What I Think About Rachel's Retirement

My initial reaction upon hearing the news that Rachel Alexandra had been retired was not one of surprise. I think most of us that have followed her bizarre campaign were half expecting her not to make it to the Breeders' Cup anyway.

No, my initial instinct was not surprise. It was disappointment--disappointment of no longer being able to watch her race, and that her connections took much of the fun out of her 2010 campaign. I'm guessing many of you feel the same way.

Truth be told, I was expecting the announcement to come a week or so after she lost the Personal Ensign. It was after that loss that most of us knew she would no longer be pointing to the Breeders' Cup Classic.

On the surface, the timing of this announcement may seem a little strange. On Monday the filly turns in a bullet four-furlong work. On Tuesday she is retired.

But if you look back over the past nine months, it was par for the course. Unexpected. Odd. Issued via press release. 

I am anxious to see what everyone has to say, not only about her retirement but her season and her career overall. Here are a few things that I think:

I think Rachel's 2010 campaign was mismanaged from Day 1.

I think she sat on the sidelines for too long and was rushed back into training to try to make the Apple Blossom. I think the New Orleans Ladies Stakes--an ungraded race Jess Jackson had Fair Grounds write specifically for him--was a poor choice and one she was not trained adequately for. Steve Asmussen admitted so himself. I don't think a reigning Horse of the Year should be making her season debut in that kind of race either.

I think Jackson disappointed sports fans everywhere when he backed out of a showdown with Zenyatta. I think that race that would have done wonders for racing at a time when the sport desperately needed it. I think it was devastating for racing fans--especially those in Arkansas.

I think Rachel ran a terrific race in the La Troienne and was beaten by a filly that ran the race of her life.

I think she should have run in the Stephen Foster, not the Fleur de Lis--and would have won. I don't think her connections showed enough faith in her in that situation.

I think the Lady's Secret--another race rewritten for Jackson--was absolutely the wrong choice. I think it made no sense at all.

I think Rachel ran very well in the Personal Ensign and would have won easily if not compromised by a poor ride.

I think 1 1/8 miles was her best distance but she was very capable of winning at 1 1/4 miles.

I think she is fine physically and with a more carefully managed campaign could have had a phenomenal 4-year-old season; maybe not as spectacular as last year, but still very good.

I think Rachel Alexandra accomplished more than any 3-year-old filly ever and her 2009 season will go down as one of the best by any modern day racehorse.

I think I commend Jackson and Asmussen for testing her against males last year and giving fans the opportunity to see her run against the best of her generation.

I think the Preakness was her best race.

I think Hal Wiggins would have run Rachel in the Kentucky Derby if the decision was his.

I think Wiggins deserves more credit for Rachel's success than he has gotten.

I think Jackson had every right to change trainers, but I think it was the wrong decision and he disappointed a lot of people when he did.

I think Jackson and Asmussen took a lot of the fun out of her season by the way they dealt with the media.

I think being unable to see the two best fillies of our generation race against each other is a travesty and was a major opportunity lost.

I think I will miss watching Rachel race. She was brilliant.

I think the way her career ended was ridiculous.

 

 

 

 

 

335 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Fuzzy Corgi

I think Rachel Alexandra will finally get to be a happy horse again, something that she hasn't looked in a while. She owes us nothing after her extraordinary 3-year-old season. Rachel Alexandra fan her heart out.

Enjoy your retirement Rachel!

28 Sep 2010 7:56 PM
2:24

Agree with all of your comments except I think that The Haskell was her best race and I don't think she would have beaten Blame in the Stephen Foster.  Great blog though.

28 Sep 2010 7:58 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

Many points you make are accurate,but why put her in the Stephen F. when she was already 0-2? Don't think throwing her in the deep end of the pool when winless would be the way to proceed.

28 Sep 2010 8:03 PM
PMAC14

The plain and simple answer is "they" ruined this great filly.  She remembered how fast they made her go last year and she said never again. Look at the pictures on the slideshow. Not a happy horse wearing the gold and wine!  The long layoff ???(at the track  WTF)!  Im glad she is going to live a less stressful life now. She deserves it.  Greatest 3 yr old filly in the modern era? Maybe. (RIP Ruffian)  All this and im a big Z fan.

Anyway,ihope you won some cheese in vegas cause your gonna need it when the Queen romps again.  

28 Sep 2010 8:07 PM
Meleah

I agree to ALL of that! She turned in a BEAUTIFUL work yesterday! Why retire her?! I bet they're afraid cuz this year they have no excuse for when Zenyatta beats them in the Classic at Churchill!

28 Sep 2010 8:07 PM
r.d

I am a trainer in A diffrent breed but horse racing is my second love.But i also think they laid off her to long.fillies are diffrent they some times never come back the way they was before.she was very special and it would have been great to see her and Zenyatta race.my opnion is RA would have beaten zenyatta at amile and eigth but zenyatta would won at a mile and quater.But they both are special mares and some times they only come around once in a life time.Thanks Rachel and GOOD LUCK ZENYATTA.    

28 Sep 2010 8:10 PM
Oahunick

This is the shame of it all ....

Rachel bumps Silverbulletday as the prep for the FG Oaks.

I respect Rachel as much as the next person, but Silverbulletday was an outstanding filly - look it up if you think I'm out of line here.

For those of you who already remember, Baffert sent her "all in" to stymie Lukas in the Belmont - because she had decimated the best of her own sex.

Silverbulletday failed in the "Test Of the Champion".

But she was thrown in there.

Rachel never went to The Belmont or The Travers - and her Woodward is considered by racing fans as ducking Summer Bird.

The kid glove races this year 2010 were not even G1.

Anyways I guess that will be Rachel's legacy to me - a top class filly that was not fully tested.

That ain't all bad,  even Zenyatta may have to face that criticism if she can't run the table at Churchill.

But give those females like Lady's Secret and Silverbulletday some respect - not more - just a different respect than what Rachel did and did not do after May 2009.

28 Sep 2010 8:11 PM
Rache

I absolutly agree with you!

28 Sep 2010 8:12 PM
chicago jo

timing seems odd -even from this odd bunch.  I wonder if she got injured at all after monday?  Sure seemed like she was poised to crush in the beldame.  

28 Sep 2010 8:14 PM
Kibble

I agree and disagree on a number of points - here you go

"I think Rachel's 2010 campaign was mismanaged from Day 1." – Completely agree

“I think she sat on the sidelines for too long and was rushed back into training to try to make the Apple Blossom. I think the New Orleans Ladies Stakes--an ungraded race Jess Jackson had Fair Grounds write specifically for him--was a poor choice and one she was not trained adequately for. Steve Asmussen admitted so himself. I don't think a reigning Horse of the Year should be making her season debut in that kind of race either.”

I competed in high level competitive swimming for many years, and when I think back on RAs 6 month break, my first thought goes back to something all of my own coaches would tell me when I would come back from the summer out of shape because I wanted a “break.”  They would tell me that for every one week I took off, that it would take me two weeks to get back into the same shape I was in before the break.  This argument applies to longer breaks as well.  Under this theory, it would have taken Rachel a year to back into the shape she was in during 2009.  There was definitely a reason for her to have a break, but 6 months was MUCH to long.

I don’t have a problem with her first race being ungraded provided that it was just to help get her back in shape, but on that note I think that Jackson just took the bait that was offered with the Apple Blossom and made a poor decision for the horse.

"I think Jackson disappointed sports fans everywhere when he backed out of a showdown with Zenyatta. I think that race that would have done wonders for racing at a time when the sport desperately needed it. I think it was devastating for racing fans--especially those in Arkansas."

While Jackson may have disappointed people, I believe as a personal decision for the horse, and her reputation, it was the better decision to make.  RA was clearly not at the top of her game, while Z, who had pretty much not really been out of training, was at the top of hers.  The race would have made for an unfair advantage to Z, and I don’t think that most fans of either horse would want to see the race between the fillies in any but the fairest of circumstances (if they have any kind of sportsmanship that is)

I also don’t think that a race between the two could ever be really fair.  A math race would favor Rachel, who would have been able to run away on the lead, while a race with other horses would allow for the possibility of a rabbit entry just to give advantage to Z.  Because the two both favor difference distances, different surfaces, different conditions, how could a race between them every be fair and truly show who the better horse is?  I don’t think that a race between the two horses would solve any of the animosity between fans of the two, or give a decisive answer to the question of who the better horse is – they are both great, they are both different.

“I think Rachel ran a terrific race in the La Troienne and was beaten by a filly that ran the race of her life.” – I agree

“I think she should have run in the Stephen Foster, not the Fleur de Lis--and would have won. I don't think her connections showed enough faith in her in that situation.”  - Again, I completely agree – though they might have had a right to be cautious after two losses and probably felt the need to boost RAs confidence.

“I think the Lady's Secret--another race rewritten for Jackson--was absolutely the wrong choice. I think it made no sense at all.” - Agreed

“I think Rachel ran very well in the Personal Ensign and would have won easily if not compromised by a poor ride.”

I’ve never been a fan of Borel’s riding with RA, or most of his other horses to be honest.  He can really only win if things go his way, and I think it was a poor choice to keep him on her.  Had he not let her battle it out with Life At Ten in this race, I really believe she would have been able to hang on that one length she lost by.

“I think 1 1/8 miles was her best distance but she was very capable of winning at 1 1/4 miles.” – Agreed

“I think she is fine physically and with a more carefully managed campaign could have had a phenomenal 4-year-old season; maybe not as spectacular as last year, but still very good.” – Agreed, it all goes back to the time off though.

“I think Rachel Alexandra accomplished more than any 3-year-old filly ever and her 2009 season will go down as one of the best by any modern day racehorse.” – Completely agree

"I think I commend Jackson and Asmussen for testing her against males last year and giving fans the opportunity to see her run against the best of her generation. – this was the best thing that Jackson could have done for the sport, and it was well worth the risk.

I think being unable to see the two best fillies of our generation race against each other is a travesty and was a major opportunity lost."

I disagree – but see above for the point on why I don’t think a race between them would solve anything.

"I think I will miss watching Rachel race. She was brilliant." - YES

I think the way her career ended was ridiculous.  – Sad, but true.  It was in no way her fault.  I give Jackson a lot of credit for what he has done and does do for the sport but he screwed this one up.

One thing that has bothered me personally as an RA fan is how much she is trashed by Z fans because she has lost races.  If you look back at the great racehorses of our time, almost all of them suffered defeat at one point or another, and being able to win every race against subpar competition in my mind is not as big an accomplishment as being able to go above and beyond what is expected of a 3 year old filly by racing and beating the boys, and then even older males.  I think RA showed more heart in the Woodward than any others I've seen.  With that said, she had a spectacular career by anyone's standards and it was amazing to be able to watch her race.

On another note, I don't think that she should be bred straight to Curlin.  While his prospects as a stallion are surely quiet good, I think that none of her babies should be wasted on unproven stallions.  It wouldn't hurt to wait until some of his offpsring sells and runs to breed her to him.  There are a number of very well proven sires that would make for A++ or A+ or A truenicks rating.  For instance, if it was me, provided there was a good physical match, I would breed her to Street Cry (Z's sire), another option would be Elusive quality or even Bernardini (while he is unproven, his offspring have sold like crazy even in this economy and he looks to have a great career in front of him)  I'd also think about Giant's Causeway (granted its only truenicks B+) because of the crazy success he's had at stud as young as he is.

28 Sep 2010 8:20 PM
skyfire

Hal Wiggins set RA on the path of greatness last year.  I think that she could have returned to that level in 2010 if Jackson had left her in Wiggins' hands and not interfered.  Blame is where he is because the owner lets the trainer do his thing.

Tracks are strapped for cash and don't have the money to create a new stake when a horse retires. Given limited resources, I would rather have one for RA than Silverbulletday who was not Horse of the Year.  

28 Sep 2010 8:31 PM
Tiznowbaby

I think that in the fullness of her time her outstanding/incredible 2009 will be even more appreciated.

I don't think she accomplished more than any 3Yo filly ever, but she's there in the top three. And, I don't think she had one of the best 3YO seasons ever when you factor colts in.

I wish she could have gone out with a win because she certainly deserved that, but that she didn't doesn't make 2009 any less wonderful.

28 Sep 2010 8:37 PM
bad trip

she was hurt last year  and you can bet she wasnt sound after her work yesterday   why wouldnt they take her last year and turned her out if she was on a break   they just hand walked her   then retire her after aq bullet work  odd?    i think she was hurt and never fully recovered physically or mentally

28 Sep 2010 8:39 PM
bad trip

they ran her into the ground last year and took her heart away  dont forget she is a mare  they are not like the colts  once they are over it there isnt much to change there minds

28 Sep 2010 8:43 PM
Jose93

Jackson has proved himself to be an embarrassment to the sport for this "campaign."

If there's one legacy he could have left with Rachel Alexandra, it would have been just to let her race Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom, or at a stretch another race. Yes, even on synthetic. I wasn't the greatest Rachel Alexandra fan but she always gave everything she had even in defeat.

The man has ruined everything. Arguably damaged Rachel's legacy. There was absolutely nothing to say she wasn't the top older filly/mare at 8/9f. Dirt Mile, "Ladies Classic? Winning one of those wouldn't have been demeaning in anyway. And she still might of.

Where are the fans now Jess? The fans you kept Curlin in training for, and also ensured a scarily bemusing campaign.

We all know now that if Jess Jackson buys a Grade 1 winner to be fearful.

28 Sep 2010 8:45 PM
skyfire

Kibble,

What a great post -- each of your points is logical and I agree  with each, other than I think that they should have met.  That is what horse racing is:  strategy and tactics for different styles and strengths, let the best one win.

Kudos to Jackson for allowing her to demonstrate her ability in a 2009 campaign that has set the bar very high.

28 Sep 2010 8:46 PM
one rachel fan

Agree almost completely, Jason. Mistakes in order of importance:

1) Keeping Borel on her after Woodward. After this race she no longer trusted that he would not ask too much of her.

2) We don't know why the long layoff, but given a long one, she should have had more time to come back. If racing Zenyatta was important and I am one fan who would have liked to have seen it, she could have shipped to California. That would have shown class and a real challenge to Z's camp.

3) Very, very poor communication with fans regarding Rachel, her health, and where she was pointed. Last year, JJ would always say that they would let Rachel tell her when she was ready, this year she was not ready often and they set up races for her without considering her mental condition.

I am very disappointed in her connections and will try not to give my heart to another filly owned by JJ and ridden by Borel.

It is too painful to watch the antics. I wish that horses could choose their connections.

28 Sep 2010 8:49 PM
JerseyBoy

On her career. I did an analysis of her 10 races on dry dirt prior to her last race.

I added the Speed Figure to the Track Variant. It showed that the average in 2010 was identical to the average in 2009. In fact given the extra weight she carried this year, an argument can be made that in 2010 she was slightly better.

I will never say anything about this horse again. She was very good.

Here is the URL

www.nyra.com/.../Rachel-Alexandra-PPs.pdf

28 Sep 2010 8:51 PM
Dakota

I think that Rachel was a dazzling filly. I think that she was mismanaged, not from her first race this year, but for much of last year as well. I think based on her workouts, she still loved, loved, loved to run, but she no longer wanted to "compete". That grit and determination was gone. For that I blame the humans who made the decisions. But, hey, it's their horse. They chose to treat her like the Goose That Laid The Golden Egg. I am relieved but also saddened. I suspect that Hal Wiggins is, too.

28 Sep 2010 8:55 PM
Mike Relva

OAHUNICK

Are u serious? RA WAS fully tested last year. Please.

28 Sep 2010 8:56 PM
GoldenBroom

First off, Thank you Mr. Jackson for running her (and Curlin) at 4. You talked the talk and walked the walk. Most of us don't agree with how she was campaigned but so what.

I do not think a layoff hurts a racer. It's too damn bad most people will look at Rachel's career the wrong way and instead choose not to give their horses a well deserved break like in the old days of the "iron horse". You did not run at all or much come October through early spring. Horses could rest, heal, (injuries they had that we didn't know about or injuries in the making).

I would have loved to see Rachel run in the ladies classic...at Churchill! Where she owns the track! Oh well...looking forward as well to the second coming of Man O'War or Secretariat when she is bred to Curlin for sure!  

Thank you Rachel and enjoy some sweet fall weather in a beautiful pasture...retired in one peace and happy!

28 Sep 2010 8:59 PM
steve s

Cant Train a horse properly when it gains alot of weight--Rachal did not want to race anymore--the fire had gone out

28 Sep 2010 9:02 PM
Ron S

Kibble, You are not seriously implying that Life Is Sweet, St. Trinians, Ginger Punch, and the field from the 2009 BC Classic to be subpar, really?  Check those older males RA beat, they were nothing special, barely a G1 victory between them. Macho Again and Bullsbay will never be rememberd as anything other than nice horses. Zen has beat big time horses.

28 Sep 2010 9:02 PM
The Rock

"I think Rachel's 2010 campaign was mismanaged from Day 1." I think she sat on the sidelines for too long and was rushed back into training to try to make the Apple Blossom. I think the New Orleans Ladies Stakes--an ungraded race Jess Jackson had Fair Grounds write specifically for him--was a poor choice and one she was not trained adequately for. Steve Asmussen admitted so himself. I don't think a reigning Horse of the Year should be making her season debut in that kind of race either."

- Agreed. I can deal with Jackson not entering in the BC after that tough race in the Woodward. But they had her laid up for way too long.

"I think Jackson disappointed sports fans everywhere when he backed out of a showdown with Zenyatta. I think that race that would have done wonders for racing at a time when the sport desperately needed it. I think it was devastating for racing fans--especially those in Arkansas."

- Agreed.

"I think Rachel ran a terrific race in the La Troienne and was beaten by a filly that ran the race of her life."

- Agreed.

"I think she should have run in the Stephen Foster, not the Fleur de Lis--and would have won. I don't think her connections showed enough faith in her in that situation."

- I can see where you're coming from with this. But I can also see them wanting to build their confidence up and get a win somewhere. But 3rd off the layoff should've gotten her primed and ready for a top effort, which she produced. I still think Blame would've won that race and RA would've gotten pushed by that Overbrook horse that ran 2nd to Blame.

"I think the Lady's Secret--another race rewritten for Jackson--was absolutely the wrong choice. I think it made no sense at all."

- Agreed. She was treated like Rocky Balboa in Rocky III. Accepting cake fights to avoid Clubber Lang.

"I think Rachel ran very well in the Personal Ensign and would have won easily if not compromised by a poor ride."

- I disagree on the ride part. Calvin had to save inside position. I think Johnny on Life At Ten would've tried to make it tight on him if he tried to slow down the pace in any way. Althought the pace was slow, it was contested, and she just got caught. I don't mind if she loses a race. Champions get beat all the time. Its how they respond to defeat that makes them great.

"I think 1 1/8 miles was her best distance but she was very capable of winning at 1 1/4 miles."

- Agreed.

"I think she is fine physically and with a more carefully managed campaign could have had a phenomenal 4-year-old season; maybe not as spectacular as last year, but still very good."

- Who knows when you're dealing with Jess Jackson. As I stated in the previous blog, gag order is in place for anyone associated with her by JJ if there is anything wrong.

"I think Rachel Alexandra accomplished more than any 3-year-old filly ever and her 2009 season will go down as one of the best by any modern day racehorse."

Hmmm.....I'll have to agree for now until I do some research. Maybe its because of her campaign this year that's giving me second thoughts about it. But on the other hand, it shouldn't have any affect for what she accomplished last year......ok, i'll jump on board and agree.

"I think I commend Jackson and Asmussen for testing her against males last year and giving fans the opportunity to see her run against the best of her generation."

- Yea, ok....but I still don't like JJ...whose to say that wouldn't happen had she been in someone else's hands...? But again, I see where you're coming from.

"I think the Preakness was her best race."

- Tough call. Can't argue with that. Although I think Hal Wiggins had her at her absolute peak in the KY Oaks. You can see it in her last work prior to it that she was going to run an unbelievable race and she didn't disappoint. She got ganged up on in the Woodward as well and still hung on. There's really no wrong answer regarding this.

"I think Hal Wiggins would have run Rachel in the Kentucky Derby if the decision was his."

- I could've sworn I heard him mention on HRTV the week of that he didn't want a piece of the Derby. I think on that show "Against the Odds". I'll have to look into that.

"I think Wiggins deserves more credit for Rachel's success than he has gotten."

- Agree 100%. Again, I believe he knew her like a book and knew exactly how to get the best out of her. Its too bad she was taken away from him.

"I think Jackson had every right to change trainers, but I think it was the wrong decision and he disappointed a lot of people when he did."

- Case n point....me.

"I think Jackson and Asmussen took a lot of the fun out of her season by the way they dealt with the media."

- You seem peeved about it so I'll say you're right. lol

"I think being unable to see the two best fillies of our generation race against each other is a travesty and was a major opportunity lost."

- Amen. Totally sucks.

"I think I will miss watching Rachel race. She was brilliant."

- Yea, good times. At least we got big Z for another couple of races. You got my money ready right? lol

"I think the way her career ended was ridiculous."

- I think we all can agree with that if in fact she's in perfect health.

28 Sep 2010 9:07 PM
The Rock

Oh and one more thing. What's with the Fair Grounds switching the Silverbullet Day to the Rachel Alexandra stakes and renaming the Tiffany Lass to the Silverbullet day? Just b/c one race has more purse money than the other? Does anyone really give a crap about them having to name a race after her the second she's retired? Isn't there another stake like the Pago Hop they can re-name after her instead of doing what Oak Tree did late last year when Zenyatta was retired the first time around? Replace the name of a great champion with another one? Is fair grounds short on the number of stakes they can rename?

28 Sep 2010 9:12 PM
Jason Shandler

Rock: Hal told me as far back as March that she would not go to the Derby but that was because of the owner, not all him. He would have considered it heavily.

28 Sep 2010 9:15 PM
The Rock

OMG, that's another thing I couldn't stand about Jess Jackson. "We'll let Rachel tell us when she's ready". The freaking guy thinks he's the horse whisperer! How about this JJ, let Steve A tell you when she's ready...

28 Sep 2010 9:15 PM
Mike Relva

I've stated a dozen times on your blog that Jackson shouldn't have raised expections by agreeing to enter RA in the Apple B. when it's obvious she wasn't ready. Regarding her long layoff,another host suggested something was possibly amiss w/ her. Considering her hard campaign last year I wouldn't be suprised.

28 Sep 2010 9:16 PM
J. Rinaldi

I definitely agree with you about the Foster. The only reason Blame caught battle Plan was because Battle Plan broke his leg.  Blame never would have come close to catching Rachel.  She would have won by 5.

28 Sep 2010 9:19 PM
Lindsey S

No matter what, whether you agree or disagree with how her connections handled her, I hope everyone can appreciate Rachel for what she was as a racehorse.  She was a gorgeous, majestic animal, who gave so many people the thrill of a lifetime with her campaign last year.  Win or lose, my heart was in my throat every time she raced.  She brought tears to my eyes with each breathtaking victory, and also with every heartbreaking defeat.  She was the reason I bought Breeder's Cup tickets this year, and most of my sadness tonight lies with the fact that I might not ever see the great Rachel Alexandra in person.  I hope and pray they give her a farewell ceremony at Churchill Downs.  One last time around the track for those of us who always were, and always will be, true fans. You'd better believe I'll be there.

28 Sep 2010 9:24 PM
ROBINM

WOW - I am stunned. A bullet work Monday and retirement Tuesday?  I don't agree with the blogger that said she was retired rather than be beat by Zenyatta in the Classic - I believe she was no longer pointed for the (1-1/4 mile) Classic after her loss in the Personal Ensign, but rather for the BC Ladies Classic.

