September 2, 2009

The Rachel Diaries - Day 1

And the Journey begins, from our not-so-palatial estate in Suburban Chicago to the small burg of Latham, New York. The minivan is loaded and the sleep crusties are sufficiently washed from the corners of my eyes. “Gotta get an early start.” I keep telling my wife, who is just trying to fathom how well an eight or nine hour ride with our 14-month-old daughter is going to work. Candie is a sport and is willing to take her ‘chances’ on this family vacation so that I can see a horse. I’m glad that she ‘gets me’ enough to put up with this craziness, besides I just know in my heart that our daughter, Kendra, is going to adore the horses. Oh, and in case you were wondering, No, I do not drive that fast to get to the Albany area in eight or nine hours. Today we are on our way to Buffalo and to see Niagara Falls…it just feels more like a family vacation this way and it is actually directly on our route to Saratoga. Which of course is the ultimate destination and my real reason for this trip, one Miss Rachel Alexandra.

Rachel will be trying to make history by becoming the first female horse ever to win the Woodward Stakes. Fillies and mares have not attempted to run in it very often, Rachel will be only the sixth, and have found little success. Shuvee was the first, as she ran in the Woodward twice as an older mare in 1970 and 1971, finishing 5th and 6th. Summer Guest ran in it three consecutive years from 1972-1974 at 3,4, and 5 years old. Her best finish was as a three-year-old when she finished 2nd but was disqualified and placed 3rd. Magazine was the third female to try her luck in the Woodward when at the age of four she finished 5th and ahead of Summer Guest in 1974. Since then only Relaxing, fourth in 1981 and Lady’s Secret, a well beaten 2nd in 1986, have attempted to beat the boys. No filly or mare has run in the Woodward Stakes for 23 years and only one 3-year-old filly has ever been in the race…until now.

How important is it to win the Woodward?

The Woodward is won year in and year out by the very best horses in racing. In the 55 runnings to date, the winner has gone on to win an eclipse award that same year a staggering 33 times. Not many races in American history can claim a 60% chance of winning an eclipse award by winning the race. Though it has changed in distance and racetracks over the year, the champions keep winning the Woodward. Rachel Alexandra will try to raise that percentage and become the first female horse ever to win the prestigious Woodward Stakes. Boy, I hope she does it.


Luvbarbaro said...

I love your blog Brian!! Have fun and GOOOOOO RACHEL! :>)

LDP said...

For once i hope Dray is right in say time matters, because by time standards she'll blow the doors off these horses. I can't wait to see what pp she has, compared with the rest. It should be one heck of a race. Oh, and Brian, i'm finally starting to feel the nerves.

Ernie said...

Not thrilled with the post position. Not thrilled with all the second-tier action (she might end up tucking behind Da and Point, but then It's a Bird and Cool Coal Man will be pestering her. No handouts here!!!

Heather said...

i'm nervous as hell, and i'm not even going to be there!!!!! ENJOY EVEY MINUTE OF IT!!!!!!! Can't wait to read exactly what happens, as i am sure your post race blog will have us feeling like we are all right there, on the rail!!!!