September 5, 2009

The Rachel Diaries - Day 4

Visiting Saratoga holds a special place in my heart. So many Summer vacations as a kid, The Zipse family would make the trek up from New Jersey to see the finest racehorses come together. Every time I come here the memories spill out of my head making me intensely happy. When I get close it just feels like Saratoga. Come to think of it, it tastes, smells, sounds and looks like Saratoga too. It is special.

Our trip from Niagara Falls yesterday was uneventful and fast, despite me being antsy to get here. Upon arrival, we spent some quality time at the Hall of Fame and I was happy to see the girls have a good time with no boredom at all. I love the actual Hall of Fame room. Hall of Fame horse plaques on one side, with the horsemen plaques on the other. The silks of all the great owners above them. It is candy to the eyes of a real horse racing fan. Theatre seating overlooks the stage where so many greats have accepted their ultimate honor. Even a couple of touch screen computers are there to get more information on your favorites. It is quite a room. Although her racing career is barely half over (knock on wood), horse racing’s Hall of Fame is exactly where Rachel Alexandra is headed.

Every year it seems that racing anoints a new sure-fire star for the masses. These horses almost never live up to the hype. In my mind Spectacular Bid, who ended his career 29 years ago, was the last American horse to be a superstar beyond reproach. For whatever reason, shortened racing careers or more likely lack of talent, they become little more than bumps on the road of racing history. Rachel is different. She overshadows every other horse out there with her beauty and brilliance. Labor Day is a big weekend of racing, with many important races, but all eyes will be on her. Rachel Alexandra is marching inexorably towards greatness and we, the viewers, should appreciate every second.

Today is important. Her first race at Saratoga and her first race against older horses comes in the Woodward Stakes. A race that usually has a lot to say when eclipse awards are handed out, and this year should prove no different. I look at the field and I do see potential pitfalls for our heroine, but then I look back at her races and I smile a confident smile. Going back eight races ago, Rachel Alexandra began a run of four straight races that would make any two/three-year-old filly proud. Her wins in the Golden Rod, Martha Washington, Fair Grounds Oaks and Fantasy were elegant and dominating. A forewarning to things to come, she demonstrated just how special she was becoming. In her last four races, Rachel Alexandra has taken things to a whole new level. Her wins in the Kentucky Oaks, Preakness, Mother Goose, and Haskell are stunning. Not hyperbole, but fact … these races are superior to any string of races I have ever seen a filly run … ever! When I sit back and objectively look at the Woodward field my confidence soars.

Anything can happen in a horserace, but this is Rachel, and hey, I just was invited to the winner’s circle if Rachel wins, so I got that going for me.

3 comments:

LDP said...

I saw that Dominic asked you to the winners circle, i don't think i can get any more jealous, lol. I hope you have a great time, and when you do get to the winners circle, give her a pat for me. GO RACHEL ALEXANDRA THE GREAT!!!

LDP said...

Now that it all has sank in i am finally crying, what a beautiful courageous filly. She is beyond words.

Celeste said...

Wonderful article, Brian! I'm happy for you that you got to be there and be a part of it, that's just so darn cool! Hope you took lots of pictures of your little one around the horses so you can share them.