I've stood up for Jess Jackson in the past as he certainly must know his filly better than we do, but I don't understand at all why he would deny Rachel one last chance to make 2010 a memorable year if she is sound and healthy.  I feel as though we (the media and fans) are not being given the true story in regards to retiring her now.  Why can't he just admit she is injured (if that is the case) or admit they don't feel she is up to the task of competing in the BC World Cup?  This is a very odd time to retire a sound and healthy horse when the best part of the seaon (at least for older horses) is yet to come.  A win in the Beldame and a win in the BC Ladies Classic would certainly help to cement her place in history as a champion race horse and not just a horse with a championship season.

28 Sep 2010 9:25 PM
momscommand

The only thing missing in Rachel this year was that 'kill 'em' attitude -- the heart of a champion that she displayed last year, refusing to be beaten, was not there this year. Nonetheless, I am so glad that I saw such a filly in my lifetime.  Thank you, RA; enjoy your second career as a mommy.  You owe nothing to anyone since you gave so generously.

28 Sep 2010 9:26 PM
Mike Relva

BAD TRIP

Totally agree with you a million per cent. I've stated many times she was run into the ground last year. Now connections are paying for their greed. Each horse has only so many races in them,Jackson and Asmussen cashed them in last yr.

28 Sep 2010 9:29 PM
The Rock

Good call Jason. Now that you brought that up I do remember him saying that. I still remember that 6f work she had derby week. The most impressive workout I've ever seen. I never got to see Secretariat's workouts of him breaking track records back in the day.

Anyway, i'll digest JJ's decision a little further and see what comes out the other end tomorrow. Gotta hit the bar and see how my Giants will fare tonight on their playoff quest. Go G-Men!

28 Sep 2010 9:30 PM
John T

The correct early season target

for Rachel should have been the Stephen Foster because connections

were saying all along that her main goal for this year was the Breeders Cup Classic and you could

not get it any better,same track,same distance,same coditions,

3 years old and up against males.It

does not matter if Rachel won the Stephen Foster or not running in that race would have let them know

[a] we have seen enough to keep our

goal of the classic or [b] no that track and distance against older males is not going to suit let,s change the plans for her.

28 Sep 2010 9:39 PM
needler in Virginia

I really don't know how I feel about the retirement, but I DO know that Rachel has not been FIERCE this year. She was fierce last year, and that's gone. Maybe her connections finally got the message she's been sending. She has my wishes for a long, healthy and productive life.

Cheers and safe trips.

28 Sep 2010 9:40 PM
The Dance

All the folks who have been wanting her bred since the Preakness should look up her dam & see all the trouble she (Lotta Kim) has had with foaling. Nothing romantic about the breeding biz--go look up why Sea the Stars' dam (the great Urban Sea) doesn't have any new offspring.

With tbreds requiring live cover & no embryo transfer to register the foal, Rachel's toughest times may be yet to come.

It was like a punch in the gut to read she;s retired. The 2009 campaign was a masterpiece--this year a poorly-planned one in which RA was far from humiliated. Too many people talk a big game about what a top filly "coulda" done, had she raced outside the comfort zone of her own sex/age.

Rachel achieved. Racing will miss her. Let's hope the breeding biz doesn't see her die in foaling or pasture accident, ot just turn out to be a poor producing broodmare who ends up at a stockyard or abattoir, forgotten, like Ferdinand & so many others unsuccessful as sires & dams.

28 Sep 2010 9:47 PM
Susan

I'm just waiting to see which outstanding horse Jess Jackson will buy next and ruin.

28 Sep 2010 9:47 PM
Paula Higgins

Jason, excellent piece from the title of this blog to every word you wrote. I couldn't agree more with just one exception: I don't think she would have won the Stephen Foster. You are so right about everything else. I am so disappointed that she didn't make it to the Breeders Cup. I am wondering what happened between the bullet work and their decision to retire her? Something must have pushed them towards that decision but I can't put my finger on it.

Maybe they just didn't want to risk one more defeat, I don't know. But disappointing is the word, even though she does not owe us anything.

I will say this, she was one amazing, wonderful, jaw dropping horse in 2009. She made history in a way no other filly ever has. But as the poster above said, when a filly/mare decides they have had it, that's the end of the story. I think she lost her competitve edge and she was just done after the intense campaign of last year. I will always love this horse. She had heart, no matter what. She was and is drop dead beautiful too. I will really miss her, but I am glad she is being retired in good health and not injured.

28 Sep 2010 9:49 PM
John

The horseracing industry has suffered mightily in the last few days. We lost Mark Anthony Villa in a tragic accident at Zia Park on Saturday. We then lost Noble Threewitt that gave thoroughbreds 75 of the best years of his life being a trainer. Then Real Quiet passes away and now Rachel Alexandra retires.

If any of you truly loves horseracing you should scream and shout and will Zenyatta to win this weekend and make the Classic a race to anticipate.

Heaven knows that this industry desperately needs something positive right now.

28 Sep 2010 9:53 PM
sidekickflats

Well as someone who coughed up the money to go to the Apple Blossum in hopes of seeing Rachel as well as coughed up the money to go see her in the BC, Mr. Jackson is not on my top 10 list of favorite people at the moment.  Of course, even without Rachel, the BC will be great.  I do agree with you on all that you said regarding her management this year.  

I don't agree that she should have gone in the Stephen Foster. I think that Blame would have handled her easily.  She would not have had the perfect setup she had in the La Troeinne and her and Battle Plan may have both exited the race injured.  

I was upset that they removed her from Mr. Wiggins barn and staff just as I was bummed they took Curlin away from Linda Rice.

I do however disagree about Calvin's ride in the Personal Ensign.  She got beat and she probably would have gotten beat with anyone on her that day.  I don't believe she wanted any part of a mile and a quarter.  They say that miler's make great sires.  I wonder if that holds true for broodmares.  

Baby Curlin in 2012.  Baby Eskendreya in 2013?

28 Sep 2010 9:55 PM
Derby

Well said!  Great article

28 Sep 2010 9:57 PM
Katie

i kinda of feel like not only did rachels career end in disapointment but curlins did too you know?

28 Sep 2010 10:04 PM
Barbara W

Maybe I'm an odd duck, but I am so relieved to hear that she is being retired. I am a huge Zenyatta fan, but I have felt sorry for Rachel ever since she was sold. Unlike Zenyatta, I think her spirit will profit from the peace and quiet of the country. (I'm not certain Zen won't, but I know she will wonder where the adoring crowds are). I wish Rachel only the best--beautiful babies, long life, and beautiful, serene surroundings.

28 Sep 2010 10:04 PM
ctgreyhound

Mismanaged? That hardly puts it into perspective, but it is a good place to start. This entire season has been a debacle. How could a team that executed a carefully mapped out 2009 campaign be so nonplussed in 2010? It simply makes no sense. But then with Jess Jackson at the helm what do you expect? The only remarkable move he has made so far was to keep Curlin in training at age 4. Yanking Rachel from Wiggins was absurd. Who's to say but if he had been retained as conditioner Rachel may be in training today &  headed for the Breeders Cup in some capacity. This is truly devastating to the sport. A major player, a star is pulled before her time. While everyone wants what's best for Rachel the connections have squandered a noble career with what appears to be ineptness.

28 Sep 2010 10:08 PM
RP

Learning about Rachel's retirement and then Real Quiet's death was a 1-2 punch for me today. Quick, someone put Zenyatta in a protective bubble after this weekend.

I saw Rachel on Oaks Day this year, stood in the paddock for her, took pictures and cheered. I have loved her more and more this year, partially because I've felt she has, in a way, needed my love, needed the love of her fans in a way Zenyatta might not. I am hopeful this next phase in her life treats her well. We will always have her 3 year old campaign, and maybe she went out with a whimper instead of a bang, but at least she's alive and sound (hopefully, the news coming on the heels of a bullet work makes me a tad nervous).

RIP the Fish. I know people point to Smarty's Belmont as the heartbreaker but Real Quiet losing by a nose was MY heartbreaker. I feel he's always been underrated.

28 Sep 2010 10:18 PM
Livesoutwest

Her Woodward was considered by racing fans as ducking Summer Bird?  Gimme a break, she DEMOLISHED Summer Bird in the Haskell, and that was over the kind of sloppy surface he relished.  If SB's connections wanted revenge, the onus was on them to go and chase Rachel, not the other way around.  She had already proven her superiority to him and had nothing more to prove against three year-olds. She beat all the best in that division, male and female, and was moving on to face open company.

28 Sep 2010 10:28 PM
sodapopkid

Now Rachel can be a happy filly,  

Jason,  How much cabbage did you lose in Vegas,  You can tell us,  You're not in Vegas anymore. So what happened there you can  share, It don't have to stay there.

I hope you didnt cut into your "payback Zenyatta"  funds..

28 Sep 2010 10:30 PM
Jimmy

Jason, I share many of the same feelings as you. Rachel Alexandra was a horse for the ages, and watching her in 2009, at her peak, was a thing of beauty. We were treated to a campaign that is arguably the most ambitious ever achieved by a 3 year old filly, and one I will confidently say, will never be duplicated again. When she ran, she was majestic. From her speed, stamina, and heart, she was what you want in a race horse and the reason we, as fans, enjoy this sport so much. Unfortunately, her 4 year old campaign did not materialize into what we wanted, and I do believe it was due to mismanagement, but regardless, she will always be remembered for her horse of the year campaign, and she will always be remembered for what she did on the track against the games best, when she was at her best. The Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose displayed her speed, the Haskell displayed her power, and the Woodward displayed her heart. It is a sad day for racing, but Rachel Alexandra proved last year that she is one of the greatest fillies to ever step on the track, and I and all fans of the sport will always remember her for the champion she is, and will always have the memories of her when she ran, which was a thing of beauty. Now she can enjoy the green pastures and live life in retirement as a horse.

28 Sep 2010 10:33 PM
Bill Smith

Very good blog.Especially your final comment.Yes it was a ridiculous way to end the career of such a FANTASTIC racehorse.

She has a bullet work one day,retires the next.What gives? Does she have a minor injury they are not letting the public know about?Personally,I feel Asmussen did a lousy job training her this year and is not the hotshot he is made out to be.

As for Calvin Borel,everyone should leave the poor guy alone.Who knows how much pressure he was under to get a win out of RA.He was simply doing his job and never at any time gave her a bad ride.

After what Rachel accomplished she is still the best female horse of all time to me.

Her best race was the Woodward.To beat males for the third time and older males to boot was stupendous!

My only regret is they never gave Rachel a try on the turf.Who knows what she would have done.

Have a happy retirement Rachel,you deserve it.

28 Sep 2010 10:55 PM
gammyp6

I always appreciated Jess Jacksons campaigning of Curlin as a 4 year old. But clearly he does not like to lose. That was very evident when Curlin lost the BC. Rachel was going to make everything better. And she did. For a while. She was brilliant as a 3 year old but it burned her out. I agree with those who say she simply has lost interest. Now she can move on. She will always be loved and revered by racing fans. Me included. That being said Calvin Borel has bugged me ever since his on again off again antics on MTB (also being horribly mismanaged and by a Hall of Fame trainer) I just don't care for the Asmussens (sic) and JJ makes his billions from wine not horses. Essentially they are just expensive toys. And he has been out shopping. So here is to Rachel and the excitement she brought to racing. I hope she can be visited and not cloistered

away but I won't make any travel plans just yet. And to you legion of RA fans I welcome you with open arms to Camp Zenyatta. Lets all cheer her on to victory this weekend and for a second BC Classic along with Tiznow.

28 Sep 2010 10:58 PM
EightBellesLover

What a downer to end her career like this. If Jackson hadnt bought, she would have faced off against Zen for sure, since wiggins was keepin Rach with the girls.

28 Sep 2010 10:58 PM
Pam S.

As someone who communicates in press releases, JJ is not the most forthcoming person in the world.  So we will never know for sure, but maybe Rachel had an issue after her work Monday.  That, along with the stark difference between her 2009 and 2010 campaigns that everyone kept pointing out, might have been the last straw -- Team Rachel finally decided she shouldn't go to the BC.

I wish she were going, because she is such a fan favorite and I myself was looking forward to watching her.  But if she was "telling" them she didn't want to do it, then their decision was the right one.  Just too bad she didn't go out a winner.

We like to "romanticize" horses breeding (usually in fun), but I agree with the poster who said that the life of a broodmare isn't all soap operas and bon bons.  I wish beautiful Rachel the very best of luck with her breeding career -- all easy births and healthy foals!

28 Sep 2010 11:03 PM
Runfast159

Here is what I think:

We got what we wanted last year - a HOY campaign from a 3 year old filly.  

We paid the price this year.

Her best race may have been the Preakness, or even the Haskell, but the Kentucky Oaks took my breath away.

I don't understand the 6 month lay off.

I think it's incredibly difficult to bring a filly off of a 6 month hiatus and take them back to top form, especially that of Rachel 09.  

She ran 5 very good races this year.

A filly this good at 3 won't be seen again in a long time. Maybe not in my lifetime.

I'm tired of the criticism of camp Rachel.  You are damned if you do, damned if you don't in this sport.

It is too bad there was never a Zenyatta/Rachel match up.  But it's like crying over spilled milk.

The most baffling thing of all, to me?  A bullet work, fastest of 63 I think, and retired the next day.  There is more to the story, I wonder if we'll ever know.

Rachel gave us some of the most exciting racing we've seen in a long time in this sport.  I will miss following her career tremendously.

Happy retirement Rachel!

28 Sep 2010 11:05 PM
Karen in Indiana

I think all those wheels squeaking as they turn in Jess Jackson's head must make too much noise for him to think straight. That's the only rational explanation I can think of for the way he has managed Rachel this year, it's pretty clear Steve Asmussen hasn't been in charge. IMO, she was pushed too hard last year and was able to excel because of her natural talent and the foundation she'd been given by Hal Wiggins. The long layoff with her staying at the track was just odd. Jess Jackson's choice of races this year is just as odd. Which leads me to the conclusion that Rachel was an exceptional filly who had the bad luck to be owned by people who took the money and ran, leaving her in the control of a man who mismanaged her from day one. What a shame.

28 Sep 2010 11:10 PM
Jimmy

Calling Rachel Alexandra a miler is a loser comment sidekickflats. Try to make a respectable comment next time instead of an idiotic jab.

28 Sep 2010 11:14 PM
Marseille

Beyond my immense disappointment in the entire 2010 campaign, my heart aches for what lies ahead for remarkable Rachel: year after year of pregnancy and foaling. It is a sad and unfair reality for those gals who have already given so much. "Retirement" for fillies and mares is anything but.  

28 Sep 2010 11:23 PM
Carole M

RA's retirement was written on the wall! Fortunately, or unfortunately, we will never know what the outcome would have been between these two great ladies. They're both winners and should always be remembered as such.

28 Sep 2010 11:24 PM
Sharon

I agree with your statements about Rachel.  No, I'm not the least bit surprised about her retirement.  Sadly, I think Jackson and Asmussen over raced her last year in order to get HOY with no thought to how she would feel after that.  They had little concern for her welfare.  She is a beautiful filly, ran her heart out and just doesn't care to be run into the ground this year. I'm sure I've said many times that she is one classy filly, her connections totally lack class.

28 Sep 2010 11:25 PM
jlp9185

What a heartbreaking day for racing fans!  On the day it was announced the tragic death of Real Quiet, we now learn that Rachel Alexandra has been retired.  While I am not surprised that the horse was retired, I am still saddened and disappointed with her connection's decision.  This year Rachel's campaign was as bizzare as by contrast to the previous year that was brilliant.  This is a sorry way to end her career, but considering how badly her campaign was mismanaged this year, I expect nothing less from her connections.  I am glad that she is retiring sound  

On a different note and just a thought:  It would be nice if fans could get to say "Good-bye" to Rachel by having her presence on Breeders' Cup Day at Churchill Downs, or at the very least, if a day is set aside for her during the Churchill Downs meet.

28 Sep 2010 11:41 PM
Emily27

I know many people don't believe she was the same horse, but this is a huge blow. This is devastating, I am going to miss watching her so much! What an absolutely amazing and beautiful filly. I will look at her no less because of her 2010 season. She is still a super horse to me and i think she should be remembered as one. I just hope there is not too much of a bitter taste left of her. <3 Rachel Alexandra

28 Sep 2010 11:55 PM
Abbie Knowles

Hi everyone

Have always thought that Rachel was with the wrong Asmussen.  Cash Asmussen is much better with the media.  A master of witty oneliners, a great talker and a great diplomat!  

Cash is also a vastly superior horseman to almost anyone!  He proved that when based in France and riding in Europe.  i saw Cash ride in many races in Europe on TV and at the track and he rode/helped with some very difficult horses eg Polish Precedent, Soviet Star and two horses with wayward steering (initially) - Suave Dancer and Montjeu!

Had Cash had Rachel in his care she would have been looked after like The Queen she is - and would have had the advantage of being ridden at home by one of the best horseman ever with a great deal of help from Cheryl his wife.

No way would Cash have let Rachel be  abused by being whipped like  she was when beating Macho Again.  Cash never used his whip like that when riding!  He and his family are true horse people who always put the needs of the HORSE first!

Jess Jackson would not have "controlled" Cash.  Cash can and does stand up to anyone!

I don't know why Cash is not making many headlines with his training.  But it is only a matter of time before he does!  

As a jockey he was far and away the best!  I mean no disrespect to the many other fine horsemen around the world!  But in all my years of watching horse racing (since the mid sixties and jockeys prior to that on old film clips etc) Cash in my opinion out rode and most definitely out talked the lot!

Why Cash is not more popular is beyond my comprehension!

I wish Rachel Alexandra a long and happy retirement!

Thanks for the memories Rachel!  We will never forget you or the joy you gave us when you raced!

God Bless

Best wishes

Abbie

29 Sep 2010 12:00 AM
Paula Higgins

ITA with everyone's feelings about Real Quiet. What a truly great horse he was and yes his loss in the Belmont wasn't really a loss to me.

Today was not a great day for racing. My only consolation is that Rachel is not injured and retires in good health. I hope they do not turn her into a non-stop breeding machine.

Let's hope and pray Zenyatta has a great weekend and the heat dies down. Running in that extreme heat would be horrible for all the horses.

I would love to see Rachel at the Breeders Cup making a farewell appearance. I wonder if her connections would consider it?

29 Sep 2010 12:01 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

Hey Livesoutwest,

Give it a rest already.  Rachel was brilliant up to 9 furlongs with weight breaks.  Ten furlongs - even with the weight breaks - was just too far.  Summer Bird was a true classic horse - 10 to 12 furlongs was his wheel house.

I was one of the people who felt badly for Hal Wiggins and Rachel last year when she was purchased by JJ.  I do not feel that Rachel beat the quality of horses in several of her races that Zenyatta faced last year.  

Rachel was an amazingly consistent runner, and she gave her all.  I think you have to be very careful with a filly like that, and the campaign they put her through last year was not a cautious one.  It was ego driven, and I hope that she can be let down now and be a relaxed, happy and successful broodmare.

29 Sep 2010 12:03 AM
jimbranch

Rachel is great, and it is sad to see her go.  Let's dwell on the positive things she contributed to the sport and stop all of the negativity towards the connections.  99.9% of us here have no idea what it is like to manage a horse of her caliber.   Here's what concerns me...(pedigree experts...what say you?)...is this potential Rachel-Curlin match a good thing?  

29 Sep 2010 12:03 AM
needler in Virginia

gammyp6, I must disagree with you, and now that I've decided how I feel abut Rachel's retirement, here's my two cents worth. Hal Wiggins is a horseman and a great trainer; HE had Rachel ready (MORE than ready) for the Oaks, and I truly believe that Asmussen coasted on WIggins' prep of a truly special filly. Mr Jackson reaped the rewards that Mr Wiggins had sown. At the end of the year, no one had any idea how to keep her at peak and she was allowed to languish in the doldrums of indecision. She paid the price for that indecision this year. It's a shame when someone owns a horse like Rachel, and does not understand the first thing about managing lightning in a bottle. Her 2010 campaign will never be called "one for the ages" as her campaign of 2009 must be. I lay the responsibility for that directly at the doors of Jackson and, by extension, Asmussen, as I think Jackson ALWAYS sits in the drivers' seat. I think JJ considered Rachel another gem in his crown to be used casually, and when she didn't win, retired with no explanation or consideration for the fans that have stood squarely in Rachel's corner and defended his every choice for a horse they had come to love. Now the toothpaste is out of the tube, and Jackson will be scrutinized over EVERY purchase and decision he makes from now on. I, for one, would rather have my horse just standing in the bottom pasture grazing and pooping than sell to him.....but that's just me and my two cents. Consider the source and get on with the blog; it's fascinating how many folks SEEM to feel like I do, to one extent or another. Maybe they're just not as nasty as I am being by saying it in print. If so, they have FAR more will power than I do.

Cheers and safe trips.

29 Sep 2010 12:04 AM
Rinaldo

I am very disappointed Rachael was not run in the Beldame.  It was her distance-- 1 1/8.

Any other horse that had her season would not be retired--it is only because she had an unprecedented 3 year old campaign.

This was very bad for the sport and I would have love to see her run in the Beldame and the Ladies Classic wich would have been at 1 1/8.   Clearly, she would have been a very long shot in the Classic.

29 Sep 2010 12:08 AM
Barb Dwyer

I agree with a lot of what you said except I think Winning Colors accomplished more as a 3YO even though she didn't win 'em all.  She tried everything from a one mile race against fillies to the 12f Belmont against colts (after winning the KD and showing in the Preakness).  

And 20 years from now I doubt any of Rachel's competitors will stack up similarly to the horses Winning Colors beat like Risen Star, Seeking The Gold, & Forty Niner.  And she also barely lost to Personal Ensign.

And I didn't have a problem with them starting Rachel's 2010 campaign with the NO Ladies Stakes.  She's not the only HOY to start the following year in an ungraded stakes.  Holy Bull, for example, started his post-HOY campaign in an ungraded stakes too (and I'm sure there are plenty of other examples).

BUT the one thing I wholeheartedly agree with = I think the way her career ended was ridiculous.

29 Sep 2010 12:10 AM
RachelSatterfield

So, she worked like a beast on Monday (all of her works since that last bad loss have been really good actually).  Today they retired her.

Anyone else feel like there might be a soundness issue and that she may have come out of the work with something wrong?  I wondered after the long layoff over the winter if she had come out of the Steven Foster with an injury that they weren't telling us about.  She came back a much different horse...mentally and physically.

Something has been telling me for a while, she's not sound...and they're hiding it from all of us.

29 Sep 2010 12:22 AM
shuttleworth

Rachel Alexandra... I'll always have fond memories of your races... I'll always love you... enjoy your "retirement"!

29 Sep 2010 12:29 AM
Barry

Hope the horse is not hurt. But if she retires or races, no big deal. Racing will go on. Personnelly I'm in horse racing only to try and win some money. Could care less about seeing any horse, trainer, jockey, or owner. Next race please.

29 Sep 2010 12:30 AM
Meydan Rocks!

Jason,

Great blog.

Someone posted the competition Winning Colors faced during her 3 year old season and I was almost blown away.

The ambition of that campaign was pretty impressive.

She didn't win as many races that year but boy did she face some stellar competition.

Just a thought...

29 Sep 2010 12:34 AM
ralph

Seriously, some of these comments are insane, look Rachael was awesome, and if you think you could of did a better job of managing her career, then go spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and buy you're own racehorse, they atleast retired her sound. It is a huge blessing that this horse can move on, and pass her genes on to her offspring. Atleast she is sound, and we did'nt see this rock stars life end on the racetrack! Thank's too the conections.

