The Brock Talk

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rachel Alexandra Decision Will Be Boost To Game

The decision not to run Rachel Alexandra is a dissapointment. It appears obvious though, it is the best decision for the filly in both the long and short run. Based on her work Monday at Churchill Downs and reports from the barn area, she looks as regal as ever in the morning - on the track and to and from her barn.

What most racing fans may not realize, however, is that this should also be the best decision for us as racing fans as well. Sure it would have been thrilling to have a replay of the Preakness with Rachel running on the lead down the stretch in apparent control with Mine That Bird rallying from "no-way" land to "can he catch her?" ville.

One of the effects of owner Jess Jackson' decision not to run Rachel is that he has now placed more national attention on more races. Instead of experiencing any kind of post-Belmont syndrome, we can now all look forward to June 27. That day two major filly and mare races will be run on each end of the coast and where the Rachel Alexandra v. Zenyatta debate will be stoked to the enjoyment of us all.

At Belmont Park, some of the best 3-year-old fillies will convene in the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr.I) and it may mark the return of Rachel Alexendra to racing and her return to the filly ranks. If she wins that race, then it will only add to the anticipation of possibly watching Zenyatta later that afternoon in the $300,000 Vanity Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr.1) at Hollywood Park. Both races are at 1-1/8 miles on the main track and both races are against the best in each of their respective divisions.

Then there is the $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park on July 11 for older horses (the big boys) at the classic 1-1/4 distance. Not likely either of the female superstars will be in that race, but the winner is sure to face the question of whether he can beat Zenyatta or not. The same questions will likely apply to the winner of the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in August. Great victory in a grade 1 race. But....

After the Belmont, the best of the 3-year-old colts will be heading to the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug 2. Without Rachel Alexandra, all we may have is a race with Mine That Bird, Dunkirk, Quality Road, Pioneerof the Nile, Muskat Man and the likes. The Jim Dandy at Saratoga on the same day will attract some from this group, but it's still going to be fun. I love Rachel Alexandra as much as anybody other than possibly Calvin Borel, but the law of diminishing return applies when evaluating her addition to that quality of race.

I just got my chrystal ball back from Emmitt at the Mayberry Alarm and Lock Company and just plugged it in before I wrote this. But if it's working, can you imagine races like the Travers... not to mention the Breeders' Cup.

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