Some random thoughts after Rachel Alexandra's powerful and historic win in Saturday's Woodward at Saratoga.
- Rachel's final Beyer figure of 109 was probably the only negative of her performance, if you can call it that. It takes nothing away from her effort but you almost might have expected a little faster number. (Thanks to DRF for the Beyer).
- Credit to owner Jess Jackson for not being afraid of any big competition and running Rachel against some of the best handicap horses in the country. Most owners would have taken the safe route and entered her against her own gender but the Woodward gave the 31,000 fans on track plus countless others a trackside seat to history.
- Jockey Calvin Borel, who is one of the nicest guys in racing, didn't give Rachel the best ride by any means. Getting into a speed duel was not optimal against a field of older boys but she was gutsy enough to turn back every challenge. And as jockey Robby Albarado told me after the race, that's what makes a champion. Could not have said it any better myself.
- The scene yesterday at Saratoga was incredible. A lot of the fans that were in attendance came out specifically to see Rachel run. There is rarely anticipation to see any one horse so to walk in the crowd and feel "the buzz" was a nice change of pace.
- We should not forget about the tremendous job Rachel's former trainer Hal Wiggins did. Wiggins trained the superfilly up until early May when Jackson purchased her for a reported $5 million (but that number was never officially disclosed.) Wiggins sent Rachel postward for the most impressive and decisive Kentucky Oaks victory ever.
- Speaking of $5 million, Rachel could well have been the biggest multi-million bargain in history. Even if she never runs again, you have to figure she's worth at least $10 million.
- Let's hope Jackson is a man of his word and does bring her back to the races next year. If she runs again this year, it's likely only one more time but racing would a well needed "shot in the arm" if she runs in 2010. He did bring his star of 2007-08, Curlin, back as a 4-year-old and was rewarded with another banner year.