29 Sep 2010 12:37 AM
an ole rail bird

im not surprised RA was retired. after the scrutiny of the bloging race fans, i can imagine the fear of making the wrong decision, & breaking down a horse like this filly is . lets play a game called "what would you have said if". what would you have said if, calvin borel hadnt used his stick, in RAs last race?  'what would have said if ' she had started in the stephen foster ,& 2 or 3 more of the many races she could started in. & then gone out for a work & done something like eight belles did !  we could go on all night with, "what would have said if ". it is what it is . the decision has been made to retire her. let us forget what injustice has been done to racing. let us turn to the remaining outstanding 3 yearold fillys who are going to the BC. remember the old adage " one monkey dont stop no show'. lets forget it & go race some horses.

29 Sep 2010 12:39 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

I must add a few thoughts to my previous post.

I think there are some Rachel "fans" who should be doing some serious soul searching right about now.  

Then there are some others who have already posted here that are leaving a very sour taste in my mouth.  Here's some of what I read from them...paraphrased.

"Racing really needs good news now."  "Racing desperately needed Rachel to run against Zenyatta."  Etc., etc.

Bull.  Racing needs more educated, realistic fans.

Racing needs fans who truly understand that horses are living, breathing, feeling individuals and not machines.  There are good - even great - stallions and broodmares all over the country.  There are 35,000 Thoroughbreds born each year.  If there are not enough horses to get behind and support in that group, then there's something wrong with the "fans."

It reminds me of the old Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck cartoon where Daffy was trying out his Vaudeville material in front of a live audience.  No matter what he did, the crowd was dead silent.  So finally, he swallowed some gunpowder and gasoline and a whole bunch of other stuff...and then he swallowed a lighted match.   Of course he explodes with a tremendous fire ball, and the audience goes wild.  Bugs comes up to Daffy (Daffy's soul actually as it ascends to heaven...Daffy was killed obviously) and says, "You're a hit Daffy, they loved your act!"  Daffy replies in a perturbed voice, "I know, I know, but I can only do it once!"

Some of you remind me of that audience.

Is that what racing needs to "survive"?  Is that what some racing fans need to be happy with the sport?   Overly ambitious campaigns (like Rachel's was last year) instead of disciplined campaigns designed for the long-term health and success of the horse (like Zenyatta's)?   We all know what has been written about Zenyatta's 2010 campaign.  Well guess what?  She may actually get to the BCC and defend her title.  Isn't that enough?  Rachel didn't make it to the Breeder's Cup last year, and she won't make it to the Breeder's Cup again this year.  The weight of that 2009 campaign and of all the unrealistic expectations were just too much if you ask me.  

If Asmussen acted against his better judgement and deferred to his owner, I hope he's learned a lesson.

29 Sep 2010 12:57 AM
Fuzzy Corgi

Abbie Knowles- The reason RA was sent to Steve Asmussen instead of Cash Asmussen is that JJ can pull the marionette strings any way he likes on Steve.

29 Sep 2010 1:01 AM
ALB

Jason, I absolutely love your blogs/writing & could not agree more with this one! You hit the nail on the head with a hammer! First off, after the Woodward last year they should have given her rest & taken her off the track for a little bit of rest the real "horse" way. Then brought her back into training, slowly but surely. Asmussen knows only ONE way of training, & doesn't change his training to adapt to each individual horse, he just thinks HIS way is the absolute way of thoroughbred training & that is definitely shown to us fans this year with the training of Rachel. Pretty much for 2009, Rachel was already conditioned by Hal Wiggins & he didn't have to do much, except accept all the credit for what Rachel was accomplishing. Too bad too, because who really knows what she could have shown us fans this year, if she fully hadn't been mismanaged by people who only had THEIR interests at mind instead of Rachel's! Also, if they changed the rider, then they would have seen more positive results. It's once been quoted by Asmussen, that he didn't want to give her love by showing her affection because she is not a pet, she's a racehorse, obviously doesn't care one ounce that it's been proven many times that any type of animal really likes any type of affection rather than none at all, realizes that these animals are just that. Horses deserve to be treated fairly & it is those whose performance are shown to be stakes horses are being treated right. Sorry, but all you Zenyatta lovers out there that think she's going to automatically win this years HOY, got another thing coming! Even if she wins the Classic this year, which is highly unlikely, she's not going to win based on her CA racing schedule this year. Oh sorry, add the Apple Blossom, two times out of the state of CA, surely isn't going to win any award even if their subpar record is undefeated.

29 Sep 2010 1:34 AM
gammyp6

Needler-I welcome your comments and I think we agree more than disagree. You have always been among my favorites on these blogs. I very much appreciate your knowledge of the sport.

RIP Real Quiet. Watched your Belmont again tonight. Twice.

29 Sep 2010 2:41 AM
Bet Twice

Generously, I'd say she was retired in order to give her enough time to transition from racing to breeding.  She probably needs at least a couple of months to come down from racing and to cycle off the hormones they give to keep them from going into season.  Its not as if you can stop racing one day and breed them the next.  

I never thought they'd run her in the Breeders Cup,  but  I am a little surprised they didn't send her in the Beldame.  Maybe with Life at Ten and Devil May Care they were worried she'd get cooked in another speed duel and not be able to finish.

I think if she had a real injury, they'd announce it.  I don't see why they'd hide it, when it is a far more credible reason to retire her.

I think its also likely they are protecting her legacy.  There's only downside at this point.  She'll never take on the boys again and every race she loses this year sows doubt about her brilliance last year.  

In a few years, all we'll remember is 09, but right now, her poor follow up to HOY is eroding the credibility of last year's campaign.

29 Sep 2010 2:53 AM
BgCsh

Rachel should have been retired after the Woodward. After seeing that race I didn't feel good about her any more. She was pushed too hard and never should have been put in that race to begin with. Those older horses were a lot tougher than the 3-year-olds she had beaten. Jess Jackson just wanted the fame and HOY award and didn't care about what was best for his horse's wellbeing. I'm glad Zenyatta's people care about her. They're doing the right thing by not shipping her all over if she doesn't come out of it well and not running against males til the Classic, and if she would have had to run as hard and be as worn out after winning last year's Classic like Rachel was after the Woodward, they would have retired her then.                        

29 Sep 2010 2:56 AM
Bellwether

FORE REEL MY MAN...2009 WAS A HELL OF YEAR FORE ANY RACE HORSE...BEE N A FILLY MADE IT EVEN BETTER... WHERE A QUEEN CAN BEE A KING BABY...LONG LIVE THE KING!!!...ty...

29 Sep 2010 3:39 AM
jayjay

Man, a Jason blog I mostly agree with specially the timing of the announcement.  I'm quite sure we'll never know the truth considering how Jackson has played the media all year.  What would be infuriating is if they knew RA is hurt and they kept her going.  I don't agree that RA 2010 is capable of winning 1 1/4 but I'm also talking about against top level horses.  If she ran in a 10F race against the FDL field, there's no doubt she would run away from them with Borel sitting pretty but not with the likes of Blame or QR and Zen.  It's good to see you give credit to Hal, and recognizing the races that were rewritten for Jackson (not Rachel).  Nice article.

I won't say I'll miss her racing because I think she's earned this retirement, what I do look forward to are her babies.  I'll be following their careers.

Jason : Hope you scored some big hits in Vegas, or at least a hundred to cover our Zen Classic bet lol.

29 Sep 2010 3:47 AM
Kurt

i"ll be upfront and admit to being a huge Z fan. that having been said, i will NOT bash rachel in anyway. all year long people have gone back and forth over who was better one bashing the other insted of appreciating what we had..that being 2 exceptional fillys in training at the same time. now, 1 is gone and the other has only 2 more races(if she comes out healthy from this weekends race)whats sad to me is people will bad mouth rachel for what she didnt do this year and if zen happens to lose either, or both of her two remaining races, people will crush her as well. why all the hate?? why cant we all take a deep breath an enjoy what we had and what we have left because as someone else already posted,"we might not see another filly like RA and Z in our lifetimes"..i"d like to think ive got another 30 years of life left(im 42)but if i dont i"d like to think ive seen a couple of the best there was while i was here.

finally,gotta agree with the person who encouraged RA fans to cheer Z at the breeders cup. horse racing is in trouble, Z has brought alot of new fans to the sport. what better way to bring in even more then to see zenyatta go out 20-0

29 Sep 2010 4:03 AM
richard g

I was not a big fan of Rachel - no filly would ever eclipse Ruffian for me - but her 2010 campaign was as mismanaged as the latter part of Curlin's 4th year campaign, the template for this foul up. Jackson managed to tarnish the legacy of two great horses. I think this underscores just how great Zenyatta's connections have managed her through all the criticism of their choice of races. Finally, Rachel had a phenomenal campaign last year but, just as happened with Rags to Riches, the fact that she's a filly caught up with her. Score another point for Zenyatta, who is doing what no horse - particularly a horse of her gender - has ever been able to accomplish.

29 Sep 2010 5:46 AM
Blue Blue Sea

Hear, hear, Mr. Shandler! I agree - her season this year was bizarre and very mismanaged. I was at the race in New Orleans and not only did she look a tad unprepared, but it also seemed they were trying to change her running style. Don't forget the noseband changes. All these little things can upend any horse, but to have all of the above thrown at you . . . well, many a wise horse person has stated when you have a good to great one, just get out of their way and keep them happy. That didn't happen this year.

Hal Wiggins deserves so much credit for what he did - he's a true trainer and a class act. It si a shame she didn't go in the Derby - we might have actually had our TC winner and a filly at that.

I am super sad to see her retire and unsure how happy she will be no longer competing. So much drive and desire.

29 Sep 2010 6:47 AM
sodapopkid

Where is Draynay?  I am surprized he isnt making a statement about Rachel's retirement.

29 Sep 2010 6:54 AM
Soltero

This announcement didn't come as any surprise to me, as I've been befuddled by peoples' comments since the Woodward last year regarding what Rachel's connections "should have" done with her.  She is not motorcycle.

I urge you all to look up the Blood-Horse issue after she won the Woodward.  There's a 2 page photo of the winner's circle picture and you will notice that there is not one smile on the faces of the people who actually put their hands on horses.  I watched that race with angst and prayed for the wire to come up because she wasn't going to lose even if she died for it.  And that's what would have happened if the race had been a few yards longer.  She gave 110% and she was spent.  You wonder why it took so long to get her back?  Go back and watch that race again and you will see the answer.

It was simply too much to ask of a 3YO filly, especially one with the Never Give Up attitude.  

So I watched her with compassion this year and was actually relieved that the fire seemed to be dimmed.  I spent years on the racetrack and I've seen too much self-destruction from horses who run too freely.  Ruffian is the classic example.

While the timing seems strange, I am glad she retired in one piece.

29 Sep 2010 6:56 AM
DaisyMae

Rachel thrilled us with her brillant runs and wins.  It would have been nice to see her run against Zenyatta, which in my mind was the only race I wanted to see.  Since she never got back into true form the only thing left is to let her be a horse and enjoy life as a spoiled girl.  

29 Sep 2010 7:13 AM
Bobhutt

Quite simply let's call a spade a spade. Calvin Borel's ride aboard Rachel in the Woodward last summer at Saratoga was her swan song.  

First, he put away the speed in suicide fractions.  then in the middle portion of the race he took on the stalkers and finished them.  

Finally in the deep stretch he put away the closers and Rachel won possibly the toughest race a horse has ever been asked to race.  

The bottom line Calvin Borel "gutted" her.  

And the truth be told she was way for 9 months because she never came back to being herself.

In to challenge her included 8-1 second choice Macho Again, second in the Whitney Handicap after winning the Stephen Foster, and 11-1 third choice Asiatic Boy, second in both the Stephen Foster and the Suburban Handicap.

Da' Tara was sent to the lead by Jose Lezcano but jockey Calvin Borel hustled Rachel Alexandra to challenge him entering the backstretch.

The pair dueled through fractions of 22.85, 45.41, and 1:10.54. Da 'Tara tired badly on the turn and was eased, as Rachel Alexandra drew away, opening up a 1 1/2 length lead in mid-stretch through 1 mile in 1:35.48. 14-1

Bullsbay moved up to challenge but was turned away, and then Macho Again, last early, closed strongly for his bid for the win.

However, in the final 1/16, Rachel Alexandra fought him off to get the hard-fought victory by a head in 1:48.29 over the fast surface. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Bullsbay third.

Where are all these horses?  All done -their careers over.  And Rachel was never the same again.

29 Sep 2010 7:27 AM
CURLINLOVER

I'm not surprised as it was Jackson's intent to breed RA to Curlin all along! I am surprised at the timing - but think Jackson is too impatient to see the offspring from those two superhorses while he's still alive: after all, it'll be at least 3 years before he sees racing results! And how well is he? But it's disappointing to all of us who are fans of her and Zenyatta that those two will now never meet! But that might have also been Jackson's plan: that they not meet! How great it would have been for racing to see those two duke it out win or lose! It's a shame to say the least! And RA just had a bullet workout! why retire her after that? I agree her training was too delayed and mismanaged this year. Too long between races and poor race choices! But it is what it is! As long as she's healthy and happy, I'll be the first to wish her well and enjoy her date with the Mighty CURLIN!!! Go CURLIN!

29 Sep 2010 7:41 AM
Rachel

I can arm-chair quarterback but I didn't have the racing world screaming & freaking at me to get her back into competition, people deriding me for every decision I made about her, demanding I have her ready in April "or else".

I thank JJ for seeing who she was and daring to give us last year by buying her and putting her into her true peer group (the boys). He and she owe us nothing. I got to see the best 3-year old American filly of all time, I never have to just read about her accomplishments.

I think no one is "god" and the owners and trainer did the best for the horse as they could...if they did anything "wrong" it was trying to accomodate the demand to get Rachel ready to meet Zenyatta in April.

Did they keep her on the sidelines too long? Did she NEED the rest? If she needed the time off, then she needed the time off. If she isn't the same as a 4 year old with "just" a 5-2-3-0 record, who cares? She was a brilliant 2 & unrivaled 3 year-old. Zen was nothing as a 2 & 3 year-old, and that's FINE...you are what you are.

I hope Rachel & Curlin have the most pompous filly ever.

PS I would let JJ pick out a horse for me anytime..he has a great eye.

29 Sep 2010 7:52 AM
MikeM

EVERY racehorse has physical issues. It's just a matter of degree. The "runners" ovecome them and run hard. My experience with racehorses as an owner is that there is always a reason for a change in performance and 99.999% of the time it is physical. Not suprised at all she was retired after a bullet work.

29 Sep 2010 8:13 AM
FunnyCideFanboy

Mismanagement ruined this wonderful filly, pure & simple. Jess Jackson has lost my respect.

29 Sep 2010 8:19 AM
ruffianruns

Well done, Jason.  Glad to have you back.  I missed you!  Your disappointment comes through in this article.  I'm heartbroken.  I kept dreaming she could return full blast to last year's brilliance.  I kept hoping that she would leave me breathless once again.  She set the bar so high.

I remember my uneasiness beginning last November, after the second month of no real news, no works, no farm visit.  That uneasy feeling never really left when watching her this year.  It's been very confusing:  getting good Beyers when losing, showing glimpses of her old self in the Fleur de Lis (I think she could have beat Blame that day), dropping back a bit in the Lady's Secret, and then her fine, but not enough Personal Ensign.

Despite all this, I love her more than ever and I wish her a safe, a happy, a peaceful retirement.

Thank you my beautiful Rachel Alexandra for your brilliance, your heart, your floating stride.  I look forward to Baby Rachel Alexandras running on long, stilty legs.  Please pass on your beauty:  your beautiful blaze, your face, your big heart.

I will love you forever and ever, and I will beat up any who dis you.  You are loved beyond belief and you are a Champion.

Thanks to those of you loving her and defending her honor.

29 Sep 2010 8:30 AM
eileen

for the most part i see owners who are more interested in money than the horses they own.  if ra was truly thought of she would have stayed with the trainer who made her great and not the power name that she didn't like. surprise horses have feeling and like and dislike the people around them.  that didn't take a smart person to see only someone who truly loves horses and there are alot of us around.  i hope ra gets the happy life she has earned but don't hold your breath.

29 Sep 2010 8:36 AM
Phil F

Very easy to be a monday morning QB. Jess Jackson has been good for racing and will continue to be good for racing and he no doubt feels this is best for RA.

29 Sep 2010 8:51 AM
Breezin'

I agree with many and most of your comments!  She was pushed too hard last year, laid off too long, and rushed back into fitness as a result.  Also, Jess Jackson needs to let his trainer be the trainer.  Nothing wrong with being involved with your horses, but Jackson seemed positively creepy most of the time when he'd make his "announcements" about RA and Asmussen seemed like he was terrified to say anything other than the script Jackson had given him.  And I really do believe something is wrong with her.  If she's really "OK", why not at least try to retire her with a win in some stakes race somewhere, rather than the defeat at Saratoga?  At least this debacle is over, and the too-often-disappointed fans can enjoy the Breeder's Cup with out the RA weirdness in the background.

29 Sep 2010 8:53 AM
LouAnn Cingel of Union, Missouri

Dear Rachel Alexandra-

Bless your heart!

29 Sep 2010 9:02 AM
Slew

I believe the die was cast when Rachel left everything she had on the track in the Woodward.  She, simply, had no more left to give.  In 2009 she amazed and awed me.  She was precocious, ans she was a champion.  After the Woodward, she had no freshening.  She spent the next 5 months in a stall.  It was no favor to her.  I am truly disappointed for her, that she is not being allowed to retire as a winner...one more chance is all I wanted.  This ending is rather sudden and sad, though expected.

I was speaking with my daughter yesterday (she hates horses), and she asked, "I know what happens to males.  What happens to fillies?"  As I explained, we both considered the gap in equality.  Sires command enormous stud fees.  Mares get not one red cent for carrying a foal in their tummies for the following 9 1/2 months.  Then foaling is never easy.  I wish Rachel happiness.  She became a legend last year; nothing will ever diminish that.

And I'm devastated by the loss of Real Quiet to such a tragic accident.  Oh, what might have been....by a nose!  Thank you, boy, for Midnight Lute.

29 Sep 2010 9:05 AM
Bill Daly

It just saddens me to think we will never see Zenyatta vs. Rachel. It's like Tom Fool and Native Dancer never happened.  I'm sure everyone is disappointed, but that's horse racing.  She should be remembered as one of the best ever and I truly hope her offspring have half the talent she has.

29 Sep 2010 9:11 AM
Mark

This business is too commercial, which is sad. It should be about racing. Alas, it is entirely about the dollar. I understand it requires investment of capital and one hopes to have a reasonable return on that investment. Rachel did, and will easily provide that regardless of how her racing career would have continued.

The cynic in me says she tweaked something at the work on Monday and her connections don't want her reputation sullied prior to her heading to the breeding shed.  If they keep her progeny, then I will be proven incorrect.  If not, then you should question the soundness of her progeny when they come to market.

I'm not an expert, just a thought.

29 Sep 2010 9:13 AM
HLLIKINS

I was saddened to hear of RA's retirement, especially after her excellent work the day before.  The only time I was able to see her in person was at Monmouth for the Haskell.  It is a clear picture in my mind how she came off the far turn and flew by the grandstand.  Hope she has a nice long productive career as a broodmare.

29 Sep 2010 9:13 AM
annie

With these people, anything could happen. They change their minds in a moments notice. We should know this, by now.

29 Sep 2010 9:14 AM
Bill Daly

Speaking of disappointments, how about all of the horses that never got to realize their potential due to injury?  Horses like Hoist The Flag or Graustark or General Duke? That's even more disappointing to me.  I don't think I've ever been more disappointed than when Hoist The Flag broke a leg prior to the Triple Crown.  Here was a horse with seeming limitless potential who simply devastated the opposition, but was cruelly denied the opportunity to prove himself fully.  There are countless other examples, but at least Rachel got to show the world what she could do.  It was a thrilling ride!

29 Sep 2010 9:16 AM
Maria

I also wish they would have run in the Beldame. 2 big wins, then a speed duel that she did not need to be in. If she is healthy, the Beldame was perfect for her. Just stay off a speed duel.

29 Sep 2010 9:19 AM
berttheclock

Ah, for the days of Charlie Whittingham, and, nary a word heard from Koch or Chandler or any of his other owners.

If only the proceeds would not go back to him, I would love to buy a case of Kendall-Jackson and pour all of it down the drain.

29 Sep 2010 9:20 AM
Mike Relva

JIMMY

Regarding your slam of SIDEFLATS. Do we really wanna re visit some of the lame,at best comments you've made?

29 Sep 2010 9:26 AM
slyder

Too bad RA's retiremnet overshadows the tragic accident that led to the loss of Real Quiet. That should have been the lead story coming out of the day.

No surprise to me that they retired her either Jason,there was nowhere to go for another "sure" win which as you pointed out didn't pan out so well this year when they tried. I'll always remember her accomplishments last year in my own perspective of the competition she faced not just the names of the races she won. Just like I am still not impressed with Giaccomo who won the Derby and MTB who won the same her wins in the Preakness and her subsequent wins against males doesn't make her a superstar in my book. To each his own but I was not impressed by the males she beat. Still some difficult races to win but in my opinion none of them was a race for the ages and many other fillies over time would have won against the same competition. I'll give credit to her connections in choosing placements where she could be successful. My biggest dissapointments come from their decisions to duck Zenyatta both at the Br. Cup last year and all of this year. I am however very much looking forward to her "date" with Curlin and what it produces. Curlin was a great horse and his blood mixed with hers is an enticing prospect. My biggest fear is that they won't be able to keep JJ out of the Breeding Shed and he'll mess that up for her too. Happy retirement to a pretty darn good horse who gave us some thrills last year after an uneventful 2 yr old career and who just couldn't get the job done so well this year for whatever reason.  

29 Sep 2010 9:26 AM
richard g

ALB: Zenyatta's record speaks for itself. You're just upset because her connections know how to manage a career, unlike Rachel's (who avoided Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom).

29 Sep 2010 9:28 AM
wendyg

I was a Rachel/Zenyatta fan last year.  Couldn't wait to watch them, but this year, I did not enjoy watching Rachel.  It was like having a tooth pulled.  Not Rachels fault or failure.  Her owners suck.  I am so happy for her that she gets to go play in green fields, and not live under her owner's wallet any more.  He should go into race cars or something and stop ruining good horses.  I hope you or someone will keep us up on Rachel and her foals, so we can continue to see her from time to time.  I wish you the very best Rachel. Run through green pastures on your terms.  Love you.

29 Sep 2010 9:28 AM
mr pibb

Gary at Rough Creek,

Unless you are 7 yrs old you are way into cartoons too much. The I can only do it once reference went right out the window with the very next episode that included Daffy Duck. Kinda like the Road Runner, it'a all fake!!

29 Sep 2010 9:33 AM
Mike Relva

BARRY

So,it's all about cashing a ticket only,right?

29 Sep 2010 9:34 AM
Bearcubs

Are we talkig about a horse or a piece of property. Compare yourself when you were 20 years old and now that you are 60 years old. Can you do the same things at both ages physically.I can't.She is a beautiful filly that God made and needs some respect.If everyone left out the money factor RA wouldn't be important to most people.If you love horses you love them for who they are just like you love another human. I always thought she should have retired last year. She has nothing to prove to the world. Just LOVE the filly and let's see what kind of colt or filly she will deliver to the world of horse racing.

29 Sep 2010 9:39 AM
InTX

I have said this before and I re state it here.  The Don King-est managament of this filly after the Oaks and for her entire '10 season have been her undoing.  She was better off with Mr. Wiggins.  Personally, I'm glad she and Zenyatta never met.  They are apples and oranges, and the contrast in running styles would have beaten RA, as would have the riding styles, as well.  Mike Smith is so in tune with Zenyatta, unlike MTB, and he still almost beat RA on him.  He just didn't move soon enough.  A mile 1/8 is RA's distance.  It may have put Z at a disadvantage, but only a slight one.  She is a bigger, stronger mare, and so much better managed than RA, it really wouldn't have been a fair match up for the younger mare.  I'm very disappointed in her career since being sold.  What a debacle.  I wish her a peaceful and healthy career as a broodmare, and I sure hope she is managed more responsibly in that capacity than she was as a race horse this final season.

