Saturday, 2 May 2009

See You in Baltimore, Rachel!

The morning after Rachel Alexandra pulled off what might be the most impressive Kentucky Oaks win in history, the racing world is glowing in appraisal, with Railbird going so far as to compare the feat to the great Regret's of 1915.

Such comparison, however, misses the big difference. Regret won the Derby, Rachel Alexandra took off after a textbook trip to stun an Oaks crop we already knew she was superior to, although few had expected her to be that overwhelming. Others have pointed out that it would likely be unfair to criticize her connections for not running her in the Derby, but they won't have any excuse from here on. If wherever her career takes her next is anything but a Triple Crown race, the filly might be peerless among her sex, but her connections will have denied her a chance to show how great she really is. This filly can win against any opponent and should be campaigned that way.

In a related story, kudos again to last year's Eclipse voters. You decided against hyped supertalent Zenyatta for HOTY, figuring she really hasn't proven herself to be a Champion, despite her connections having every chance to do so. This weekend should have silenced your critics. True Champions don't hide from an opposition several levels below their class just because the track isn't absolutely perfect for them. Sorry, but if you don't have enough confidence in your horse to overcome a slightly off track against such opposition, I'm guessing we'll see another season of statistical stardom and all-female romps out of a horse that could have the talent to become an American Zarkava and help the sport overcome some of those stupid prejudices about fillies running against colts.


  1. The connections would have to oome up with some big cash as I don't believe she was nominated to the Triple Crown...but sure would be nice to see it happen wouldn't it?

  2. Guess they have enough spare change handy after yesterday, so that shouldn't be a problem.

  3. The following is a comment by Jessica Chapel, posted by me because for technical reasons:

    "I didn't miss the the big difference, I thought Rachel Alexandra's performance went beyond being superior to an overmatched crowd, that she was peerless in the Oaks, that she would have in the Derby. She was something else out there -- pure athleticism and grace, "Secretariat reincarnated," a turf writer friend at Churchill emailed me to say, and he's not a gusher. We saw something rare and special yesterday, and I'm going to appreciate that."

  4. Jessica: I agree with your impressions on her Oaks performance, but I don't accept any horse as peerless unless it proves itself against the best of its, well, peers. Remember a few years back when some people were so enthusiastic about Discreet Cat's romps?