running in the Ladies Classic beneath Rachel Alexandra's dignity? That was inexplicable.

I don't think Rachel Alexandra was ever going to run in the Breeders' Cup Classic, even if she had held on to win the Personal Ensign Sunday. Regardless whether she's bred for 10 furlongs (I don't see why she isn't; her sire won at 10), she's never seemed suited to be a 10-furlong horse. She's pretty much a speed demon who is likely to get hooked in the early going with some horse or another -- whether or not they have the talent to win -- and the further the race goes, the less she has in the tank to finish, even after putting away that competition on the lead. I say there's no way Jackson/Asmussen wanted any part of Quality Road and probably First Dude on the front end of the Classic, with Lookin at Lucky, Blame, Fly Down perhaps, and others (not to mention Zenyatta) closing in the stretch.

I actually think the most interesting race for Rachel Alexandra would be the Dirt Mile. A chance to go out on a high note by beating males again, at a short distance where her speed is an advantage.

I also have creeping doubts we'll see Zenyatta in the Classic. Not sure HER people really want to try and out-close Blame, Lucky or even Afleet Express and Fly Down (considering their Travers performances) in a field of talented dirt horses.

And, for that matter, I'm not sure about Quality Road in the Classic. Were he my horse, I'd probably duck it. He hasn't been able to win at 10f yet, over several opportunities. I'd run him in the Dirt Mile; he has stallion resume already.

Anonymous said...

Persistently sure doesn't look like a horse that was bred(Smoke Glacken) to go past a mile but she did in a Grade 1(?????).

RG

G. Calabrese said...

Lisa's Booby Trap is the antidote to all of the over-thought Rachel - Zennyata paper feud. A feel good $1500 runner from a palokaville track that can flat out run. It would be a great story if she took down a B.C. race.

Joseph Burns said...

Persistently is trained by someone who knows how to get a horse ready to go 1 1/4 miles though....

ThoroughbredZone.Com said...

I thought cutback for Rachel Alexandra would also benefit her. Her connections will look at their options and go from there. The Ladies Classic seems to be the most obvious. I disagree with the notion that one race is less dignified than another. It's The Breeders' Cup. All Championship Races. I do hope where ever she runs, she has a solid opportunity to go out a winner.