29 Sep 2010 9:39 AM
beej56

I couldn't have put it better myself, Jason.  Poor girl was on the decline the minute she left Hal Wiggin's barn.  I think Hal and Rachel had the same relationship that John and Zenyatta have.  Hal and John read their horses likes, dislikes, what they're ready for, what they're not; THEY LISTEN TO THEM.  I don't think Rachel has been very happy since she went to Jackson/Asmussen.  And yes, I believe they broke her spirit.  What a shame.  I'm in Zenyatta's camp but had nothing but admiration for Rachel and her accomplishments.

29 Sep 2010 9:40 AM
wendyg

I don't believe Rachel's legacy is ruined, I believe Jackson's is.  Anybody who loves Rachel will know who she is and what she could do in the right hands.  This season will mar Jackson, not Rachel.  She will be loved by all for her efforts.  I've lost all faith in Borel after watching him hit Rachel like he did last time out.  He is touted as her great rider until she can't do anymore for him, and then she is no good.  Mine that Bird was a fluke Derby winner and Borel took credit for it, but he got lucky.  Things opened up for him.  Mine that Bird hasn't done anything since.  

Like others, I do believe she did not come back well from her "bullet work".  I think that is why they held their press conference and retire her.  I'm just glad she's out of Jackson, Asmussen, and Borel's hands.

29 Sep 2010 9:43 AM
el

Jason--while I agree with you about the way RA's 4 yr old campaign was managed, I still believe that as the owner, Jackson had the right to make the decisions he made.  We all may disagree with them, but he does pay the bills after all.  I think that much of her success last year was launched by Hal Wiggins and it was very easy for Steve Assmusen to take over and ride on his coat-tails.  I think her 2009 campaign burned her out and, according to Larry Bramledge, warranted the time off.  Whether she should have been brought back at all is questionable, given the way she raced this year.  Maybe if she had been run on a Zenyatta-like campaign last year, with little or no competition in a handful of carefully selected races and no transporting all over the country, we would have a different horse this year.  After all, it's easy to have a fresh horse if she when she is as protected as Zenyatta has been.  I am glad that the "race of the ages" between the 2 gals never did take place.  It would have been a shame for RA to have been beaten and been forever considered inferior when she had no real chance of success this year.  At least last year there would have been a level playing field.  I guess we can look forward to the babies.

29 Sep 2010 9:44 AM
Dave

Everyone has a guess as to why she couldn't return to greatness, but it's just too complex of a question to answer.  I, like many, tend to agree that the campaign was mismanaged from the start.  You would be hard pressed to have trainers who handled her differently than Wiggins and Asmussen did.  Wiggins let her work- which she was more than willing to do as she dragged riders around the track with her awesome power.  Asmussen chose to take the speed out of the works and if you ever saw them, you saw a filly who wanted to run being held so strongly that her head was half cocked.  It showed when she raced and was never given her head to run.  

In my mind, this campaign is what the "sheet" worshipers love.  Aside from getting started early, she should have jumped into some racing instead of spacing it out like one of the horses with physical issues.  Can you imagine Whittingham, Laz, or Woody spacing a campaign like this instead of finding spots to get their horse ready to run.  I guess that's just the way things are now.

At the end of the day, I'll miss her...I was already missing her because she clearly not the same.  I was commenting to a friend of mine that in my lifetime I have seen maybe a dozen races that downright brought chills to me, and she was in half of them.  The 2009 campaign of Rachel Alexandra was the best, most ambitious, most entertaining season I've seen and by a margin greater than the 20 lengths that she won the Kentucky Oaks by.

29 Sep 2010 9:44 AM
kenek

I totally agree with you. Wish they had left her with her original trainer who did a terrific job all the way through the Kentucky Oaks. Believe the length of her layoff was far too long. She finished her 3yr old campaign sound and although a rest was a good idea, too much time away from competing did her in. It was obvious she didn't return in 2010 as the same Rachel.

29 Sep 2010 9:47 AM
DrMaryC

I am saddened by the sniping, now that Rachel has been retired.

Without question the six month lay-off was her undoing. No athlete, especially a race horse, can come back to peak form in a few weeks after lazing around for so long. I thought it was horrendous that she was being rushed back when the possible race against Zenyatta was on the horizon.

 Having been involved with horses for over fifty years I believe that decisions should always be made with the best interest of the horse at the forefront. What the connections or the public wants should always be secondary!

  I regret that I will never have the chance to see this wonderful filly run in person, but feel blessed that we have been able to see her brilliant efforts at all.

29 Sep 2010 9:57 AM
Rider17

Gary @ Rough Creek--Amen, brother!

Rachel A is a dazzling, breathtaking racehorse.  Her best race?  I think the Kentucky Oaks, where she ran for the pure fun of it. JJ and Assmussen paid lip-service to "letting Rachel tell us what to do."  The voice they really listened to belongs to their egos.

Rachel will be greatly missed. I wish her well in her new life.  

29 Sep 2010 9:57 AM
heidigirl

I think the author of this blog hit the nail on the head at every count. The filly should have stayed with Hal Wiggins and the campaign from the "new" start was mismanaged completely. Period.They treated her like a circus act, took themselves too seriously and even though they said they did everything in the interest of the horse the plain truth was they did not. And the results speak for themselves.

The Asumussen Team never seems to handle pressure all that well and it reflected ultimately on the filly's career.

29 Sep 2010 10:06 AM
Rachel's Boy

Rachel was a fine filly that I will never forget.

Her owner and trainer were the boobs.

29 Sep 2010 10:10 AM
Nancy

at least they will stop breaking her heart.

they rushed her in 2010 but really, they rushed her from the start.  they asked her for her life everytime she went out.  they won the battles in 2009 but lost the war.  their vanity took her dignity.

I don't know S.A., never been in his shedrow but he wins a ton of races and he keeps horses around.  I think J.J. trained Rachel - picked her spots and ran the PR.  sure Steve got to "handle" her but I think he was a puppet and selling out, paid the price for the "pleasure of her company".

29 Sep 2010 10:12 AM
RickS

sidekickflats... Linda Rice did not train Curlin, he was trained by Helen Pitts Blasi.

29 Sep 2010 10:14 AM
Breezin'

Well said by many of you.  To sum it up, we'll all miss Rachel, but we won't miss the mess her 2010 season turned into.  Nobody likes a micro-manager.  Maybe this is why I've liked Zenyatta more.  Even if they stayed in CA most of the time, these folks are ENJOYING their horse, and that's what matters.  Pics of Zen drinking beer and eating cake, owners and trainers and stable help with genuine, relaxed smiles on their faces?  Quite a contrast to the stiff, forced, appearance of the RA clan.  I hope Rachel enjoys her new life, gets to be herself running in the fields, and has healthy, properly managed foals.

29 Sep 2010 10:15 AM
Green Monkey

Hey Fuzzy Corgi,

Your just another eastcoast hater...wake up ZENYATTA is the best of this era so go ahead and bet against her and raise her odds so I win it all!!!!

29 Sep 2010 10:15 AM
Lauracrown

I will forever be a Rachel Alexandra fan. What a beautiful, special, outstanding filly! All of her victories last year thrilled me and proved her to be one of the best fillies to come along in quite some time. I will be praying she has a happy retirement and safe life as a broodmare.

I remember that back when Mr. Jackson bought Rachel, he had it always in mind to breed her to Curlin. It has always stuck in my mind that his primary reason for putting her through such an ambitious campaign last year was to make her as memorable a mate for Curlin as he could. For me, this year showed me that Rachel was not as happy racing competitively as she was last year. I believe she has been retired at this time while she can still impart to her offspring her own joy in running and enough of her eagerness to win to be a good broodmare. I never owned race horses, but I had a mare who had foals. Mares need more than just physical health to produce a foal with the right attitude to excel.

In Mr. Jackson's most recent press releases, his bottom line still seems to be about Rachel's future with Curlin. I will be watching her retirement as best I can from my computer sites. I pray for healthy foals and long lives for Curlin and Rachel Alexandra. May they always be cherished!

29 Sep 2010 10:16 AM
cigarsmom

Here are just a few of my thoughts.

As to RA's 2009 campaign, while winning the Preakness, Haskell, and Woodward, she still had the benefit of the foundation that Hal Wiggins had given her. Even though everyone is proclaiming those 3 races as making her the "best", when you look at her competition, she actually skipped the tougher races. The travers against Quality Road was the tougher spot. Look back at who she beat, and consider the competition. Summer Bird was up against it on that speed favoring Monmouth track (to which RA ran a huge figure again on it this year..only a few lengths slower) Bullsbay? macho Again? Mine that Bird? I haven't looked, but did any of them ever win another race?

When given a break and Asmussen started from scratch..well, we saw the results. Given her being a few lengths slower this year, and finally taking on a few decent older mares (she did not face older mares last year) she was beaten.

They thought they could chose easier spots again this year and get away with it. We saw how it turned out.

Yes, RA was a very nice filly. But when you look at her career in determining her place among the best, competition does count. I've been watching racing for over 35 years and yes, I saw Ruffian. I don't think RA even belong in the top 10 of the best fillies and mares I've seen.

I do feel bad for those who followed her career though. It's like a kick in the gut when your favorite retires, regardless of the reasons why.

29 Sep 2010 10:19 AM
carla

I was fortunate enough to get to see Rachel race a few times and to see her in the paddock was a plus. She was breath-taking in every way and then some. After reading your article I can now at least in my mind answer maybe why she never came back to her form from last year. I believe the lay off may have been too long now too that seems to make sense. And for her first race I believe maybe her connections had the racing world at heart in the race of Zenyatta vs Rachel, but I agree maybe that hinder her prep for races to come so she never really got fined tuned in the way she was last year. She raced had a goal worked towards it and there was no weather hard past year it was just a breeze in the right path for her. This year she didn't fare so well. I agree it was shock to see her workout on Monday a bullet and retired the following day. I will all miss her greatly and think no one should think less of her due just because she her 2010 season was not as exciting as her 2009. We should remember what she did do for racing in 2009 and hope that her offspring can bring us the same thrills down the road.

29 Sep 2010 10:23 AM
anniedixie65

To be honest I knew it was coming, especially when nothing further of her next start was mentioned and after she lost the Personal Ensign. But, then again we all begin to expect when things don't go Jess Jackson's way he caves in. Rachel could of had a good year of racing, obviously not as good as last year, but still a productive year. Well, now Rachel can go make money for the Jackson's in some other way, since she wasn't doing it as consistently in the races as they would have liked. But that all comes down to the training. I would say learn from your mistakes, but they failed to do that at the begining of the year.

29 Sep 2010 10:24 AM
RachelLover

Jason, would you be able to tell me if Stonestreet Stables allows visits/tours?  I understand this is where Rachel will be retired.  I'm desperate for information; I am devastated by this news this morning as my husband and I have been planning a trip to this years Breeder's Cup since last fall when JJ said he would point Rachel there.  We have scrimped and saved money, bought our (expensive) tickets and reserved a hotel room.  We've been on pins and needles for six months waiting for November to come - just so we could see Rachel.  Now we're sitting on a trip to Louisville with no Rachel.  We will go anyway and enjoy seeing all of the other great horses we keep up with but it just won't be the same.  We were planning to visit Lexington anyway to take a tour of Old Friends - I understand JJ's Stonestreet is in Lexington.  We would love to visit her while there if we could find out whether they will allow this sort of thing.  Jason, I would appreciate it so much if you could provide some insight on this for me. I really want to see Rachel in person.  Thanks for the memories, Rachel; we love you!

29 Sep 2010 10:26 AM
Jimmy

Give it a rest Mike. This blog is not about starting another one of those pointless debates. I was simply pointing out that calling Rachel Alexandra a miler is a joke, and anyone who knows anything about horse racing would agree with that.

29 Sep 2010 10:31 AM
Fanofthegreatones

Really...?  Come on JJ, stop taking your toys out of the sandbox because you can't write all the rules and always get your own way.

RA is without a doubt one of the best fillies and racehorses I'll see in my lifetime.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda... I think it's ridiculous to say that 8 races over 12 months qualifies as a brutal campaign.  Perhaps that is what is wrong with our industry, horses are bred and campaigned these days to burn bright and fast.  I am so tired of these one year glory horses.  Do I personally think RA was better than Z?  NO, not in a fair fight of a full field and anything over a mile.  Do I think Z has been managed any better than RA. NO, again.  Z's connections have denied her many fans the opportunity to see her race at different tracks.  Where is a Cigar campaign when you need one!?  I am still besotted with Z and will cheer like mad for her every time she runs.  Do I think the racing industry should have awarded HOY to RA when her connections blatantly refused to run in the BC.  NO!  Maybe Z had an "easier" campaign but she showed up for the title match and did what no filly has ever done and got denied HOY. You want to be a champion? Run in the championship race and prove it.  Do you get to be a national champ if you don't play in the title game?  No, why should racing be any different.  If RA is sound, shame on you JJ for taking your toy and running.  If she isn't, stop lying.  And shame on her previous connections for taking the money and running and leaving her to her fate.  No one forced them to sell.  History has been written and won't be changed.  But the future... is wide open!  Come on Z!  

29 Sep 2010 10:32 AM
Bailey

Rachel,

We will always remember you and respect you, it was not your fault that you had a bad 2010 campain, your trainers were missorganized, we love you rachel and hope you have a wonder baby with curlin, racing will never forget you.

29 Sep 2010 10:33 AM
Big Lou

I see all this comments good and bad but not anybody but the owners have put on the line the millions of dollars that a fillie like Rachel cost.I just think that talk is cheap

29 Sep 2010 10:37 AM
Lisa

Jason great blog. I agree with most of your "I thinks". I am a Zen fan to the core, BUT I have never failed to see the greatness of the filly. No matter which horse you pull for you would be blind and stupid if you could not see that RA was an awesome racehorse. As a 3 yr. old filly she did do things like no other. I to will miss seeing her run, but I do hope that her life from here on out will make up for the travesty of this years campaign. It never fails to amaze me what people do to animals to achieve championships and titles, and I know it is a business, but you still need to think about them first.

29 Sep 2010 10:41 AM
DH

Rachel's 2010 season is prime evidence why the trainer, not the owner, should call the shots. As for Hal Wiggins I get somewhat frustrated reading that a good horse has been taken from a good, but not famous, trainer and given to one of the "name" trainers who already has a barn full of good horses. How many more do Asmussen and Pletcher need?

29 Sep 2010 10:44 AM
Smoking Baby

 I must admit I'm glad I won't have to listen to Jess Jackson drone on at another Eclipse Award dinner come February.  I do think Rachel Alexandra is an awesome filly and don't think if she was owned by anyone else she'd be bred to Curlin.  What a waste...I can think of several proven sires who are more deserving of a mare of this stature in their book.  One last point and I'm sorry if many disagree.  I believe Rachel Alexandra is definitely a Hall Of Famer but her success at three was partially the result of her coming along in a VERY sub-par season for three year olds (older horses too for that matter).  Summer Bird didn't get good until late summer.  Papa Clem?  Mine That Bird?  Pioneer Of The Nile?  Stone Legacy? Macho Again? Please.  Give her her due but not more than her due.  I can't see her having the same success against say Silver Charm, Free House or Barbaro, Bernardini, Invasor.  

29 Sep 2010 10:54 AM
bill marshall

I read the early comments and scanned the later ones, but don't see where anyone has focused on perhaps the most significant reason that Rachel and Zenyatta did not meet on the race track.  Had the powers that be not taken the unprecedented step of scheduling two consecutive Breeders' Cups on the synthetic track at Santa Anita, it is highly likely that these two would have hooked up in last year's Classic.  Whether Rachel's race in the Woodward indicated that she was "over the top" or close to it is anybody's guess.  But the match-up would have likely taken place.  I know Churchill Downs has some complicity in this because of the wrestling match over BC profits, but, if that has been resolved for this year, it could have been resolved for last.  And remember, it's not just the Rachel camp that was not fond of synthetics.  Despite Zen's appreciation of synthetic surfaces, John Shirreffs is an outspoken opponent of them.  

29 Sep 2010 10:56 AM
Tschuli Sun

I could not agree more with you!

It's sad to see how a wonderful filly got mismanaged by Mr. Jackson.

Wish we would have more people like Jerry and Ann Moss who know what they are doing.

Sorry Rachel you deserved better.

29 Sep 2010 10:58 AM
Kjirsten

"I think Wiggins deserves more credit for Rachel's success than he has gotten."

Yes, exactly!  It's always 'Oh, Jackson has done such a wonderful job with Rachel'  He bought her while she was hot.  It's not like she was a yearling he picked up at the Keenland sales, and he built her from the ground up.  She came to him a fabulous filly.  She ended her career with an awful year, thanks to Jackson.

I still think it's such a shame that her original owner/breeder sold her.  I think that man would have done her better, than Jackson who ran her into the ground last year all for the sake of another HOY award.  Then, as you already mentioned, everything he did with her this year.  She should had a great year.

29 Sep 2010 11:02 AM
Saddle57

Being a baby factory could be more taxing on her than racing. I wish her all the best. She is an amazing horse.

29 Sep 2010 11:05 AM
Pam S.

Gary at Rough Creek,

Of all the comments I have read so far, yours at 12:57 a.m. today are my absolute favorites.  I know many Rachel fans already supported Zenyatta, but if there are any "holdouts," why not get behind the great mare as she chases history, and why not give her connections some credit for keeping her so happy.  You have just seen an example of how hard it really is.

29 Sep 2010 11:08 AM
Fireflies

Well said. I agree with everything, except I don't know that I could say any one race was her best. I think it was a combination of the Oaks, the Preakness, the Haskell, and despite the criticism of her Woodward performance I don't think I've ever seen anything quite so extraordinary as her effort there.

I will miss watching this mare race. Never has another horse rammed my heart into my throat and made me cheer out loud quite as passionately as Rachel Alexandra. I will never forget her.

29 Sep 2010 11:08 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

mr. pibb,

I'm only tree [sic] and a half years old.  And glory me...you mean Daffy's not really dead!!!???  I thought that moving picture show was from a news reel.  I'm so relieved.  Thanks.

29 Sep 2010 11:12 AM
Ragsy

Jason

I agree with everything you stated.  The Apple Blossom was good with Zenyatta but my heart was broken with Rachel's absence, now, disappointed with her retirement and I will cancel my Breeders Cup plans because I wanted to see Rachel in person. I love Rachel.

29 Sep 2010 11:18 AM
Fuzzy Corgi

Slew, I hate to tell you but mares are pregnant for 11 months, not 9 1/2. A week after foaling mares get to be rebred for the next years offspring.

29 Sep 2010 11:21 AM
Debra

I would of never taken her away from her previous trainer. If it's not broke, don't fix it. A 6 month lay-off is way to long for a horse of her caliber. If she can win at a 1 and 1/8 a good trainer can get her to go 1 1/4. After the grueling campaign she had last year it is a miracle in itself that she ran at all this year. No one knows who was calling all the shots with Rachel, but my bet was the owner had alot to do with it. I worked for an old school trainer who told his owners, 'It's my way or find somebody else to train your horses.' Nobody does that anymore for fear of losing horses. Trainers have changed. It has been pure joy watching Rachel run and I will miss her terribly.

29 Sep 2010 11:22 AM
Fuzzy Corgi

Hey Green Monkey, guess what I'm born and bred So Cal and I know that Zenyatta would have beat Rachel if they had ever met. Even last year when Rachel was on the top of her game, Zenyatta would have made JJ stomp his feet and blame something other than Zenyatta for the loss.

29 Sep 2010 11:24 AM
slee

Ah Rachel.

I heard this announcement last night from the guys on ESPN SportsCenter (does anybody there know anything about horses?).

I'm not surprised either.  Rachel still likes to run, but she's not fond of racing.  Could be a 1,000 things.  Maybe she cooled out funny.  Maybe she's getting grumpy.  If she's not 100% she shouldn't be pointed to the Breeder's Cup.  What would be worse than watching her finish up the track in the Distaff, telegraphing the world that this isn't for her anymore?

And what does she "owe" us?  Nothing.  I pulled up her Mother Goose, her Oaks and her Preakness to watch for the umpteenth time and thrilled all over again to watching her fly.  Not run (like she did this year), but fly.

Have a good life, Rachel.  And watch out for that big redhead with a white blaze - he's only got one thing on his mind!  ;-)

Thanks Rachel.  Thanks for the memories.

29 Sep 2010 11:27 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

Jason, thank you for making your points about Rachel Alexandra.  Well said.

Soltero, I totally agree with you on Rachel's Woodward.  It hurt to watch how many times she was whipped before the finish line.  Painful to watch.

29 Sep 2010 11:31 AM
Joey

..."phenomenal"..."spectacular"..."accomplishment more...ever"..."one of the best of any modern day racehorse".

Hyperbole aside, couldn't we just enjoy Rachel Alexandra for the horse she was and not over-hype her mercilessly and then expected her to deliver on every occasion the elevated results we demanded?

Rachel Alexandra was a great horse. But she was also a horse that should have enjoyed herself and her fans alike, and not a machine that was programed to give us what we need or saw or perceived what she should do at every opportunity.  

Perhaps Mr. Jackson is correct when he said that now Rachel Alexandra can now enjoy a stress free life.

29 Sep 2010 11:32 AM
Nancy

Jason, The word disappointing does not even begin to express my feelings about Rachel Alexandra's announced retirement.  I was shocked when I saw today's B-H headline.  I think your right about her campaign this year being bizarre, but what else could we expect from Jess Jackson and her other connections.  Her 2009 campaign will stand the test of time and she certainly belongs among the greats.  I think they wore her out in 2009 for their own personal agendas and egos and soured her.  I don't think they ever listened to Rachel last year or this year!  I saw her at Belmont and I have watched footage of her races under the JJ regime and she did not look happy ever.  I have always felt she belonged to Wiggins.  Her original owners did her a disservice based on their own greed for the JJ dollars!  Why they gave her such a long layoff is a mystery we will only get an answer to when JJ dies and someone in that camp finally opens up. Everyone, but Rachel, is to blame for her performance this year.

She ran her heart out for us last year and that is a testament to her extraordinary talent.  Please, those of you who trash her - show some respect and thank your lucky stars that you had the privilege to see  Greatness!

29 Sep 2010 11:37 AM
Marshall

Did someone actually suggest earlier in this thread that Rachel's losses this year cast a seed of doubt on her last years campaign?  What does that even mean?  Last year was last year and it was a brilliant campaign by ANY reasonable measure.  Even this years campaign, losses be damned, would have been considered quite successful for most any other horse NOT named Rachel Alexandra.  She won every race last year and finished no worse than 2nd in any race this year.  In fact, the only time she didn't finish 1st or 2nd was her very first race.  Not many horses can say that... even the great Secretariat lost 5 of his 21 races, including one third place finish and another out of the money!

29 Sep 2010 11:38 AM
Pam S.

I have finally read all the comments and I want to tell Soltero and Bobhutt that I'm on their wavelength too.  

Rachel (the poster, not the horse), you think Jackson's worst decision was to rush to get RA ready for the Apple Blossom?  Don't you think you're missing the point?  Had Jackson not gutted his filly in the Woodward six months earlier, the Apple Blossom timing likely would not have been so problematical.  He won HOY, though, gotta give him that.

