Monday, August 3, 2009

Racing's Miss America

You know you're having a good run when Ray Kerrison of the the NY Post calls you "racing's Miss America" and you've got a photo spread in the August issue of Vogue and Entertainment Weekly is blogging about you.

This morning there were a few colts with bruised egos thanks to an incredible filly. As Joe Drape pointed out, she didn't so much compete with the boys as allow them on the track with her. (His full piece is here.) I've watched the race replays a few more times and am still a bit in awe of the move she made coming into the stretch. After running the entire race three wide, it was as if she just decided she'd given the rest of the field enough of her time and was going to move on. She was toying with them like a cat toys with a mouse before he goes in for the kill. Her jockey Calvin Borel said he gave her a few taps to keep her attention, it seems she liked the crowd who was vigorously cheering her on. As Barry Fitzgerald's character says in The Quiet Man (after seeing the broken bed in the John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara's room and leaping to the wrong conclusion)...Homeric.

Rachel has her choice of future dance cards, or race cards, as the case may be. Her condition and how she feels in the coming days will of course dictate what's next, but it's looking more and more like The Woodward on September 5 at Saratoga. Even though the race is typically for older males, it has been won by no less than three-year old like Easy Goer and Holy Bull. Four-year-old Curlin won it last year. When you've been much the best in meetings with your own age group, you have to start casting the net a little wider for competition. I'm solidly in the Woodward camp, it would seem to be the most likely scenario. But Jess Jackson likes to surprise us, so stay tuned.

As if her Haskell victory wasn't enough, the win completed a splendid trifecta for trainer Steve Asmussen. He won the $750,000 West Virginia Derby on Saturday with 23-1 longshot Soul Warrior and the $500,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga with Kensei (also co-owned by Jess Jackson and Stonestreet Stables and the likely entrant into The Travers if Rachel is pointed toward The Woodward.) Kensei is quite talented in his own right and seems a more likely fit for a Travers entry. Time will tell, but it's awfully good fun to speculate!

A fun Rachel & Calvin photo gallery from yesterday's Haskell triumph on is HERE, and Entertainment Weekly writer Michael Slezak's full post is HERE.

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