Thursday, June 25, 2009

Alexandra The Great, Ready To Rumble

A mere four fillies have decided to test their luck against Rachel Alexandra this weekend in the G1 Mother Goose. It’s quite interesting that Zenyatta, who is the reigning and undefeated champion of the distaff division, still had another 7 horses enter against her in the Vanity this weekend. Granted that is a handicap and Zenyatta is shouldering a notable weight assignment, but its still rather interesting that the Mother Goose didn’t draw any deeper with the prospect of the ever so valuable graded black type on the line.

What the field lacks in numbers it makes up for in quality. Malibu Prayer and Flashing are solid fillies with genuine ability. They’ll have to improve leaps and bounds to factor with the buzz saw that Rachel Alexandra, but they are not afterthoughts.

The real development this week was Jackson’s announcement that Rachel would not go to the Breeders Cup this year. I can’t really blame him. After watching his reigning Horse Of The Year, Curlin, flounder on the synthetic track at Santa Anita last year, it’s not hard to see why he is hesitant to try his luck again.

Some think it’s a move lacking in confidence, I say rubbish. Synthetic tracks are the redheaded stepchild of thoroughbred racing. They are a specialty surface that lends itself more to turf racing than dirt racing. If the Breeders Cup wants to run its championship event over a track that lends itself more to European horses than those bred stateside, (Specifically for traditional dirt)then they need to accept that good horses aren’t going to waste their time running over a surface that may hinder their ability.

Fans have to accept this fact as well. There is no reason to be angry with Jackson. That anger should be focused on the Breeders Cup and the California Horse Racing Board. Synthetic tracks have a place in the sport for second tier tracks or those tracks that run winter meets with questionable weather, but they should have no bearing on the Breeders Cup.

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