29 Sep 2010 11:39 AM
Regina

I disagree that she was "fine." She got hurt last year in the Woodward, running that hard to win by so little did something to her. Horses that get hurt while racing don't forget. This whole year she's run like she was uncomfortable, she didn't switch leads easily if at all, and the only reason she ran as well as she did is the fact that she is just so much more talented than her competition. Of course her connections wouldn't admit she was hurting, that would mean admitting they made a mistake by running her so hard last year.

It's truly a shame really. Such a nice horse. If they had just left her with her previous team, who knows what she could have done. Running her only against 3 year olds last year would have saved her for a stellar 4 year old campaign, one where she probably would have faced Zenyatta, maybe even a few times.

But alas, it wasn't to be. Happy motherhood RA, you deserve it.

29 Sep 2010 11:41 AM
shuvee

Rachel's 3-year-old campaign is the most ambitious for a filly in a long time. Although Genuine Risk did take on colts in all three legs of the Triple Crown so that is right up there.

However to call it the most ambitious of all time, that I would hesitate to do. Twilight Tear and Busher had spectacular 3-year-old campaigns in the 1940s that involved beating colts repeatedly and although there was no official HOY voting then, they were both considered the best horses of in training at the time, by wide margins.

Also to go back even further look at the championship campaign of Beldame in 1904. You may be quite surprised.

All that being said I am a huge fan of Rachel and was lucky enough to see her run twice. Her Haskell which I witnessed live, was an absolutely spectacular race.

However, I believe after the Woodward, which totally gutted her, she never quite regained her form. She was off a long time and frankly should not have raced again until late June or July this year, after Asmussen was able to get a good bottom into her.

It is possible she had some nagging injuries but I always thought they were behind with her this year, and she was never really in the best of shape. Actually I think if she is physically fit the Personal Ensign would have finally gotten her into great shape and she would have been sitting on a huge race in the Beldame. Guess we'll never know now.

By the way, I don't think there is any way she wins the Stephen Foster over Blame. She wasn't in any kind of shape at that point to compete against top colts.

29 Sep 2010 11:42 AM
Jason Shandler

Shuvee: She ran faster than Blame two races earlier on Foster day.

29 Sep 2010 11:46 AM
noplayingfavorites

Rachael had nothing to prove this year, she proved what she was made of in her '09 campaign ... and that was some stuff. Wish they'd retired Rachel sooner.  (And for all you critics of her owner and trainer, many of you were all over them last year for the aggressive run with the HOTY goal!)

Zenyatta has nothing to prove, either ... she's already earned her place at the top.  Wishing her Godspeed in her race this weekend and the BC if she runs ... and then hopefully she'll retire safe, too ... and then I can exhale.  For all of them, would rather see them retire with a "what might have been" question than to see them visibly lose steam with each successive race ... or worse, break down on the track. Hopefully we will see just how magnificent both Rachael and Zen are as we follow their second careers as super moms!

29 Sep 2010 11:46 AM
Horse Owner

Actually Debra, it doesn't matter who the trainer is, not every horse can go every distance, no matter how good they are. There are very few Secretariats. I've had horses who can run 1- 1/16 miles like a tornado, but add on even just one more 1/16, and they choke, fade to 3rd or 4th. An extra furlong can truly be a horse's undoing, especially when they're ridden the way RA was in that last race. You'd think that Borel had never ridden a horse before.

29 Sep 2010 11:46 AM
Barthart

WOW--KIBBLE--I could not agree more with anyone!! You said everything I've been feeling for such a long time, especially your comments that a race between these two incredible mares could never be on an even playing field. Absolutely correct ---and I would have hated to see either one of them lose. As for the Rachel bashers, they apparently just need to have someone to put down. She was brilliant and wonderful. I think we were so incredibly fortunate to be able to watch these two horses in all their glory. What a ride it's been. And good luck to Zenyatta---may her flag continue to wave high!!!!

29 Sep 2010 11:51 AM
memyselfandi

Never have been a fan of Steve or Jess. Not defending them here but for people to say they were scared or ducking is words coming from your own mouth. True they did play up with the media which most people do just to get fame. I still like Rachel even after her 010 campaigh(she still was consistent), but I agree that is was mismanaged.

29 Sep 2010 11:52 AM
sidekickflats

Jimmy,

PLease explain to me why calling Rachel a miler is a loser comment?  The Met Mile is a very prestgious race and it supposed to be a "stallion" race vs longer races.  What would it be different for a broodmare???  SHould I have called her a mile and and eighther???

And I hate to tell you that I have been in the industry for over 20 years so yes I do know a bit about horse racing.  

29 Sep 2010 11:54 AM
Michael

I honestly just wish people would stop mentioning Rachel Alexandra in the same breath as Zenyatta. RA had a hall of fame 3 year old campaign...nothing more. Zen has had a hall of fame career. Let RA head to the breeding shed with Curlin where she belongs. Any mention of her in this year's Classic was wishful thinking at best. I dont even think she was a lock in the Lady's Classic. One thing about this article made me scratch my head in amazement. RA could win at 1-1/4miles??? Really? Against what? Mixed breeds from the Fairplex?

29 Sep 2010 11:57 AM
Tricia Smarty

Have mixed feelings about JJ when all is said and done.  I thoroughly believe he's not a good sport.  While I loved that they brought back Curlin and RA for another year it seems that as soon as the horse has a minor hiccup, they're gone.  Actually, I'm surpirsed they hadn't retired RA before this as she didn't win every race this year.  I really wanted Curlin to run in the Clark after the BC but that never happened.  He deserved to go out a winner just like RA deserved the same.  And I'm also not a firm believer in workouts overall, as so many times horses have the best workouts on a certain surface and then don't run up to the workouts.  I also think they should have left the horse with Hal who knew her so well.  I just hate when those things happen.  Curlin also should have remained with Helen Pitts.  It's just the right thing to do unless the trainer is just a total schmuck.  While I was not a big fan of RA, I believe she did alot for the sport which so desperately needs new fans.

29 Sep 2010 12:01 PM
sidekickflatts

Rick S.,

Thanks for the correction.  Helen Pitts evidently did a great job with Curlin getting to the races and getting over some shin issues.  It would have been nice to see her and her stable continue with him.

29 Sep 2010 12:02 PM
CV

"The most baffling thing of all, to me?  A bullet work, fastest of 63 I think, and retired the next day.  There is more to the story, I wonder if we'll ever know."

Runfast159 28 Sep 2010 11:05 PM

Runfast asked the question on my mind, too. I was shocked when I read about Rachel's retirement because she was looking great and had been posting bullet works in the mornings, evidence that she had recovered from her effort in the Personal Ensign.

I thought they might pass on the Beldame and train her up to the Breeders Cup, and I hoped she'd go in the Classic so we could finally see the RA-Z race everyone has wanted since last year. Churchill is Rachel's favorite track and Calvin is a legend there, so I figured she had a good shot.

Then came the retirement press release. It makes one wonder if she developed a physical issue after the recent bullet work that might have impacted her ability to make the Breeders Cup. Otherwise, I don't understand why they pulled the plug now.

I really hope Rachel's connections arrange an appearance by her at some point during the Breeders Cup so her fans get to see her one last time before she goes off to the farm forever.

29 Sep 2010 12:03 PM
needler in Virginia

gammyp6, you're probably right.....we DO agree more than not. My disagreement with what you said was about Curlin and his campaign, and since this is a Rachel blog, I didn't go there. SO my apologies, my friend.

Everyone is REALLY upset.......no. Everyone is REALLY pissed off at Jackson, and with good reason. He's contradicted his trainer publicly, OFTEN, and steered a lousy campaign for a great horse and this is what we have left.

My very cynical understanding of how things SHOULD work is this:

1) people who know nothing about horses SHOULD rely on trainers for advice about their horses,

2) horses are NOT wine or tech stocks,

3) owners should go out and find a trainer whose FIRST job is to keep the horse sound and racing as long as possible, NOT to agree with owners,

4) owners who know nothing about horses should arrive at the barn, feed mints, pat noses, have photo ops, then go back to their owners' boxes, watch the race and then get their picture taken in the winner's circle.

5) while owners own, and pay the bills, they are paying very good money for the best advice they can get about their horses. What sort of jackass  pays for good advice and then ignores it completely? What sort of trainer gives BAD advice to an owner, and expects to be in business very long?

6) which individual in this triangle pays the ultimate price? (HINT: owner? trainer? horse?)

Assuming this premise is sound, or EVEN PARTIALLY SO, can anyone answer the questions in premise 5 for me? I must admit I'm completely in the dark about it, as we've seen a brilliant filly deteriorate (except for the bullet work, which REALLY puzzles me) over the time she has been controlled by these particular connections. She was tough enough and strong enough last year to survive it and come out the other side, and now we're seeing the result. I'd bet not one of you could tell that I'm REALLY angry about his one, could you?

OK, enough.....we will miss Rachel; her presence brought fans and bettors in droves. Her charisma was amazing, her talent undeniable and she will be missed. It's just the WAY she left the building that really sucks!

Cheers and safe trips.

29 Sep 2010 12:03 PM
maryglynn

I am like others mystified at a great bullet work and then retirement the next day? I agree with many of yall that Rachel should have been left in Hal wiggins hands. I hope she is able to enjoy retirement as a broodmare and while i don't know anything about who is the foaling man at stonestreet I am sure she will get the best care. God bless her may she be happy. I will miss cheering you on!  ( Glad you are getting out in one piece darlin gal)  

29 Sep 2010 12:04 PM
John

Yes, Rachel Alexandra had an ambitious three year old filly campaign. But I believe that Winning Colors in 1988 had the campaign by a three old filly that stands out the most.

Consider that Winning Colors ran in 8 Grade 1 races and one Grade 2 race. Winning Colors won three Grade 1 races, placed second three times and a third. She also won the Grade 2 race.

Her races include the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Maskette, and the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Winning Colors finished third in the Preakness by a length and a half a might have won the race if not driven out of the race by Forty Niner.

The horses Winning Colors beat in 1988 include the Eclipse Award two year old Champion of 1987, Forty Niner (twice), the Eclipse Award three year old Champion of 1988, Risen Star, Seeking The Gold, Canada's two year old Champion of 1987, Regal Classic, multiple Grade 1 winning racehorse Private Terms, five time Grade 1 winning racehorse Goodbye Halo, and lost twice to Personal Ensign, once by a nose.

I don't think anyone beats that record.

29 Sep 2010 12:12 PM
Deb

I think Rachel has been looking for a new job for a long time.  She never looked happy. She is a beautiful horse and a great racer but I think she lost the mood to be in the game.  I hope she gets the chance to try different things as a thoroughbred.

29 Sep 2010 12:12 PM
Pat

Selfish Jackson again.  The attitude of "if I can't be spectacular, let's quit" is getting old.  A good 3YO campaign that ended with Rachel getting the desire whipped out of her.  She couldn't beat anybody this year and beat average horses last year.  Seriously, has any horse she beat last year won another race?

29 Sep 2010 12:15 PM
katethegreat

She needs to be "let down" before the breeding shed.  Timing is right, give her a few months to relax and prepare for nature to takes it's course.  She's the best filly I've ever seen, hope she passes on her superb athleticism.

29 Sep 2010 12:24 PM
BigD

Rachel is a great filly, not much more. Her team, and maybe even her, have cowered from Zenyatta for about a year now. No surprise she is taken out of training last year and thereby avoids a possible meeting with Zenyatta. She did win the Preakness and Haskell and Woodward, but let's not forget that Mine That Bird was very close at the end of the Preakness. And, last year's three-year-old colts were a very weak group. Zenyatta won everything! She won against all ages, male and female, and against international competition in the Classic. No horse has EVER beaten her; she needs no excuses like all of those above for Rachel. Rachel's team does seem to be a lot better in public relations and marketing.

29 Sep 2010 12:30 PM
Ghostzapper

One good thing is we don't have to hear Zenyatta fans bash her over and over anymore. Hallelujah!  

29 Sep 2010 12:42 PM
Skipaway

It is not surprising they decided to retire RA, she is a nice horse but certainly not the "great" race horse everyone made her out to be last year.  The east coast writers and voters fell hook,line and sinker to her connection's dictating what they wanted them to do/write.  A reminder, look at the horses RA beat last year and you will have your answer. Consider the following:

1. Her "greatest" win was in the Preakness beating MTB by a half length after he had a horrible trip (now everyone is saying he is just a nice horse)and if they had run another 1/8th he would have won.

2. Her connections were masterful at avoiding the top class races last year, i.e. Travers Stakes. Summer Bird and Quality Road looked very good leading up to that race so her connections decided to run in the Woodward against mid-level older horses at best.  RA was training very well and if they thought they could have won they would have certainly entered.

3. Her connections knew RA had reached her limit after the Woodward and avoided the classics, especially the BC. They kept the writers and voters in their camp throughout the Fall to insure they would vote her HOY.  Does the name Favorite Trick mean anything?

3. RA clearly cannot win at the classic distance of 1 1/4, her connections knew that and placed her accordingly (which they should have done).

This is not meant to bash RA in anyway, just put some perspective on her 2009 year. Also, before we start putting the "great" label on the next horse lets let them win a few against Grade 1.

I wish RA a long restful retirement and broodmare career.

29 Sep 2010 12:45 PM
easygoer

I have to echo the comments of all those who talked about Rachel's new life in "retirement." I am tired of people talking with delight about how much she is going to like Curlin. She is going to be twitched, hobbled, and bred. Then, she is going to have foal after foal until her body says "enough" or she dies of foaling complications.

If not for all this, I would be happy for her retirement; instead, I am filled with a sense of dread because of the difficult journey that awaits her.

She brought me so much joy on the track, and I appreciate her beauty and courage. And as much as her campaign has been boggled this year, I do appreciate that JJ brought her back for a 4 year old campaign. I just wish this campaign had been managed in an effective way.  

29 Sep 2010 12:47 PM
Pedigree Ann

Jimmy, please don't say 'all time' when you really mean 'in your personal memory'. When talking about ambitious campaigns for 3yo fillies, you have to mention Twilight Tear, who was also voted Horse of the Year. She bested fillies in the Acorn and CCA Oaks (Ky Oaks was a minor contest in those days). She bested 3yo colts in the Arlington Classic, a G1-type race at 10f at the time. Then she beat Hall-of-Famer and handicap champion Devil Diver in the Pimlico Special, the closest thing to today's BC Classic available (Woodward not around till the 1950s). Overall, she won 14 of 17 races at 3, but had to be retired when she started bleeding at 4 (no Lasix then).

And how about Busher? She beat 3yo fillies in the Santa Susana and Cleopatra (a big race in Chicago), 3yo colts in San Vicente and Hollywood Derby (10f dirt), older mares in the Santa Margarita and Vanity Hcps, and older males in the Arlington and Washington Hcps (in the latter of which she gave 4 lbs to Hall-of-Famer Armed and set a track record for 10f).

Those, of course, were the days when horses raced instead of 'working' and trainers and owners didn't back down from a challenge for fear of being defeated.

Had Rachel been mine and I thought she was spent after the Woodward, I'd have sent her to the farm for a few months of R&R before putting her back into training. Hand-walking in the stable area is no substitute for being allowed to just be a horse for a while.

29 Sep 2010 12:49 PM
DawnStorm

Ditto to everything you said!  My thoughts exactly since I found out yesterday that my lovely Rachel has been retired.

For the record, Rachel's namesake, my 2008 Subaru Outback, will be racing around the Capitol Beltway and environs for some time to come. ;)

I will always love Rachel the horse, and we fans will always have 2009. Sad that 2010 was a big steaming pile of huh??

29 Sep 2010 12:59 PM
amo5609

Great summary Jason.  I couldn't agree with you more.  Rachel's new connections continually scraped away the foundation that Hal Wiggins created, and didn't do anything to replenish it.  Given her works over the last month, I have a feeling that the "reason" for her 5 month layoff resurfaced after her work on Monday, and there is no way they could get her back in time for the Breeder's Cup.  Too bad they can't be up-front and honest about her condition.  If what I suspect is true, then I'm glad that they are doing what is in her best interest.  But, I will definately miss her wonderful performances on the track. She and Zenyatta both rekindled my love for the sport in the last year.  You'll be missed, Rachel!

29 Sep 2010 1:02 PM
RachelLover

Ghostzapper, I couldn't agree more!  

29 Sep 2010 1:08 PM
FloridaFan

This stinks...and frankly, I am shocked.  I read about her bullet work yesterday, and now she's being retired!  What gives?  While I also commend Mr. Jackson on what he did with her last year, I am deeply disappointed in this decision.  She's not hurt (thankfully), she seems to be in great form, why not finish out the year in style?  Very sad and disappointed fan right now...

29 Sep 2010 1:12 PM
The Rock

Skipaway,

I can see you're still bitter about the HOY voting of 97'. lol. I think Favorite Trick was definitley deserving of the HOY award that year. No other juvenile had dominated their generation as he did since Secretariat...maybe even Native Dancer. Pefect season, winning from distances from 4 1/2 to 1 1/16 and setting a record in the BC Juvenile.  

29 Sep 2010 1:16 PM
it ain't easy being as wrong as draynay always is

I agree with the likes of Slyder, Smoking Baby, and most definitely Skipaway. RA had a nice 2009 against nobody of true consequence. 2008 wasn't much and 2010 was a disaster based on overinflated expectations. I think they decided to retire her to keep her tainted star from losing any more luster than it already has this year. She wasn't going to win the Br. Cup Classic or Ladies Classic anyway. More losses would further reduce her worth. Great decision on their part. I made a nice sum of money betting against her this year based on my opinion that last year wasn't as good as people wanted it to appear to be. Anytime you can eliminate a 1/5 favorite out of your pick 3's, 4's and 6's there is money to be made. Thanks JJ and Co. for creating an illusion in 2009 that I cashed in on in 2010. I wish her a good retirement.    

29 Sep 2010 1:17 PM
Carlos in Cali

JJ got what he wanted out of his filly and knew she had no shot of winning another HOY,so he retires her before she loses yet again.This was the sorriest campaign for a reigning HOY I've ever witnessed,by far.Just because she didn't dominate the way she did last year doesn't mean she wasn't the same physically or mentally.She peaked last year and any thoughts of her improving off that form is ridiculous & wishful thinking,she was at the top of her game last year and it showed.

BTW, there's no way she would've won the Foster with that Overbrook horse breathing down her neck-- no freakin way! Her FDL victory was a tad bit faster because she was lone speed vs. outmatched opponents.

29 Sep 2010 1:25 PM
Barry

Mike Relva,

 You are correct. That's all I can say.

29 Sep 2010 1:27 PM
smarie

It has been a sober week for horseracing what with Real Quiet's death and now Rachel Alexandra's retirement. I agree with the poster who wrote that "The Fish" was never truly appreciated for the wonderful racehorse he was. His Belmont loss was a true heartbreaker. Now Rachel is retired. Perhaps, in her case, this is for the best. I don't care for the way JJ and SA have handled her from day one. JJ was very quick to take credit for this wonderful filly, when the credit should have gone to Hal Wiggins. He helped put the fire into RA and then keep it banked properly so that she was a willing runner. 2010 shows just how JJ and SA mismanaged her. She ran, but the spark was gone. I do not believe that she would have won the Stephen Foster, but that is just speculation - we will never know. As far as RA and Zenyatta meeting, that will never happen either. We were very blessed at having these two wonderful horses racing at the same time. Who knows when something like this will happen again? I hope Rachel Alexandra has a wonderful retirement. I hope she isn't endlessly bred, like so many mares are. Give her body and mind a chance to rest and get rid of some of the stress she has endured the past couple of years. Curlin was a great racehorse, but he is an unproven sire. I would hope that her connections would consider a few other stallions for her first mating. I hope that JJ has finally learned not to take a good horse away from the trainer that has done will with him/her. Steve A. is not going to be successful with every horse. Jackson needs to learn to be flexible.

29 Sep 2010 1:35 PM
sidekickflats

John and Pedigree Ann,

Good post regarding Winning Colors.  I think that it is very easy to forget the good ones of the past when we have one on the scene today.  Several months ago, I posted a lengthy compare and contrast about Rachel's 3 year old campaign vs Winning Colors.  It was not meant to put down Rachel in anyway but to remind some people of what Winning Colors acomplished.  Winning Colors also had 2 grade 1 wins against 3 yr old males.  They both had classic wins obv. the Preakness for Rachel and the Derby for WC.  Winning Colors ran in all 3 Triple Crown races and finished 3rd in the Preakness.  Yes Rachel was more consistent but would she have been if she had run in all of the Classics?

Winning Colors couldn't win against older mares in her 3 yr old year but Rachel didn't run against any older mares last year. Obv. running in the 4 and up filly and mare division hasn't been easy on Rachel this year.

Rachel indeed won the Woodward.  But in 1988, the Woodward was run at a mile and a quarter and it was won by Alysheba in less then 2:00 minutes. It was 1 of 3 mile and a quarter races that Alysheba ran in under 2:00 that year. Would Winning Colors have won the Woodward?  No but if Rachel had to face that competition at that distance , I don't think she would have either.

Hopefully, Rachel will have a nice retirement ceremony and we will def. see her in the Hall of Fame but I can't say  she's the best ever.

29 Sep 2010 1:38 PM
KevinL

RA 2009 campaign was awesome, The connections took a horse that was destined to run a conventional campaign that everybody has seen before and turned in a breathtaking tour that got every ounce of ability out of an outstanding Filly. Did she pay the price in 2010? Yes, more than likely she was bottomed out. I have never been disappointed in the decision to sit out the BC last fall, she had done enough for the year and deserved time. As for the six months, probably excessive, but keep in mind that this year's campaign was probably geared towards Churchill in November. Everyone seems to forget that Zenyatta "retired" and there was no reason to bring RA back in the early Spring at a top level until all of us started clamoring for a matchup after Zenyatta unretired that could only occur in Arkansas. She was rushed and mismanaged due at least in part to our demands that she save Horseracing. I am not a Steve Asmussen fan, I think his rep is based on volume, not horsemanship but as far as Mr Jackson goes I believe in the Golden Rule. "He who has the gold makes the rules" When I put down $10M to buy a horse I will run the campaign the way i want, until then I will shake my head at times at the decisions of others but mostly I will just appreciate the athletes that Rachel and Zenyatta are and remember the thrills they gave me.  

29 Sep 2010 1:40 PM
Rose

wow, what a way to end her career, but I guess it is better to end this way than to suffer trauma or death in either a workout or racing.  Talk about abrupt, that is an understatement.

Who knows if she was mishandled this year, I can't tell because I am not the owner or trainer, and I don't have privy to what RA was doing on a daily basis.  That being said, I do know I probably would have chosen a different path to take her down... It is also speculation by people who would sit in judgement of JJ and how he managed RA- coulda, shoulda, woulda, it's so much easier to speculate when you have nothing invested in the outcome, or your sentiment and emotions are in another camp...  All things being said, Rachel did bring a lot of controversy to the table .. good or bad --it did make you stop and think ..

I thought RA was stunning and she brought the phrase "run like a girl" to a new level.

I also think she is one of the best fillies I have seen and I would have loved to have seen her upclose and personal just once.

In my humble opinion we will not see another three year old year like hers for a long long time. Last year was one in a million, and she did the sport proud.  People who discount her three year old year as exaggerated or over hyped are forgetting one thing, she ran and she won, and she did it in either record time or record margins.  I am not here to sway a thought or opinion as to why Zenyatta is better over Rachel or vice versa ..I am here to applaud an amazing athlete ..

29 Sep 2010 1:50 PM
SMTDL

I agree with the poor management of Rachel's 4 yo campaign.She never should have been rushed to make the Apple Blossom after such a long layoff.After that she may have been overtrained and didn't have as much in her races.In any event she is a great filly and will always be remembered for her unprecedented accomplishments in 2009 which will not be duplictaed anytime soon.

