Others have better articulated just how spectacular Rachel Alexandra’s G1 Haskell victory was, including the herself-peerless Railbird (Jessica Chapel) and our lucky man on the scene The Aspiring Horseplayer (Kevin Stafford).
Across the pond, Sam Walker in The Racing Post calls her the “she-freak” whose Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 127 not only tops the best performances this year by fillies Zenyatta, Vodka and Goldikova—all three tied at 124—but is the second highest in the world on dirt/all-weather, topped only by Well Armed’s 128 in the Dubai World Cup. Her 116 Beyer is the highest given this year to any horse.
Let me just add that, following that tour de force performance, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that she is already, hands-down, “Horse of the Year” no matter what is yet to come. I mean, seriously, what horse of any gender or age has come close to running—and winning—as many grade 1 races as she has this year? And unlike others lamenting the adamant declarations of Jess Jackson that he will not run her in the Breeders’ Cup, as a fan I’m completely fine with that.
That said, what is next for our heroine? I once preferred the G1 Travers, but I don’t think she has anything left to prove against this crop of three-year-olds—let Summer Bird and Mine That Bird thrash out that one. That leaves the August 30 G1 Personal Ensign against older fillies and mares or the September 5 G1 Woodward. Considering Zenyatta’s connections loathe NYRA’s detention barn, it’s highly unlikely she’ll contest the Personal Ensign, so the weight-for-age Woodward looks more tantalizing. Why?
If Jess Jackson the sportsman—and horse racing fans—want to see this filly tested, what would be better than running against the likes of Commentator, Macho Again, Asiatic Boy, Arson Squad and Smooth Air? Win or lose—and I’m not convinced that she would lose even against these monsters—Rachel Alexandra would solidify her legacy merely by taking on the challenge. Note:
• The last three-year-old to win the Woodward was Holy Bull in 1994.
• Only 13 three-year-olds have won the race in 55 years.
• The last filly to take on the Woodward was Lady’s Secret, who finished second to Precisionist in 1986.
• No filly or mare has ever won the Woodward.
Sword Dancer, Kelso, Buckpasser, Damascus, Forego, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, Easy Goer, Cigar, Skip Away, Ghostzapper, Curlin—all winners of the Woodward. What august company to join!