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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Next for Rachel Alexandra?—The Woodward Stakes

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!

13 comments:

Anne S said...

She's certainly something special. I wish Australian racing had a star like her these days - perhaps one will emerge this spring.

Anonymous said...

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.

How can you be completely fine with that as a fan? Isn't there some disappointment? Wouldn't you like to see them run against each other. As a fan I wish that they would run against each other, and I hope she runs against Quality Road. As a fan.

Drayton said...

I agree the Woodward is the spot for her and gives her another week rest. Let Kensei duke it out against Quality Road and the Birds.

Rachel has options and Kensei does not. Besides how much would a Kensei win in the Travers be worth in the Breeding shed.

Drayton said...

Rachel has a couple of races to choose from and has already beaten half the field going into the Travers. Kensei is prime for the win in the Travers and deserves his shot. A Travers win for Kensei would mean big money in the Breedering Shed. Rachel going to the Woodward gives her an extra week of rest and a preferred distance of 1 1/8th will suit her. Go Rachel. See you at the Woodward.

Drayton said...

I agree the Woodward is the spot for her and gives her another week rest. Let Kensei duke it out against Quality Road and the Birds.

Rachel has options and Kensei does not. Besides how much would a Kensei win in the Travers be worth in the Breeding shed.

Anonymous said...

Woodward against older horses. yeah sure. This supposedly super filly whose only weakness is kryptonite is skipping the breeders!!?? yeah sure!
biggest hyped ever.

Drayton said...

A bit bitter are we? Rachel is 2 wins away from one of the greatest 3 year old campaigns ever.

henry said...

You have gotta be kidding me?
Quality Road is in the Travers. If she can beat him, yah her wins against the colts will be legitimized. But I can see how losing to QR will prove she has beaten 2nd tier 3 year old colts. Woodward? lmfao. Dont be ridiculous. She is way over her head there. lol

Anonymous said...

Super filly..how about super ducker! How can the best horse since slice bread be hype to high heavens but skip the biggest event in horse racing? Decades from now it will be either she ducked the mare Zenyatta or other great horses from around the world. Pick your poison. Seriously!!!!

Anonymous said...

Woodward against older horses? lmfao.
Not going to happen. She is good but not that good. She will go to another easy race with the 3 year olds.

MyBigRed said...

I look forward to seeing Rachel Alexandra in whatever race Jess plans to enter her in. She is an Awesome Super Filly & I feel blessed to witness her Greatness!! It brings back memories of watching the Great Secretariat when I was a little girl, many years ago. I don't like match races, ever since the days of Ruffian, so I will wait patiently for a safe race rather than risk her getting injured. After all, she has already beat the Colts twice this year :) You Go Girl!!

Anonymous said...

Rachel ducking Zenyatta? It's the other way around! Zenyatta is ducking Rachel and for good reason. As Drayton said - she's on a path to having the greatest 3 yo campaigns ever. Running in the Woodward is the best spot for RA. I'll be watching and enjoying every minute of it.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered the fact that she is running against the weakest three year old crop in 25 years. It's pitiful; don't even get me started on the handicapp horse division. What a time for a good three year old to come along.