Another decision that I think affected the legacy of both Rachel and Zenyatta was the decision to have the Breeder's Cup in consecutive years on a synthetic track.If it had been on dirt last year,Jess Jackson would probably have campaigned Rachel differently and planned from the beginning to send her to one of the BC races.Also,if Zenyatta had won the classic last year by beating males on dirt,her legacy would be a bit different as well.If she does that this year,it may very well make up for last year.If she doesn't, then the synthetics issue will always follow her legacy.

29 Sep 2010 2:04 PM
Householder

How appropriate to bring Winning Colors into the mix as history was not so kind to the Kentucky Derby winner.  She's no where to be found on the top 100 horses of all time.  My point...history will not be so kind to this particular Preakness winner either.  She will instead be remembered for a horse that had many races written for her, won HOY by skipping the Breeder's Cup, and a horse that failed to take on the best filly/mare or males of the day.  This is unfortunate as I think she was VERY talented and by all means completed misguided. I think RA more than anyone certainly deserved better.  One moment sticks out in my mind.  A reporter asked Holledorfer if he was going to take Blind Luck to the Preakness after her Kentucky Oaks score.  With no hesitation he said "No, it's too soon."  Now there's the difference between a campain and a fleeting moment.  A man who knows a horse.  

The candle that burns the brightest burns half a long.

Good luck RA we will miss you at the track.

29 Sep 2010 2:06 PM
The Bid

Jason, I agree 99% of your blog, I am a fan of RA and Zenatta, but let's get real, last year RA had a spectacular year, but the competition made her look even better.  Can anyone name me the fillies she beat by 19 and 20 lengths? They were all pigs and she beat them like they were pigs, the 3 yr old colts were not any better and she barely beat them, and don't forget the great older horses she beat in The Woodward. She ran in the Woodward only beacuse  the Travers would have been the tougher race, She had a great year and really ran the same this year,except the competition just got better, and exposed her superiority over last years pigs. But I really did enjoy watching her race and can't wait for Zenatta to win the BC Classic and retire undefeated with a 20/20 record. Now that's a real Champion

29 Sep 2010 2:09 PM
RachelFan

well said Jason, they were basically saying that she would race another year they way they laid out her campaign, had she not been rushed into it she wouldve had a spectacular campaign, the reason for her loss las tout was exactly that, a horrid ride, I was expecting them to take Calvin off not retire her, I was shocked when I pulled up the internet and the headlinews were that she had been retired, Calvin has not been riding to par on any of his top horses, taken off MTB, and I expect he'll be taken off SS, and all year Ive been expecting him to be taken off Rachel-the  losses arent the horses fault, they are the jocky/trainer/owner's fault

29 Sep 2010 2:22 PM
quarterhossgal

A filly has the best work of 49 and then is retired the next day!!

Even for JJ this is off the wall.  I suspect she did not come back sound.  RA was a thrill to watch and she doesn't owe anyone including racing fans anything.  I hope and pray she has a great life as a broodmare, many of the great ones do not.  Look at Genuine Risk

she had a difficult time getting in foal and even harder time foaling.  It might be time for the thoroughbred industry to catch up with science and start  using AI and embryo transfers so some of the great bloodlines can be saved.

29 Sep 2010 2:29 PM
Slew

Fuzzy Corgi: my mistake, but it remains a lengthy period with little compensation...11 months gestation is even tougher than 9 1/2.  

29 Sep 2010 2:29 PM
catts

I'm a lifelong horsewoman of another breed but have always loved thoroughbred racing.  I showed Ra's Woodward to a trainer friendof mine and told her"RA is cooked.  I'll be surprised if she ever wins another race."  Her connections got to the bottom of her that day. She should have been retired after the Woodward with her legacy intact.  Terrible handling of a very nice filly.  Also, stop the Mine That Bird bashing.  First, second and third in triple crown races after being bounced across the nation in a Turnbor trailer is a notable accomplishment.  I hope he ends up atthe Horse Park.  I wonder if some of the people who voted for horse of the year are re-thinking their votes.  Zenyatta took on the world, males, older horses, Ky Derby and Belmont winners and beat them all. Had RA shown up Z would have beaten her too.  Also, while RA was a wonderful race horse, she is NOT gorgeous.  Very unattractive ears and head and eye and an upside down neck.  But I suppose my showhorse background is coming thru.  All hail Queen Zee who is still at the top of her game due to careful handling.  All horses should be treated with such consideration and respect

29 Sep 2010 2:31 PM
Householder

Time marches on...I guess we should ask the trainers of Blind Luck, Lookin at Lucky (Both last year's BC favorites in their divisions), Quality Road (this guy has had his share of mis-haps and toe issues), and Zenyatta (BC Lady's Classic and BC Classic) what the secret to longevity is.

I will say that as January rolled around and horses like Winning Colors, Sunday Silence, and Alysheba, turned 3, they certainly were not household names and the latter 2 had racked up some loses.  So what. But the following 4 year olf season would bring accolaids along the lines of "America's Horse!"  I just have a hard time buying the fact that horses are more "sensitive" currently.  Come on, how many times did Lady's Secret run over her life time?  She didn't let a 1 1/4 BC race scare her away.

29 Sep 2010 2:35 PM
fluke da claimer

The fact of the matter is that RA simply wasn't good enough to continue to win. It became more and more difficult to find a race they could have written specifically for her that made them able to duck better. She even got whipped in the Fluke Da Claimers and wasn't it by a horse making her stakes debut?!! We will never see a weaker schedule for the next year that the previous winner of HOY  faced in getting beat over and over and over again like RA did this year. She never won a race where any filly or mare of any age was entered and had previously won a G1 race. The races she won last year carried big titles but drew only fair competition. Forget MTB who RA barely beat in her Preakness and has proven to be anything but a true G1 horse, RA was the "real fluke" of 2009. 2009 was fun to watch but if you were drawn into the illusion of it all 2010 has become a nightmare to watch.  

29 Sep 2010 2:40 PM
kathleen o

I said this after the Woodward, I'll say it again.  Anyone who knows horses could see that the Woodward took everything she has, and because mares have a keener sense of their own well being, she was never going to give it her all again.

I also want to add my voice to the chorus of people who say that Winning Colors had a tougher campaign than RA, she just didn't win all of her races.

29 Sep 2010 2:41 PM
blind luck

Rose,

Won't see another 3 yr old in a long time like RA? That's what they said about the Big Ole Browneye just a couple yrs ago before he got whipped by every horse in the Belmont including a mere maiden. How many times has Baffert been heard to say this is the best 3 yr old or best horse I ever trained? The answer is almost yearly. RA won some big name races but beat almost nobody in doing it. She also lost some no name races and was beaten by virtually nobodies when she did. There will be plenty of 3 yr olds in the very near future as good or better. I think Blind Luck is already one of those as good or better.    

29 Sep 2010 2:48 PM
Barbara W

Sodapopkid,

I was wondering the same thing about Draynay? Has he moved to Australia, or is he writing under a different name?

Rachel Lover,

I'm sorry to say this, but it's been my experience that although visitors are allowed to see the stallions, the mares and foals are kept under wraps. I realized this when I wanted to see Rags to Riches and couldn't. Presumably, they want to keep their atmosphere serene.

29 Sep 2010 2:56 PM
Kay

I’m actually relieved she’s retired because the thought of them running her in the Classic made me nauseous. This is all about Jess’s ego and not about the horse. These are HIS achievements, not hers. And he was acting like running her in the Ladies Classic would be beneath him. Mostly, I think, it’s because another filly is being pointed for the Classic. It’s all about competition with this guy and he basks in the glory when they win and then throws a fit when he doesn’t get his way. Zenyatta has been magnificently cared for. You know when they lead her out that she’s ready. I don’t know that about Rachel. Every race this year made me nervous. I didn’t want to see her overextend and lay herself down and have tragedy strike.

Rachel lost three races in exactly the same manner – she had no response to a horse coming up to challenge her. That’s really worrisome, given how much of a fighter she was last year. And to me, it indicates a mental issue. It’s pretty clear that she wasn’t able to overcome that and to persevere on with her could have been disastrous. Steve Haskin wrote a similar article about her retirement and his contention was that Jackson owes the fans and racing community an explanation about why you retire a horse after a brilliant work. I totally agree. They had obviously planned her schedule to include the Beldame and a BC race, but now they decide to retire her? With NO explanation whatsoever and Jess Jackson’s typical nonsensical blather? Retire her if you want, of course, but you got some splainin to do, Lucy.

I love the people who point to her numbers and say that she’s at least as good this year as she was last year. Numbers don’t mean anything if horses lose races, and they don’t mean anything if horses win, either. Numbers don’t account for heart, and Rachel’s was ripped out last year. The best race of hers, to me, was the Oaks. Just utterly breathtaking. That was a happy, dominant horse. She won other races by as much but I just didn’t think she had the complete joy throughout the rest of the year that she did in the Oaks. It’ll be interesting in the spring to see which horse Jess Jackson decides to buy. I love that he’s been showered with kudos for spending ten million bucks on a filly who won the way she did. ANY of us would have done the same thing, if we’d had the money. Didn’t take an eagle-eyed bloodstock agent to see that she was something special. Too bad he turned her into something ordinary.

Easy goer:

“I have to echo the comments of all those who talked about Rachel's new life in "retirement." I am tired of people talking with delight about how much she is going to like Curlin. She is going to be twitched, hobbled, and bred. Then, she is going to have foal after foal until her body says "enough" or she dies of foaling complications.”

I’m also struggling to see how this is a less stressful life, but then Jackson has proven to be pretty clueless about reality. I wouldn’t expect anything different from a corporate guy.

Carlos in Cali:

“BTW, there's no way she would've won the Foster with that Overbrook horse breathing down her neck-- no freakin way! Her FDL victory was a tad bit faster because she was lone speed vs. outmatched opponents.”

I’m continuously flummoxed by people who insist that she would have won the Foster just because she ran faster in the FDL. That’s pretty naïve.

Kevin L:

“I have never been disappointed in the decision to sit out the BC last fall, she had done enough for the year and deserved time. As for the six months, probably excessive, but keep in mind that this year's campaign was probably geared towards Churchill in November. Everyone seems to forget that Zenyatta "retired" and there was no reason to bring RA back in the early Spring at a top level until all of us started clamoring for a matchup after Zenyatta unretired that could only occur in Arkansas.”

Just to clarify, the decision to sit out the BC was made in the spring, not after the Woodward. While I wish Rachel had come to the BC (it would have been nice to see her in person), my darling Jess made a strategic decision to try and win HOTY before then. And it worked. He got what he was after. No shame there. As for racing fans clamoring for the match between Rachel and Zenyatta, don’t blame the fans. It was my beloved Jess who yapped his flap about the three-race series. HE started all of this. NOT the fans. I wonder if he issued that particular press release without telling Asmussen. I wouldn’t be surprised if he issued the latest without telling him, either.

29 Sep 2010 3:03 PM
shuvee

Shuvee: She ran faster than Blame two races earlier on Foster day.

Yes, she did. But that does not mean she would have beaten him that day. She would not have had a favorable pace scenario in the Foster and I can't picture her holding off Blame's closing kick in the stretch.

Time is one method to use when evaluating horses but to me, it is not the be all and end all that some others make it. Just IMHO, of course.

It amuses me, though, to see people disparage what Rachel accomplished as a 3-year-old. I have been following racing for more than 40 years (yes, I am OLD, LOL), and that was a truly amazing campaign, for which, I believe, she paid the price this year.

29 Sep 2010 3:04 PM
Leon

Gary:

The sport is already full of owners & trainers that take the easy way out, and only take real challenges with their horses about once a year. The average HOTY used to run an average of 12-15 times a year, and the average is now 6 times a year. No wonder people are turning away from the sport.

As a fan, I could not be more grateful of the path JJ took with RA in 2009. We were lucky to witness one of the most challenging & exciting 3-year old campaigns in the history of the sport. We will always remember RA because of how special & unique her 2009 campaign was.

29 Sep 2010 3:05 PM
Piroette

What a shocker. I agree with almost everything said in this entry, but what saddens me is how people are worrying about RA being turned into a baby factory and how hard foaling is and whether she'll die of foaling complications or a worn-out body.

Mares aren't like pregnant women. They and their foals have the strength and energy to stand and run shortly after birth. Horses are "accidents on four legs". Stallions die of heart attacks in the breeding shed. Racehorses are euthanized after getting injured on the track. The best we can do is minimize those risks and enjoy them while they're with us.

RA's going to one of the most beautiful equine locales on the planet, where she'll be loved and cared for by expert horsemen and women. This isn't the end of her story--like Secretariat, she'll be remembered and discussed by fans for years to come. I look forward to seeing her foals at the track in a few years!

29 Sep 2010 3:06 PM
Leon

The Bid:

Obviously, you have not read Steve Haskin's article on RA's retirement.

Do yourself a favor, and read it before calling eight grade I-winning males, including the winners of the Belmont Stakes (2), Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Whitney, Stephen Foster, Blue Grass, and Secretariat Stakes, in addition to the winners of the Oaklawn Handicap, New Orleans Handicap, Jim Dandy Stakes, Tom Fool Handicap. Woody Stephens Stakes, and Lone Star Handicap, "pigs"

29 Sep 2010 3:10 PM
Dancinghorse

I have been a Queen Z fan since the first time I saw her race. I worked on training and breeding farms in Ocala,FL when I was much younger.  I think there is something fishy when RA was pulled out of a race where she would have to have gone up against ZENYATTA.  I think she had super press but that was what made her 'super'.  No one seems to remember Rags To Riches a few years ago who beat ALL the boys in the BELMONT at 1 & 1/2 mile which is much longer than RA ran against the boys in the much shorter Preakness!!! While I'm at it, Zenyatta was a winner  at age 3 and STILL churns out win after win.  I think RA's early rtirement is just another excuse to not meet THE greatest filly & now mare the mighty Zenyatta! Oh I think I read the same thing in someone's thoughts bac a ways here. Also Zenyatta should have been Horse of the Year in2009.  It was mostly east against west instead of what each had actually accomplished in their careers.  This year a terrible wrong should be righted and Zenyatta will be Horse of the year!  No one seems to get the fact that Zenyatta has done more in her career and when the connections of RA knew she would not make it to the Breeders Cup, they had their "reason" to pull her!

29 Sep 2010 3:14 PM
TerriV

Jason, I think you are right!

29 Sep 2010 3:15 PM
BONNIE O'LOUISVILLE

If Jackson,et al was going to retire so early, they should have taken her out when she was on top of her game, not let her be sidelined and then throw her into a race which made no sense.  She should have been kept in training and raced more frequently rather than babying her and then expect her to perform as she did as a 3 year old.

29 Sep 2010 3:26 PM
Kool-Aid Kid

It's now officially time to pour the RA Kool-Aid down the toilet where it belongs. So many were fooled by last years wins over fair to partly cloudy competition that they could not get enough of the elixur. Thank you JJ and Stevo for allowing the ultimate illusion to finally fade away. Time to move on to another flavor, maybe bring back rootin tootin rasberry or jolly olly orange.  

29 Sep 2010 3:31 PM
I Tell it Like it is

Leon,

The Bid was wrong, slugs would have been a better choice of words. No matter how you want to spin it those horses were nothing very special. There will be many many more who go on to win the same races named and some will be better and not very many weaker.

29 Sep 2010 3:35 PM
Fish

Either Rachel is injured or Jackson's ego just cannot take another loss.  Another disappointment that includes Jackson's boycott of the 2009 Breeder Cup and his ducking of the 2009 Travers and 2010 Apple Blossom.

29 Sep 2010 3:43 PM
stevebiscuit

Ghostzapper-"One good thing is we don't have to hear Zenyatta fans bash her over and over anymore. Hallelujah!"  

It's a 2 way street Ghostzapper, both sides are guilty of bashing.

29 Sep 2010 3:43 PM
kaytee

looking forward to the next chapter for RA.  there had been talk a long time ago about pairing her with Curlin. can't wait to see what happens.

29 Sep 2010 3:47 PM
used to believe in fantasy

I too was taken in by Rachael's wins last year until I educated myself on her competition. The more I saw the less it meant. It's kind of like saying you won the Boston Marathon but no Kenyan's showed up. Someone still gets to claim victory against the lesser competition. She is now alone at the top of my most overated horse ever list. The wrongful 2009 HOY vote cemented that. The east coast biased media hype convinced alot of people she was better than she really was but this year and in 2008 the facts show otherwise.  

29 Sep 2010 3:48 PM
Chris

People are still claiming Rachel will be remembered as the horse who ducked the BC and the Travers?

How would they like it if I said Zenyatta will always be remembered as the horse who ducked (year after year) the Hollywood Gold Cup, The Pacific Classic, the Goodwood, and every other major race throughout the course of the year?

It's such a stupid comment obviously written by a rabid Zenyatta fan. Rachel was phenomenal and will always be remembered as the first filly to win the Preakness in 85 years, the first filly to win the Woodward in its storied history, the first 3-year old filly to defeat males in GI route races in a single year, a filly who won the Oaks by over 20, and as a filly who broke the record of the immortal Ruffian.

That is how she will be remembered. Anyone thinking otherwise is a bitter loser who has no concept of the awsomeness and magnitude of what Rachel did.

I will sorely miss Rachel, and Jason, you were spot on bud. You really know your stuff.

29 Sep 2010 3:51 PM
stevebiscuit

"She ran faster than Blame two races earlier on Foster day." -Jshandler

Are you saying because of this she's could have beaten Blame? It's been in my experience that there's more to handicapping than just the final time. My family ran a horse at Hollywood Park in a $25,000 claiming race. He won, finishing the mile and a sixteenth in 1:42 2/5. Later that day there was a grade 2 stakes race run at the same distance in a time of 1:43 1/5. Does that mean our claimer could have run with grade 2 horses? Absolutely not! The final time is determined by the way the race unfolds, not the other way around.

29 Sep 2010 3:54 PM
Jason Shandler

Yes Steve, that's what Im saying. Im not saying she would have won the Foster, but she certainly could have, based on her time and her Beyer. She belonged in that race. Time isnt everything as we all know, pace counts too, but it definately helps tell the story, especially since the two races were back-to-back.

29 Sep 2010 3:59 PM
Peg

I agree 100% with what you have written. This year  could have been managed better. Rachel did not have a chance to live  up to her full potential. I will miss her but I am glad she is sound.

29 Sep 2010 4:03 PM
The Bid

I Tell it Like it is, thank you for helping me out, I should have used the word SLUGS, not pigs. cause no matter how you slice it the horses (male and female) that she she beat last year were slugs, the lone exception would be Summer Bird.

29 Sep 2010 4:04 PM
RA fan with reality

People are easily drawn into believing things that are not so. That's why the worlds oldest profession outside of prostitution the con man will live forever. Soon enough another horse will come along that some people will be led to believe is the best ever until they get beat a time or two or three or four or five or six like Rachael did. Nice resume but it lacks substance in the quality faced department.    

29 Sep 2010 4:14 PM
KevinL

Yes, the decision to sit out the BC was made early, that was probably why the races were selected as they were. With no BC in the picture, they structured a year that would show what the horse could do. HOY? If that is his goal then that is his goal. Whether you want a BC championship, HOY or just to win a $10,000 claimer at Hoosier, you set your goal and you persue it. Sometimes plans do not work out and you have to adjust. I admire the task that RA undertook, I respect Curlin and Gio Ponti (among others) for going to Dubai and the last few years there have been a few making the trek across to Ascot as well. These are the Sportsmen that I respect. I do not know if RA is one of the All Time Greats, I just know that she was tested and that is what all athletes need to do, be tested. Now according to those who are experts on Horse Language she says she doesn't want to run anymore. Fine, she is healthy (I guess) and all complaints about the connections mistreating her are disproved. She raced, she won, she lost, she did not break down. Now it is on to other things.  

29 Sep 2010 4:16 PM
joe schmoe

Chris,

When you study the facts and realize that only 3 or 4 Fillies have ever tried the Preakness in those 85 years it isn't such a big deal. Filles outside of RA have had very good sucess when they have tried, none won but the ITM percentage is excellent. I'd be willing to bet that if there had been Fillies contesting the Preakness EVERY year many more would have won. You just recited another way to skew facts to make it appear as if something more than it is just happened. One could just as easily say something like no other Filly has barely won the Preakness in the last 86 years over a fluke KY Derby winner who couldn't win another race of any kind in the following two years without an injury to blame. Are you perhaps an Accountant or Politician?

29 Sep 2010 4:25 PM
robin from michigan

I'm sorry that you Zenyatta fans are disappointed that Rachel Alexandra retired, and I'm surprised that you guys are disappointed about Rachel Alexandra retiring, considering the fact that you guys are the ones who wanted her to retire in the first place. And for the ones that says that Rachel Alexandra was run into the ground in 2009, remember, that your prized mare, Zenyatta, raced 9 times in 2008, and there were many other horses in the past that has run more times in one year than Rachel Alexandra. So, seeing a horse run more times than 8 is not really a surprise. And think about those horses that have raced more times than Rachel Alexandra has, and has lost more races than what Rachel Alexandra has, and people still proclaim them as one of the best horses in the world. And I guarantee you that none of you, have ever thought about talking bad about any of those horses. So, why does every Zenyatta fan, or most every Zenyatta fan, have to critize Rachel Alexandra, whether racing or retired? I believe, that it all has to do with Rachel Alexandra being a big threat to Zenyatta. Maybe it's because you guys know that Rachel Alexandra could be the one to break Zenyatta's record. Well, now since Rachel Alexandra is now retired, and she is no longer being pointed toward a race that has Zenyatta in it, you guys could chill out, becuase your threat is now over. Your prize mare, can now continue her undefeated season, and retire herself undefeated. Enjoy your retirement Rachel Alexandra. Can't wait to see your sons and daughters run on the racetracks.

29 Sep 2010 5:00 PM
Pedigree Shelly

      I'm happy to see RA Safe , sound and retired ! She has done everything asked of her ! The only thing that upsets me is she never faced Zenyatta ! Let's remember Real Quiet also, who died tragically in his paddock . He was the closest thing we had to a Triple Crown winner :(

29 Sep 2010 5:08 PM
MGM

Its appauling how people are saying " scared to run against zenyatta."  catch a clue it has nothing to do with that at  all.  this is about what is best for the horse.  I love both the horses.  theya re both true champions.  its just that Rachel is ready to become a mother and its her next big adventure... be happy for her. she deserves this and more. she has  given to so many why would we cheat her on this?

29 Sep 2010 5:27 PM
ceil

I don't know why so many of you think that being a broodmare is such a terrible fate. These mares are treated like the queens they are. I always felt so sorry for Toussad. She was kept in an air-conditioned stall, but her foals were taken away and raised by a nurse mare because she had laminitis. Anyone who has ever had a broodmare and colt knows how happy the mare is with her baby. (I had a saddlebred mare who couldn't be pastured with mares and foals because she would steal the foals away from the mothers.)

As for Rachel, I think the fun went out of racing for her in the Woodward. She was totally wrung out in that race. I don't believe for a minute that Steve Asmussen would ever have picked that spot for her if it had been his choice. I think he did the best he could working for jackson. SA is not the owner of the horse. He is an employee, with a lot of people to pay, and you don't always have the luxury of telling your owners what you think.

Also, long layoffs are fairly common for horses who have had a hard race or a long trip like the BC or Dubai World Cup. Zenyatta and Goldikova both had long layoffs in 2009 after the 2008 BC. Zenyatta was scheduled to start Derby weekend (but didn't) and Goldikova in late May. Neither went to the farm. Bottom line, Rachel was just not the same horse.

29 Sep 2010 5:40 PM
Mike Relva

JIMMY

Why don't you take some of your own advice?

29 Sep 2010 5:48 PM
Pete M

Well Written. and close to 100% right on all counts.

