It was made known today by majority owner Jess Jackson that leading contender for Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra, would not race again this year, but would race again in 2010. This comes as no surprise to many, seeing as how Rachel Alexandra has been out of training since her gut-wrenching score in the Woodward. It also comes as no surprise the she will race in 2010, since Jackson had already announced that earlier in the year. With all this in mind, here are some things I hope that Rachel Alexandra will do upon her return in 2010.
First off, I hope she tries the 10-furlong distance that everyone has been dying to see her run at. Many of Rachel's detractors will tell you the reason why she cannot be considered great is because she has not run at a "classic distance." That is not all together true, since she won the American Classic, the Preakness, at nine and a half furlongs against the Derby winner Mine That Bird. When this is pointed out the detractors will rephrase their original comment to "she has not won at 10 furlongs." Many don't even think she can get the distance due to the fact that Mine That Bird was so close to beating her in the Preakness, even though in a 1o furlong race, Rachel will likely be rating off the pace before making her move, unlike the Preakness where she was rushed to the lead and had to take all the heat from Big Drama early. I hope that in 2010 Rachel gets a chance to show her detractors how wrong they are.
The second thing I hope she does next year is try her luck on turf. Rachel Alexandra runs with a daisy cutter motion, which normally does well over turf courses. Turf is also kinder on horses early, so in longer races Rachel would be able to sit off or set a moderate pace, then run her opponents off their feet in the stretch. While Rachel likes to be on or near the lead, she also has an explosive kick when asked. This also bodes well for her, since turf racing is all about who finishes the quickest. A rule of thumb on turf is to wait, wait, wait, count to three, and then run. Being able to run on turf would only add to her legacy, and if she did well enough on turf, Jess Jackson could even entertain the idea of running her in the Arc, like he did with Curlin only last year.
If all things go right and Rachel is able to run the 1o furlongs and run on grass as effectively as she runs on dirt, I hope Rachel will top her year off with a go at the Breeders Cup Classic. Say she does well on turf, say she wins some of the most prestigious races on both turf and dirt and has a perfect year. How great would it be if Rachel was able to return to her home base and favorite track to take a crack at the boys and try to become the first female to ever win the Classic? If she did win she would have to easily be the very best female of all time, not only by accomplishment, but for any horse to do this they would have to have an immense amount of talent. Not only would she be one of the greatest fillies of all time, she would be worthy for mentioning in the same breath as Man o War, Secretariat, Spectacular Bid, and Citation.
I know the chances of all of this happening are about a zillion to one, but who says Rachel is not that one? Racing has been dying for a hero, and this filly has shown this year that she has the potential to do astronomical things. So who says that she can't get 10 furlongs? Who says she won't handle turf? Who says she can't win the Classic? She is a filly for the ages, so who says I can't dream? They may just come true.