September 3, 2009

The Rachel Diaries - Day 2

“Oh, You’ve got to be kidding me!“ Not yet three hours into our drive, and the Ohio State Patrolman, cherries-a-blazin’, gestures for me to pull over as he eases between me and the Camry ahead, whom he is also inconveniencing on this beautiful Summer day. “Do you realize you were speeding today?“ The officer deadpans. “No, do you realize that I am now only going to drive faster to make up for lost time officer?“ I answer in my mind. We play this little authority figure/admonished schoolboy tete-a-tete for another minute or two and then the nice lawman lets me off with a warning. He looks in at my wife and daughter and wishes a nice vacation for us a couple of times. Back on the round again, a few thoughts cross my mind. First, what the bleep! I wasn’t even speeding that fast, but also, I wondered if that Buckeye patrolman knew that it was his duty to let me pass. For I am on a mission for Rachel.

Rachel Alexandra is on a mission. She is doing things that have never been done before, both this Saturday at Saratoga and the entire year of 2009. But, I offer this warning to all fans and well-wishers of our heroine, the Woodward is a lot tougher than people are giving it credit for. Are there any superstars? Yes … Rachel. Are there a bunch of good older males to challenge her? Yes.

Asiatic Boy, my second pick, was a star oversees winning the UAE Derby in a romp and three other graded stakes on dirt, as well as, running 2nd to Curlin in last year’s World Cup. His first two races in the U.S. have been good but not great. Watch out if Kiaran McLaughlin has him ready to run his best. Bullsbay is a late developing son of Tiznow, most Tiznow’s are late developers, and is coming off his best race ever. His score in the Grade 1 Whitney was quite impressive and it was over this surface and at the Woodward’s distance. A repeat performance makes him a real threat. Cool Coal Man is also coming off a pip over this same ground when winning a minor stake here on August 10 by nearly 13 lengths. He has yet to win a Grade 1 race yet, but it would be no surprise to me if the Grade 2 winner someday did. Macho Again is sometimes on and sometimes off, but when he decides to run, his late rush makes him dangerous in any race. He likes Saratoga and has won four graded stakes, including the Grade 1 Stephen Foster, on his resume. It’s A Bird ran poorly last out in the Suburban Handicap, but you do not need to go much farther back in his form to find success. He has been victorious in the Lone Star Handicap, Oaklawn Handicap, and the million dollar Sunshine Millions Classic already this year. Past the Point is coming off a sharp victory at Saratoga, a track that he loves, and has proven his class by finishing 2nd to Curlin in the Woodward last year. Da’ Tara’s recent form looks awful, but he is a Belmont Stakes winner and he is trained by Nick Zito, so you never know.

Certainly Rachel Alexandra is the reason why so many millions will be watching the Woodward with great anticipation, but please, do not underestimate what she is trying to do on Saturday. This is not an easy race for even the greatest of 3-year-old fillies.


LDP said...

I don't expect them to do much with Da'Tara, except make it hard for CB to get an easy lead. I envision a very hot suicide pace, especially if they don't get RA pinned down on the rail. This will be a better race than most think.