29 Sep 2010 6:03 PM
Jimmy

My mistake sidekickflats, I did not realize Rachel ran in the Met Mile. Was this a race I missed, because I am not sure how you are trying to defend your point. You called Rachel a miler and there is NO empirical evidence to support that. All of her biggest wins came from 1 1/8 miles to 1 3/16 miles. Those are facts.

29 Sep 2010 6:32 PM
needler in Virginia

robin from michigan, even with your horse retired you're VERY bitter about Zenyatta. Sad that anyone became invested enough that recognizing brilliance in another horse would be impossible to do. Why can't you be thrilled that we, for a brief moment, had TWO stars shining at once. Actually, we had two SUPERNOVAS at once, and that's a stone cold miracle, especially since they were both fillies. So what if they never met? SO WHAT? And you're determined to feel that Zenyatta fans were afraid of Rachel? There were and are nasties on BOTH sides of the Zenyatta/Rachel fence. The reality is that Rachel had not yet even come close to Zenyatta's present 18-0 record, and seeing how she raced so far this year, she wasn't EVER going to do so. SO WHAT? Does that mean Rachel is the lesser racehorse.......a resounding NO, IT DOES NOT, and I happen to be a big fan of Zenyatta. GIve Rachel her due, and then tell us how your heart hurts that Rachel is now off the track, how you feel betrayed by Rachel's connections when they said one thing and did another, and when they did things with the horse that just didn't feel right in your gut, but DON'T bring Zenyatta into a discussion of Rachel Alexandra and her connections.

This is a blog about YOU feel about Rachel's retirement; NOT about you hate Zenyatta and her fans. Thanks for the warning, though; I'll remember that I am not welcome in your part of Michigan, and that you and I could never be friends.

Cheers and safe trips to ALL.

29 Sep 2010 6:33 PM
P-Lam

I think they made a major mistake by not sending her to the farm after her 2010 campaign.  They left her in the barn at Churchill compared with a farm where she could be turned out. An active shedow is not the ideal place for a horse to take a vacation. Nonetheless, she was a pleasure to watch and I feel quite lucky to have been at Saratoga when she won the Woodward, what a performance and the excitement in the building was tremendous.

29 Sep 2010 6:38 PM
markinsac

"I think she shouldn't have run in the Fleur de Lis but instead would have won the Stephen Foster",  OK, then you are saying Unrivaled Belle is a better horse than Blame, I think that's what you are saying . . . "I think Rachel is very capable of winning at a mile and a quarter", even though whe was stopping in the 1mile and 3/16ths Preaknesss and the mile and a quarter Personal Ensign.  Hmm, more fuzzy math.  I wish you would explain these two points.  But I do agree with you when you said, "I think the way her career ended was ridiculous"

29 Sep 2010 6:42 PM
Deborah

It is time to retire Rachel.  She did her work in style.  A horse cannot stay on top year after year.  She will be a wonderful broodmare for sure!  Rachel deserves to go out in style while she is still healthy and uninjured.

Deborah

29 Sep 2010 6:43 PM
Ida Lee

One of the great loves of my life, my beautiful Rachel. Yes, it is ridiculous that she was retired like this but I agree with Pedigree Shelly...she's safe and sound so Rachel can now go be a happy horse with her gorgeous fiance the Mighty Curlin, another one of my beloved athletes. Cannot wait to see the most beautiful and talented babies on the the planet.

29 Sep 2010 6:56 PM
downhomesunset

Asmussen didnt train her-Jackson did.I have to admit that I was stunned to immobility for a few moments after reading that headline late last night! I kept thinking that it was a mistake untill I read that article.

29 Sep 2010 6:58 PM
Mike Relva

ROBIN FROM MI

Speaking as a Zenyatta fan,I didn't slam RA in fact many times defended her. I don't care for her connections and why would anyone consider her a threat to Zenyatta when she wasn't going to meet her this fall. Please. Don't over generalize,many Zenyatta fans respect RA and admire her. Did you ever consider the reason why RA was on the shelf for so long this yr? If connections placed her interest first,she wouldn't been almost run into the ground in '09.

29 Sep 2010 7:13 PM
Convene

I know I will miss Rachel. She was truly the ultimate gift and to have been alive during her career has been a privilege. I think, as she definitely did not come back this year as the Rachel we saw last year, that retirement while she was still sound and healthy made sense. I agree that she should have won the Personal Ensign but for a poor ride and yes, the La Troienne was fantastic - and fantastic bad luck too! I don't like the conflicting reports Jess Jackson issued but I also think he tried to keep everyone happy at the same time - and you know no one can do that. I think last year she did deserve Horse of the Year based on the body of work. This year? Well, we'll see. I expect lady Zen will get her HOY, and probably should. Rachel would not have been an Eclipse candidate this year in any division and, as sorry as that makes me, I have lost no love for her and no respect for her. She is a unique and wonderful creature whose place in history is well-earned. A happy retirement, Queen Rachel. Thanks for the memories.

29 Sep 2010 7:17 PM
Afleet Treet

BRAVO JASON!!

I agre with ALL you said...I must elaborate on the media thing though...the one thing that ALWAYS bugged me was the damn secretive nature with which they communicated things about her and the way they hid her from the world. Sheesh! This is not the president it is a HORSE! Being a HUGE Zen AND Rachel fan I hated how "available" Zen has ALWAYS been to her fans and how "hidden away" Rachel has been. For us fans it is perhaps a HUGE thrill of a lifetime to get a chance to meet a horse up close and personal and so VERY few people ever got to meet her. Zen's connections welcome so many peopel ALL the time to meet the mighty mare and those same kinds of fans would have loved to be a regular Joe/Jane meetig Rachel...not just people named Rachel, or who have babies named Rachel! Sheesh! Hal shold have kpet her all along!

Shame on Jackson for not even recognizing that Hal Wiggins is responsible for 99.9% of the glory and fame (and money) that Rachel brough to him with her wins!

KUDOS TO HAL!

HAPPY RETIREMENT RACHEL!

HorseRacingMania.com LOVES you....ALWAYS!!!

Thanks for the great blog Jason!

29 Sep 2010 7:22 PM
Will W

A mismanaged 2010 campaign and a ridiculous ending to her career. Who can argue with that assessment.

29 Sep 2010 7:23 PM
Mike Relva

CATTS

What's your motive to remark on RA's ears,etc. She's a beautiful horse,give me a break!

29 Sep 2010 7:24 PM
goodwin

Robin From Michigan,

Really? No, Zenyatta fans wanted a fair and square match up, like, hey! - the 2009 BC Classic. Or the 2010 Apple Blossom. Face it - you will never know if Rachel could be the one to best Zenyatta, and you never will, but that is certainly not the fault of the Mosses! Or Zenyatta fans.

29 Sep 2010 7:28 PM
PMAC14

I cant stand that us Z fans get a bad wrap for the smaller % us that down RA.  The comp she face last year was better than what the Queen faced(excluding the BCC of course)  SHe won all eight of her races, set records, ran sick fractions and held on when most wouldnt.  I love Big Z, but RA had a HOY campaign last year.  HOY does not matter for Z, she is above all that!!  BUt to down Rachel the way some of you do means you are 1. just trying to stir the pot or 2.  Absolutely Clueless and not a true fan. My wife bought me photos of both Rachel(preakness) and Z (BCC- passing Gio making her look like she has 6 legs because she is such a monster that she basically covered him up. LOL  She knows im a Z fanatic, but im a a true horseracing fan and can appreciate all the stars!!!  I wish more of you could do the same.

29 Sep 2010 7:32 PM
Zookeeper

I'm sad that Rachel has been retired. I'm even sadder about the bizarre circumstances of her retirement. I hope she has a peaceful life at the farm, she certainly deserves it.

What I'm saddest about is the dreadful paddock accident that took Real Quiet's life. RIP... he deserved better.

29 Sep 2010 7:33 PM
PMAC14

O Yea,  RIP   "The Fish"

29 Sep 2010 7:33 PM
sodapopkid

remember, that your prized mare, Zenyatta, raced 9 times in 2008, and there were many other horses in the past that has run more times in one year than Rachel Alexandra

Thankyou,  That just proves our point how extroidinary Zenyatta truly is.   Zenyatta still continues to keep winning.........

29 Sep 2010 7:35 PM
Mike Relva

ALB

Thanks for the laugh! lol

29 Sep 2010 7:53 PM
Householder

HOY winner Lady's Secret ran 45 times!  You can't tell me RA does not have 1 more race in her.  Retire her after the Breeder's Cup.  

29 Sep 2010 8:20 PM
sidekickflats

Jimmy,

Let me explain my so called "idiotic loser" comment to you and see if you can grasp where I come from.

If you look at my original post way up near the top of this blog I said "I don't believe she wanted any part of a mile and a quarter."

I still don't.  

Then I went on to say "They say that miler's make great sires.  I wonder if that holds true for broodmares"  Let me explain that a bit.  There was a farm a while ago( and maybe still does) whose tag line was "Miler Speed. It breeds success".  If that is true for stallions what about mares?  Do I think that Rachel has miler speed?  YES.  She was very fast and was able to carry that speed over a mile to a mile and an eight.  Yes, I am aware that she won the Preakness at 1 3/16 by a slim margin. She did not win at a mile and a quarter. Jason seems to think that she would. I disagree.  But in the right circumstances she may have won but would she be a true mile and a quarter horse?  

For example, if we could somehow get all the great sprinters on the last few decades and stick them all in the starting gate at the BC Classic what would happen?  You could have Eillo, Smile, Housebuster, Melair, Dayjur, Lost in the Fog, Terlinqua, Midnite Lute, Safely Kept etc.  Once the gate opens one of those sprinters is going to win the grade 1 BC Classic.  By winning did the horse "get" the classic distance?  What if it was the fastest 6 furlongs in BC history but the slowest last eighth?  Or the opposite?    

I realize that Rachel never ran in the Met Mile.  Again if you read that post, I called it a "stallion" making race.  Again if it's good for stallions why is saying that Rachel has miler speed a negative?  Perhaps that is more a positive in her next career than not winning at a mile and a quarter would be a negative?

And it is completely fine for anyone to disagree with me but surely you can remain civil in the debate.      

29 Sep 2010 8:20 PM
Householder

Ah yes...Real Quiet.  People forget that it was Baffert's other horse Indian Charlie who was riding a perfect 4-0 record into the Kentucky Derby.  He, not Real Quiet was the "one." Real Quiet would have no part of this.  If the Belmont was 1 1/2 and 3 feet his head bobs back up a Triple Crown Winner.

29 Sep 2010 8:27 PM
Meydan Rocks

Robin.

Stop it!  

Really???

Rachel  "a threat" to Zenyatta???

C'mon.

The criticism cuts both ways.

Let her retire in peace without invoking Z's name.

29 Sep 2010 8:58 PM
Stephen Ciattei

She did gain significant weight in growing up and may have needed the time to grow into herself. The timing to retire is a testament to the whole years handling of her campaign.. oblique.  

Hindsight is 100% if they would have run her in the Foster she would have beaten Blame as she ran the fastest 1 1/8 mile in the country just a few minutes before Blame ran. That would have set her up for Horse of the Year and Old Filly or mare Championship.  Show would have also beaten Quality Road in the Woodward where he ran 1:50+ a time Rachel never came close to on her worst day.  She was improving and should have been entered in the JCGC where she had a legitimate shot.  

Let me close this by saying farewell to a GREAT ON who surely had the "Look of Eagles"

Many years ago, a man named John Taintor Foote wrote a story called "The Look of Eagles".  In it, he described the look of which Mallory speaks:  "About the head of a truly great horse there is an air of freedom unconquerable. The eyes seem to look on heights beyond our gaze.  It is the look of a spirit that can soar. It is the birthright of eagles." (article, by Ellen Parker, originally appeared in the August 2002 issue of American Turf Monthly.)

29 Sep 2010 9:16 PM
Jason Shandler
29 Sep 2010 9:34 PM
Meydan Rocks

Jason -

You are the master of ceremonies on this one!

This is certainly a "fire starter".

Good call!

I recall reading the esteemed Mr Beyer's column once more before I drove to Santa Anita to watch the BCC.

As she powered home, his words kept ringing in my head.

Does this mean she will win again?

Mr Beyer certainly thinks not!

One never knows...

29 Sep 2010 9:46 PM
Chris

Now I'm twisting the facts when I say Rachel was the first filly to win the Preakness in 85 years?

Even though this is true....somehow it's twisted?

Well how many fillies/mares have attempted the Classic? Not that many at all. So I could say the same thing about Zenyatta's win in the Classic. If more attempted, more would win.

Only problem is that Rachel was also the first filly to do things in other major races as well.

So to the who is trying to accuse me of skewing the facts (simply because I said people will remember her for her historically significant wins)you had better come up with an argument better than that pal.

I feel sorry for you.  

29 Sep 2010 9:49 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

I read Beyers' usual slight of Zenyatta. Glad he's again picking against her to win the Classic. My only worry would be if he changes his mind. lol

29 Sep 2010 9:51 PM
Robin from Maryland

I'm so happy she' retiring.  Just hope she's not injured.  She brought so much to racing, no one can take that away from her.  For the rest of us, until we start paying all the bills, JJ can do whatever he wants with her.  We may not agree with anything he has done in recent times, but it's his call - as crazy as it seems.  I hope she has a long, wonderful broodmare career and produces some of the best babies ever.  Thanks for the memories RA we will NEVER forget you.

29 Sep 2010 9:51 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Jason

  I'm glad you gave Hal Wiggins the credit he deserves. Rachel was never better than when under his care. Now about that link-sneaky, on a Rachel blog, and to the "toss Zenyatta" guy for last years Classic. Don't forget that he said her critics will be silenced if she wins this year or even comes close. They still give a lot of free drinks in Vegas? I heard they were cutting back. Nice to have you back.

29 Sep 2010 9:59 PM
Ocean Palmer

Jess Jackson knows how to buy other men's horses and pretend he's responsible for their success. Asmussen is an erratic trainer with questionable ethics. Add them together and what have we got? Two guys who deserve each other but not the trophies they hold or the athletes who earn them.

29 Sep 2010 10:00 PM
Jason Shandler

lol...how did that link get there?

Had a good tim in Vegas, thanks for asking. Didnt break the bank but also didnt lose much. I was up, I was down. I took my shots. Typical vegas. All in all, a fun trip. Ans yes, the drinks are still free :)

29 Sep 2010 10:04 PM
Kay

Oh, Jason. Really? You're using Andy Beyer as what, proof that Zenyatta isn't a great horse? You guys have the exact same opinion. And that's all it is -- an opinion. Let me guide you towards another Andy Beyer article. This one appeared prior to the BC Classic last year:

www.washingtonpost.com/.../AR2009110502549.html

I get that all that matters to you guys are numbers, but use your EYES, man! Disappointed in you, Jason. Very, very disappointed.

On an upbeat note, Andy Beyer is going to be talking about the Saturday races in the paddock at Hollywood Park. Pretty ironic that he'll be doing that at a synthetic track. I hope he doesn't choke on it.

And if you hear about somebody confronting him, it wasn't me. I have witnesses.

29 Sep 2010 10:05 PM
Jason Shandler

What are you so worked up for Kay? All I did was put a link up. You people are so easy sometimes...

29 Sep 2010 10:21 PM
mauifan

I think I agree with everything you said.  It is disappointing to the fans of Rachel that we were not given a chance to see her race again, knowing it would be her swan song.  She is still the best we have seen in years, regardless of how odd her 2010 year was.  In JJ's defense, at least he did not run her until she got injured - or worse.  May she have the retirement she deserves.

29 Sep 2010 10:26 PM
Paula Higgins

Mike Relva, I am not as sanguine as you are about Beyer's article. That article had me spitting nails. It's wrong on so many levels I don't even know where to begin. In fact, the minute I saw "synthetic specialist" I said to myself, so Draynay's writing for the Washington Post now huh? I mean Beyer no longer has a point of view, but instead, an axe to grind. It's becoming a Vendetta. I mean what kind of person dedicates a whole article to tearing a horse down? That speaks for itself in my opinion. Jason, who I know holds somewhat similar views about Zenyatta, has never done something like that. He states his views in the context of a blog but isn't gratuitously unkind and dedicating whole pieces to why she isn't that great....:). I can respect that, but not Beyer's article which just seems mean spirited. You know, I have no idea whether Zenny can win the Breeders Cup Classic against this year's very gifted crop of colts. But I do know, she deserves more respect than Beyer has ever accorded her. She is so much more than just a "very fast horse."

As for Rachel, I personally believe that Jackson retired her to maintain her broodmare value. He didn't want to risk anymore losses if she wasn't going to the Classic itself, and that just wasn't going to happen. I will love Rachel always. She had the most brilliant 3 year old, filly seasons ever in my opinion. She is one of the greats and furthermore, she deserved HOTY last year. This is from a diehard Zenyatta fan.

29 Sep 2010 10:37 PM
Paula Higgins

Kay, I am laughing my head off!!! You go girl!! It will be me confronting Beyer at the paddock and the police will have to cart me away in cuffs when I am finished. i wonder if Mr. Beyer knows he is living dangerously??

29 Sep 2010 10:41 PM
Mokey

I  agree this year made NO sense. They just jumped her back to training, then like ONE week would make a difference in her training, agree to the Apple Blossem? Then the get her old exciser back and she has a bullet and they say she's done?? That makes no sense. I think she ran her heart out in the Woodward, and no horse seemed to come out of that race. I hope she does have a great foal to follow her foot steps, but many great mares never have a great foal. Lady Secret, Personal Ensign, Genuine Risk not a great foal for any of them. I just hope she lives for a long time, and maybe goes to Old Friends once she's not having foals for fans to she her again.

29 Sep 2010 10:42 PM
Pants on the ground

lol,

You and Andy still dont get it! She'll learn ya' once again.

29 Sep 2010 10:42 PM
Ofelia

I agree with you Jason. RA was mismanaged from the start. Jackson bought a perfectly conditioned horse by Wiggins and rode it until she was completely spent in the Woodward. Too bad Wiggins or Jon Sheriffs wasn't managing RA.

Looking forward to seeing her babies.

29 Sep 2010 10:58 PM
Nancy

I agree Jason except about the AB. The matchup with Zenyatta should have been later in the year, not at the beginning when Rachel is out of shape and Zenyatta is in shape.

For the record, Zenyatta did not race 9 times in 2008, she raced 7 times. And for those that think Zenyatta could beat Rachel, just remember that Zenyatta has yet to face a horse that has won a G1 this year. For a two time Eclipse winning older female and BC Classic winner, this speaks more to mismanagement than anything that happened with Rachel this year.

Racing lost a huge star in Rachel, but the end had to come at some time. The filly with the broken blaze has my heart and always will.

29 Sep 2010 11:02 PM
Collette from Ar.

Even if I was only a QH trainer a long time ago, I think I am qualfied to comment on RAs career.  Hal Wiggins was a great trainer and deserves a lot of cridit for her success.  Steve is from a great family of horsmen and women, and a top trainer.  

I think JJ pushed Steve into running RA way before she was ready.  The Asmussons are notorious for bringing their horses along slow and when steve had to run her before she was fit, it may have knocked her out and it is hard to correct.  He did the right thing in picking an easy spot to bring her back at the FG. Horses don't all come back as good after a rest.  I don't think she was injured, she just needed a break after a hard year of racing.  Steve has had a very hard year in the business this time around.  He has lost all of his good horses to one thing and another.  It happens to all of us. I wish him luck, he is a great trainer and I think if the owner had left things up to him you would seen a better year out of RA. She was a great one.

29 Sep 2010 11:03 PM
Ranagulzion

The timid, light campaign for Rachel didn't work out after all.  They should have "gone for the jugular" in the Stephen Foster and that would have made all the difference to Rachel Alexandra's bid to defend her HOTY crown and salvage some lost prsetige in 2010.  JJ's decisions concernibg RA this year are just downright puzzling ...perhaps he more than Rachel Alexandra has lost his zest for racing.  Nevertheless, like RA he scored big last year and we have to be thankful for his allowing us to see the true quality of this sensational filly.  A farewell race announced ahead of time would have been a more fitting exit for the champion filly (unless she's injured).  

29 Sep 2010 11:06 PM
Kay

Robin:

My post to you didn't show up. Thank your lucky stars for that (g). I won't go into the rest of it but I wanted to correct something. You said that Zenyatta ran nine times in 2008. She ran seven times. Her first two starts came late in her three-year-old season. It's not the number of races Rachel ran that gutted her. It's the type of races, and it's how bloody close together they were. Zenyatta ran seven times in nine months, with her races well spaced out. Conversely, Rachel ran eight times in a little less than seven months. Look, I hate that these horses have become apparently so fragile that our 3YOs have, at most, two preps before the Derby. No wonder we aren't getting a Trilpe Crown winner -- the horses simply aren't prepared for it. They have no foundation. But there's such a thing as picking your spots, and while Jess certainly picked the spots that would give him the trophy he adores so very much, it's pretty clear at this point that it was not in the best interest of the horse. You can love Rachel and realize that what happened to her damaged her. That doesn't mean you love her any less. But be realistic about it.

Jason:

"What are you so worked up for Kay? All I did was put a link up."

That's all I did, too...

I can't WAIT to see Lord Beyer on Saturday!!!

29 Sep 2010 11:07 PM
Mike Relva

OCEAN PALMER

You're on point. Was never happy when Jackson purchased her and Asmussen attempted to train her. It's only the horse I've felt sympathy for.

29 Sep 2010 11:17 PM
Greg J.

All I have to say regarding Rachel, I hope she enjoys her well earned retirement! Being at Saratoga last year to see her win the Woodward was the most thrilling race I have ever seen, and one I will never forget.

Jason,

Glad you had a good time in Vegas, and that you didn't lose your shirt!  Care to mention who you put a future on for the Derby?Also, very cruel(but clever) of you to post that link, lol.  You have just over a month to enjoy it.

29 Sep 2010 11:37 PM
Freetex

I think Rachel deserves a year off at just being a horse and not off to the breeding shed.

I think Rachel is one of the greats.

I think it will take a while to deal with this news

30 Sep 2010 12:23 AM
John

Yes I read Mr. Beyer's comments on Zenyatta.

He mentioned that racing fans in the future will likely not include Zenyatta on an all-time greatest list.

But as for now, today's fans have already spoken. Polls from both Bloodhorse and the Daily Racing Form have overwhelmingly made Zenyatta as the greatest American female racehorse in the last fifty years.

And horseracing polls don't change. People have always ranked the greatest as the greatest such as Secretariat, Man O'War and Citation. They always had, always will.

It will be the same with Zenyatta.

30 Sep 2010 12:44 AM
Rechelle

I have wondered after Rachel gave so much of herself in the Woodward if she came out of the race injured. Jackson wouldn't have to tell fans anything, if it wasn't an injury requiring surgery who would know? That is the only thing I can think of for why she was laid up for 5 months with no works. The way she came back and how off form she was would also be explained by that. Considering that she was NOT being trained like a horse about to be retired but a horse expected to win Saturday, it makes me wonder if she came out of her work Monday injured. Again, Jackson wouldn't have to tell anyone if it wasn't something requiring surgery.  The timing of this retirement makes no sense if she is sound.  Why not let her run Saturday at least if she's not hurt?  Her works leading up to the race were fantastic, better than they were 6 months ago, particularly the one from Monday.  So she wouldn't be running in the Classic? Big deal, she could've gone into the Ladies Classic.  The BC is at a track that she loves and her jockey is that track's leading jockey, so she had a good chance of winning the Ladies Classic. The distance was right, the jockey was right, the track was right and the competition would've been light as long as Zenyatta continues to aim for the Classic.  Nothing about the TIMING of this retirement makes sense. She can't be bred until February at the earliest, and it's just over a month until the Breeders Cup. I think Jackson needs to man up and tell fans WHY he retired her now and not in November or December.

30 Sep 2010 12:45 AM
jayjay

Robin : How can you even think Rachel is a threat to Zenyatta when Jackson was the one that ducked her this year ?  Do you not remember the Apple Blossom ??

I don't know why you're so angry at Zenyatta fans about Rachel retiring, I'm one of the ones that was calling for her to retire earlier in the year because IMO, she doesn't want to run anymore.  I think JJ just realized that right now, who knows.  Rachel was never a threat to Zenyatta, stop blaming Zen and her fans because your favorite horse retired.  RA has earned that retirement a long time ago, she didn't have to prove anything to Jackson anymore, he was the only one that was requiring justification from Rachel after winning the HOTY.  Her true loyal fans loves her regardless of how she ran this year.  You're one of those angry RA fans.  You should just be happy she's retiring healthy, stop taking out your frustration at Zen and point it towards her owner.  He deserves it more than Zen and her fans.

KAY : Your link provides more insight on what Andy knows lol. GOOD JOB posting that!

By the way, you got any tips on where to hang out at HP so I can get up close to the Queen ??  I'm going to try and get a question to Andy on Saturday about exactly what he said last year before the BCC.  It'd be fun to see what his response would be lol.  I'm starting to think that other than Blame, last year's BCC had a tougher field than this year.

30 Sep 2010 5:15 AM
sodapopkid

Jason and everyone,  Here is link that gives full support that RA is retiring healthy and sound.

check it out!

www.timesunion.com/.../Retired-Rachel-healthy-happy-680650.php

30 Sep 2010 7:30 AM
Tiznowbaby

Poor Ginger Punch, no longer considered a top class race horse by Beyer.

30 Sep 2010 7:56 AM
Don in Massachusetts

Jimmy,

I agree totally with you.

Let's hope Rachel Alexandra has a long, healthy, and happy life!

But I will definitely miss seeing her on the track again, for the fifth time!  I consider myself very blessed!

God bless Rachel Alexandra and Real Quiet!

30 Sep 2010 8:25 AM
markinsac

Meydan, Andy Beyer tries to make assumptions based on handicapping methods that just don't add up!  One thing he continuasly "throws out" is a horse that is 13 for 13 or 18 for 18.  In all his bit of handicapping, it's like those numbers aren't a factor! He will not admit that synthetic horses adapt to the dirt very well.  And Zenyatta has won by the biggest margins on the dirt!  Last year he said, Zenyatta being the 5-2 favorite was an atrocity.  This year, he is saying the same.  Only he will never admit he was wrong about last year, he doesn't even mention that.  Andy's great, great, great grandfather was a handicapper in Hungary a couple of centuries ago.  His biggest goof was picking against Kinscem.  The quote in the Budapest Bulletin reads:  "Kinscem has won 52 races in a row, so what.  Her speed figures are down.  She has no chance in the Hungary Handicap!"  Mr. Beyer and grandpa Beyer are so alike.

30 Sep 2010 8:29 AM
Zookeeper

Belmont has a great bunch of races on Saturday. What is Mr. Beyer doing at Hollywood Park, watching a "slow synthetic specialist" running against "inferior horses", on a "fake track"? That's the question I will ask this man when I see him on Saturday... after the fans are done booing him. lol!

30 Sep 2010 9:38 AM
Slew

Easygoer: your 12:47 post echoed my sentiments. Thank you.  It's not la-la-la in the meadow.  It's a tough grind in the breeding shed.

30 Sep 2010 9:47 AM
Jason Shandler

Greg: Believe it or not, no future bets for me. I didnt realize Wynn was the only place you could bet them this early. I never made it back there after Saturday morning. I would have bet Smash and Frankel as my top 2.

30 Sep 2010 10:01 AM
KathyP

I agree that Rachel was mismanaged this year, but there was no way she was ever going to top her 3-year old season anyway. Sometimes fillies just don't want to run anymore - witness Lady's Secret and her bizarre last few races. Better RA's camp err on the side of caution, then have something go terribly wrong in her next race. I just hope she has a healthy and sucessful life as a broodmare - it is just as strenuous a career as racing, and possibly more dangerous. But I will look forward to seeing her children race, especially the fillies, and will never forget the thrill of watching Rachel run!  

30 Sep 2010 10:11 AM
Mike Relva

RANAGULZION

So Run RA in the S.F. when at that time she was 0-2? Don't think so.

30 Sep 2010 10:15 AM
Mike Relva

It's interesting that Beyer can't admit how wrong he was last Nov. lol Last time I checked he hasn't trained a horse. There are many writers' and HOY trainers that are of the opinion that Zenyatta is a once in a lifetime racehorse and most likely could care less what Beyer thinks.

30 Sep 2010 10:18 AM
Mike Relva

PAULA

Was angry after reading Beyer's article and rest assured if Zenyatta wins the Classic again he will find a spin to excuse her victory. I agree with you,he has an axe to grind. Obviously he doesn't remember or want to remember lol his little world falling down after her win last Nov. He isn't the end all by any means.

30 Sep 2010 10:30 AM
sodapopkid

I wonder why Mr. Andy Beyer doesnt have a blog going so everyone can reply to it?   I guess he knows whats coming...

He only writes columns that I have seen. I cant lay him out in column. He needs a blog.. So we all can give him some nice choice words.

30 Sep 2010 10:40 AM
AngelaFromAbilene

"It might be time for the thoroughbred industry to catch up with science and start  using AI and embryo transfers so some of the great bloodlines can be saved."

-quarterhossgal 29 Sep 2010 2:29 PM

That is absolutely the LAST thing the JC needs to do!  The AQHA, by allowing AI & ET's have done NOTHING but cheapen and dilute the breed and produce horses for the slaughter house.  How many ET foals have reached their genetic potential?  If you follow AQHA sales and racing, you will see precious few!  If a mare cannot stand up to the rigors of NATURAL breeding, gestation and foaling...she has no business reproducing herself.  The day the JC becomes more interested in making money than they are preserving the integrity of the breed is the day I'll turn in my license.

30 Sep 2010 10:47 AM
TXLonghornFan74

It's very difficult for horses to maintain form over an extended period of time. Somewhere along the way, Rachel Alexandra lost the ability to open up coming off the turn, and in doing so became a more vulnerable racehorse. The fact that this was demonstrated in lesser races than one would expect a filly of her class to compete, only shows her connections knew she wasn't the same horse.

It's absurd to think she would have won the Foster. Blame is a very, very good racehorse.  That's just a silly argument.

Also, let's not lose track of reality. It's really cool that Rachel Alexandra hung on to beat Macho Again and Bullsbay in the 2009 Woodward, but Twilight Tear beat Devil Diver in the 1944 Pimlico Special. The next year, Busher beat Armed in the Washington Park Handicap.  Devil Diver and Armed were FAR BETTER horses than Rachel Alexandra ever faced.  While neither of these fillies was given the opportunity to run in a Triple Crown race, they were both considered far superior to their male counterparts in their sophomore seasons, and Twilight Tear beat Derby-Preakness winner, Pensive, in the Arlington Classic.  It's very difficult to compare horses of different eras, but to claim Rachel Alexandra did things no other horse ever accomplished is just off-base.

Also, let's not forget the great three-year-old fillies from Europe who trounced males...some with regularity. I will name just a handful here...Miesque, Zarkava, Goldikova, Dahlia...

Mating Rachel Alexandra with Curlin...or Smart Strike, AP Indy, Unbridled's Song, Distorted Humor for that matter...does NOT guarantee the second coming of Man o' War or Secretariat.

It's a shame Rachel Alexandra has been retired. It's quite obvious Mr. Jackson doesn't believe she can beat the likes of Zenyatta, Blame or Quality Road. Anything less would be a failure in his eyes, so he's taking her home.  While that is dissapointing and I think the guy is a self-obsessed nit-wit, I'm not sure it's not best.  Do we really want another post-loss Jess Jackson press release?

30 Sep 2010 11:27 AM
Householder

Even Beyer is in town to see Zenyatta.  Now that's classic.  Well with RA now in retirement I guess we can now all agree on who the best, most accomplished, filly/mare still in training, of North America is.  Who has the most graded stakes wins?  Who has beaten the most Eclipse award winners?  Who has the most consecutive wins?  Who brings the track to a standstill?  Who brings Bob Baffert to the paddock when he doesn't have a horse entered?  I hope Beyer gets a good up close look at who's been beating up on his "system."  That's who.  Sit back and learn a little Beyer...and I hope you plan to eat your Pioneer of the Nile crow as well.

30 Sep 2010 11:55 AM
Gina Powell

I agree with your comments especially regarding the trainer decision. She should have been kept with Hal Wiggins. I think their worse decision was running her against the boys in the Haskell. I think it did her in. She just wasn't the same after that. However, they have retired her and they need to be commended for that.

30 Sep 2010 12:08 PM
sodapopkid

People keep saying how hard it is on a filly to stay in form the following year. This is true, It is done,  look at Zenyatta, Goldikova for examples,   Explain their cases.. They have managed to take on world class males and grade 1 fillies and mares, they continue doing what so many cant do.  I guess its all in the horse and management.  Good management = Good race horse.  Well, if you want it to run more than one year.

I wonder if Goldikova will retire this year, or is she going for another year?

30 Sep 2010 12:15 PM
michael

Anybody that doesn't consider Zenyatta as one of the greatest race horses of all time (male or female) seriously needs their head examined. It boggles my mind to still read people's comments and how they try to discredit what the big mare has done?? As a west coaster and Z fan, I still can recognize that RA was a great 3 year old filly and did some remarkable things on the track. But Big Z is a once in a lifetime horse. I know that in my lifetime, I will never see one quite like her. I just thank my lucky stars to have been able to witness her in person and I hope to watch her go 20 for 20 and retire undefeated.

30 Sep 2010 12:18 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Paula Higgins

   Keep your eye peeled on Andy Beyer's right hand. He's got a sneaky uppercut sucker punch, and he doesn't mind using it on girls either !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

30 Sep 2010 12:40 PM
Mike Relva

SODAPOPKID

I agree. Difficult to take Beyer serious when he was totally wrong last yr. regarding Zenyatta. Guess him admitting that would be too much for his fragile ego to handle. lol

30 Sep 2010 12:41 PM
TXLonghornFan74

Personal Ensign never had a great foal?  My Flag won the BC Juvenile Fillies, Coaching Club American Oaks, Ashland & Gazelle. Then, she produced Storm Flag Flying.  Personal Ensign also produced Miner's Mark (Jockey Club Gold Cup - Gr I) and Traditionally, (Oaklawn Handicap - Gr I).

Just an oversite, I'm sure, but a big one.

30 Sep 2010 12:56 PM
WWSTP

I think there is a lot we will never now for sure.  I think speculation runs rampant and offers only vargaries.  I KNOW Rachel Alexandra showed us her greatness on the track as a 3 yr. old, and also the living breathing realities of what can happen when they turn 4.  I KNOW I am grateful for the awe, exhilaration, and excitement she gave me as she reached further with each race, as a 3 yr. old, and proved that she could face challenge after challenge after challenge.  I KNOW she was a total inspiration for me.

I wish her well.  I hope she relishes the paddock and pasture life, and I hope, somewhere, she feels the huge array of positive and loving feelings directed toward her for all she left on the track as well as the spactacular experiences she gave to us and this sport.  Thank you Rachel Alexandra!!

30 Sep 2010 1:12 PM
Kay

Zookeeper:

“Belmont has a great bunch of races on Saturday. What is Mr. Beyer doing at Hollywood Park, watching a "slow synthetic specialist" running against "inferior horses", on a "fake track"? That's the question I will ask this man when I see him on Saturday... after the fans are done booing him. lol!”

I was confused about that, too. It’s not like he would have a good time. He’ll constantly be going, “WHY WON’T THEY GO FASTER? THIS IS FREAKING ME OUT!” Why isn’t he seeing his Beyer darlings at Belmont? Three days after he decides to write negatively about Zenyatta and he’s going to be in her house? Doesn’t make sense. What will probably fluster him the most is the brawl that will take place when all of us try to get close enough to yell at him. You, me, Paula, everybody else I will tell…. It should be awesome.

I also love how he says that she’s a fast horse, but according to his own system, she isn’t. So why would he even say that?

Jayjay:

Zenyatta comes in at the far end of the paddock and although they take her inside to saddle her, the paddock is a much better spot to see her. Go to the far end, not the end closest to the tote board. That’s where they’ve been walking her around. The horses don’t necessarily stay near their assigned numbers.

Jason:

Hey, where is Smash? Do you know? I loved his maiden win.

30 Sep 2010 1:15 PM
Keith Kohnhorst

JJ and Steve retired Rachel, even after her excellent workout, because they're good handicappers and saw that the Beldame came up tough what with three quality speed horses in Unrivaled Belle, Life at Ten and Bonnie Blue Flag. They didn't want Rachel's legacy to take another hit.

30 Sep 2010 1:34 PM
Mike Relva

THE BID

If you can't see that RA is a once in a lifetime racehorse that had a three year old career that won't be equaled for a long time then your missing something.

30 Sep 2010 2:10 PM
Mike Relva

MICHAEL

Great and valid points.

30 Sep 2010 2:14 PM
Zookeeper

Kay,

If I get the chance, I will RESPECTFULLY ask him the question I posted earlier. Mr. Beyer is either very brave or very naive to think that, after writing what he has, he can come to HP and expect a warm and fuzzy welcome. With that said, I hope people restrain themselves as to not reinforce the reputation we have (for some) of being rabid  West Coast lunatics. :)

30 Sep 2010 2:57 PM
Householder

I a little disapointed that Beyer won't get to see Blind Luck in her barn at Hollywood Park for the whole "synthetic to dirt" angle.  She's 5-5 outside of the Golden State and continues to rack up the frequent flyer miles.  I'm a little worried that she has to spot Hava De G 10 pounds Saturday.  Blind Luck is a just a little bitty thing.

30 Sep 2010 7:27 PM
Giddyup

If you think there is no fun in racing now Jason just imagine what it will be like next year without Zenyatta to kick around.

30 Sep 2010 9:22 PM
Wish For More

I hope the next HOY is owned by someone who takes the fans to heart and not a owner that thinks he is a trainer. I WAS THERE FOR THE Personal Ensgin, Rachel left the track with her head down in defeat, she was done. She is a perfect example of mismaneged training and ownership.

30 Sep 2010 10:22 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

  Isn't it strange that there hasn't been even one decent horse since California switched to synthetics, and isn't it strange that the horses get the blame rather than the California Horse Racing Board? The only thing Zenyatta ever said to me was, "Darn, synthetics, they're going to synthetics, oh well I'll just make the best of it. That's a shame. I can run like the wind on dirt."

30 Sep 2010 11:29 PM
Bob

I am just wondering.  If Zenyatta wins the BC Classic are people going to finally shut-up about RA and just admit Zenyatta is the greatest mare of all time and to even mention RA in the same sentence is an insult to Zenyatta?

I mean, look who she lost to this year.  One season, unless you are Secretariat, does not make you a legend.

She didn't even compete in the Breeder's Cup!!!  That alone says a lot.  Don't give me the synthetic argument because she won on it at Keeneland.

It's too bad RA was sold.  Who knows what might have been.

01 Oct 2010 1:27 AM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

"Isn't it strange that there hasn't been even one decent horse since California switched to synthetics" What? I hope that was sarcasm... or are you trying to light my fuse?  :)

01 Oct 2010 2:29 AM
joe schmoe

Chris,

I stand by my earlier comment that you can skew facts to make your case look stronger than it is to the uninformed. If 8-10 Fillies had contested the Preakness EVERY year in the past 85 years and she was the only one to win that would be a big deal. Since only a couple have attempted in that time it's not such a big thing. That FACT on top of the fact she beat nothing that day makes it not so big of a deal in my world "pal".

01 Oct 2010 8:16 AM
Dianein Maine

I wrote at the beginning of 2010 campaign that I thought Wiggins would have been the better trainer for her.  I admire Jackson for going for a 4 year old run, but they mismanaghandled her. Sometimes Jackson's ego seems to get in the way. I certainly agree that the Woodward may have "fried" her. Z is a great horse, but RA deserved her Horse of the Year because she ran against the boys three times.  I wish Jackson had gone to Calif., but maybe there were other factors.  Let us  celebrate a great filly.  I am sure going to miss her.  I'll think of her in green pastures under golden sunshine having a good run of her own choosing.

01 Oct 2010 11:23 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

  I don't remember ever trying to light your fuse. That was sarcasm !!!! The link, low speed figures, people not liking horses when they run too much on synthetics etc. etc. etc. Not understanding their greatness when most of their races are on synthetic. You should know me better than that !!!!!

01 Oct 2010 1:01 PM
dianne

We will never in our lifetime see another horse or filly have the times, slop, 5 tracks, males, 13th preakness slot, Haskell, Woodward etc. records. That Rachel had.

When Zenyatta runs in the slop in Ky against the males, call me.

In fact if she ever runs on a damp track call me!  Not even Big Brown juiced could have beaten her at her best. Curlin was beaten by AP Indy daughter, I say forget Curlin, Beg, APIndy for a date!

01 Oct 2010 1:58 PM
Kay

dianne:

"We will never in our lifetime see another horse or filly have the times, slop, 5 tracks, males, 13th preakness slot, Haskell, Woodward etc. records. That Rachel had.

When Zenyatta runs in the slop in Ky against the males, call me."

When Rachel beats males at 10F, call me. Oh wait... that will never happen.

I wasn't aware of the fact that in order to be considered great, a mare had to beat males at 10F on a sloppy track. Interesting yardstick you've made up there. Especially since it makes so many fillies and mares not great. For the millionth time (not that you people pay any attention to the facts), Zenyatta scratched from the Louisville race because the track was SEALED, and because it was her first start of the year. Why don't you call up some of those East Coast trainers and ask them how they feel about a sealed racetrack? Start with Nick Zito, and get your earplugs ready.

It's a shame you can't appreciate Zenyatta, but it's really your loss at this point. What a bizarre racing fan you seem to be...

01 Oct 2010 5:00 PM
ElPrado

One mare you are completely ignoring, and you shouldn't, is Dance Smartly.

Rachel was not the greatest filly ever. DS won a colt triple crown, then came down and stole the Distaff back away to Canada.

01 Oct 2010 6:01 PM
Mike Relva

DIANNE

Kay is correct,you don't have to run on a wet track to be great. Get a grip!

01 Oct 2010 6:54 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

I DO know you better than that, that's why I went to sarcasm first. Then, it occured to me that you might be teasing me... that's when the fuse came into the picture.  :)  

01 Oct 2010 7:05 PM
Kelly in Chicago

Why must every display of excellence by animal or human these days necessarily provoke such vehement naysaying? What if we were never again allowed to marvel at Secretariat's 31-length Belmont victory without having to hear someone point out that the rest of the field ran the race in 2:30 1/5 or slower? Let's be tolerant enough to allow others to get as excited as they want about Rachel Alexandra or Zenyatta (both of whom have impressive resumes), whether or not you agree with just how impressed others are. This sport is too fraught with "downs" to get angry whenever you feel someone else is too excited about one of the "ups." It's inarguable that both Zenyatta and RA are rarities and deserving of our appreciation. Let's all attempt to show some of the class that these two fillies have always shown.

01 Oct 2010 8:28 PM
Footlick

I agree ElPrado.  Her 3 yr old year was stellar.

01 Oct 2010 8:54 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeper

  Have a great time tomorrow. Let me know what you think of Jaycito, who now has Mike Smith on him. Big day, Twirling Candy, Zenyatta, bloggers. Wow!!! I knew you knew that I knew what you knew. Or something like that. Be safe.

01 Oct 2010 11:52 PM
jayjay

Kelly : I don't get it either, there are RA fans on this blog that can't seem to stop themselves from blaming Zenyatta for anything that happens to Rachel.  They don't talk about her owner but they can blog forever bashing Zenyatta.  

02 Oct 2010 1:15 AM
jayjay

dianne : When you find a race where RA ran against males in slop in Kentucky, post it here.

Also, when you find a horse that comes from dead last EVERYTIME, regardless of pace and runs mostly in G1s and WINs everytime, call me.  I think it's just impossible for any horse to do that.  Let me know. :)

02 Oct 2010 1:25 AM
Racingfan

I am sad that Rachel is retired and surprised at the timing like everyone else.  But I am also quite surprised that so many are condemning the choice to run in the Woodward.  I specifically remember a number of posters complaining that they took the "easy" route by choosing that race instead of the Travers. Nobody was hollering for them to put her in a filly race.   It appeared that nobody (probably her connections most of all)expected that race to be so hard on her. Especially since it was being billed by many as "ducking" the Travers competition. But it seems that with the fans it was a no win for them.  I don't think it's fair to second guess everything they've done. Mistakes may have been made but hindsight is 20-20 for all of us. She was a great horse and I really enjoyed watching her. I will miss her!

02 Oct 2010 1:31 AM
Meydan Rocks

markinsac,

Fascinating. I had no idea that Beyer come from a long line of handicappers. Thanks for that story.

Shines a light that I hadn't seen before.

02 Oct 2010 4:38 AM
RHO

I am a zenyatta and rachel fan I have followed the girls for a long time,and I must say I think they got it right when they picked the 2009 HORSE OF THE YEAR.I have respect for the Moss family but I would have a lot more respect for them if they left california more then once a year! Rachel had the most exciting career, and thats why I think she is the better of the two!!!!!!!!

03 Oct 2010 12:58 AM
ZenyattaLUVER

I have never liked Rachel, never will. Thats just me. I think her retirement WAS horribly unneeded! She had a  good workout, so they retire her? I am confused on WHY they did, but we will probably NEVER KNOW!!

03 Oct 2010 9:37 AM
Mike Relva

ZENYATTALUVER

That's the difference bet I love Zenyatta as much as you,but can appreciate what a truly great racehorse RA is.

03 Oct 2010 5:51 PM
Saratoga AJ

I thought originally her retirement was pre-mature in view of the fact that the Monday a few days earlier she realed off a great workout at Saratoga's training track, (5F, 48:4, fastest of 50 that day).

After the Beldame, which Asmussen was training her for, I'm POSITIVE it was premature. She would have romped.

Think about it. In the Personal Ensign on 8/29, she gave weight to Life At Ten and absolutely buried her by 10 lengths. Then Life at Ten wins the Beldame easily. And let's not forget they would have raced at equal weights in the Beldame. And the fact that Rachel loves Belmont and it's one big sweeping turn 9 Furlong course. After all, she almost broke Secretariats track record in the Mother Goose, and that was with Borel easing her up the 1/16 of a mile.

Jackson should have let her go out a winner, if not at the BC, at least in last Saturday's Beldame. I hear Asmussen was not a happy camper with the decision.

05 Oct 2010 2:15 PM
ZenFan

I love all the comments from the arm chair quaterbacks... excuse me owners/trainers.  RA was last year's HOY and she deserved it.  Zenyatta will be this year's HOY even if she loses the Classic.  Each mare has accomplished something outstanding and what is that point of trashing them, their owners and trainers?

07 Oct 2010 6:24 PM
Linda/Maryland

I am very dissapointed with her retirement and that she was totally mismanaged this year.

My only hope is that she is healthy and is able to be happy in her retirment. They certainly did not make her 2010 year happy for her at all.

I am through with J Jackson and any horse he "Purchases Race trained, just purely because he has the money." He doesn't deserve a horse like Rachel.

09 Oct 2010 10:44 AM
Nancy

Hey Joe - how about the only horse to win the Preakness from the 13th hole in 138 years? The fact that it's a filly that did it is even more impressive. Too bad your blinders prevent you from recognizing a historical feat.

15 Oct 2010 11:14 PM

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