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Sunday, June 28, 2009

No Paddock Show for Rachel Fans

NYRA got its extra 5-6,000 fans out to see Rachel least according to NYRA, which announced Saturday's crowd as being 13,352. That figure certainly did not manifest itself in the backyard in terms of any significant extra crowding or lines. But hey, this is one count not worth getting beat up or shot over.

I guess maybe they were all hiding until the Mother Goose, as the paddock was pretty much filled, if hardly packed, before the race. And here is where I have a major bone to pick. All week, NYRA pleaded with us to please come see Rachel Alexandra, could she be the one, pink bracelets, free admission for women, blah blah blah. But, with the purported big crowd waiting on the grandstand side to see her and her celebrity jockey parade triumphantly around the walking ring, she was walked once around by her handlers, and then, after Borel got aboard on the clubhouse side, headed straight into the track, skipping the ceremonial loop around. A smattering of boos resulted, and I can hardly blame them; that was really weak. And an excellent way to shatter any good will amongst any new fans that might have been on hand.


Anonymous said...

Did Rachel take another trip onSaturday ?

Anonymous said...

Love the blog but I think it's kind of weak that you're more concerned with the "ceremonial loop around" than RA's performance on Saturday. Does anyone really doubt that RA is lengths better than Zenyatta on a fast dirt track ?

Anonymous said...

Zenyatta would beat her.

G. C. said...

This report of booing in the paddock is a total and complete fabrication. If anybody booed it was you and only you and you should report it as such.

Alan Mann said...

>>This report of booing in the paddock is a total and complete fabrication. If anybody booed it was you and only you and you should report it as such.

I wrote that there was a "smattering of boos" and I totally stand by that report. Don't be coming on here to take my words completely out of context and call me a liar unless you know what the fuck you're talking about, g. The Head Chef is my witness (she's very objective). I'd also add that there was an audible groan from those around me who were looking forward to seeing the filly and Calvin strut their stuff. So go back to your fucking fantasy land, Mr. I Know Who All the Regulars Are.

G. C. said...

Stomping your feet and cursing does not change that fact that this post is a fabrication. The pics of her taking a lap in the paddock walking ring are widely available as proof of your fabrication. If pics are not enough there is even video too.

Alan Mann said...

>>Stomping your feet and cursing does not change that fact that this post is a fabrication.

OK, let's have a little lesson in English OK? I wrote: "..she was walked once around by her handlers, and then, after Borel got aboard on the clubhouse side, headed straight into the track, skipping the ceremonial loop around." That video is of her being walked around by her handlers. Once Borel got on board, they went straight in, depriving the folks on the grandstand side of seeing her decked out with her jock. That's what I wrote, that's what happened. I mean, don't you bother to read before you criticize? Maybe you think it's not a big deal....I thought it was, and so did the people around me. What's a fabrication is your bullshit about the women in the crowd magically transforming Belmont into some kind of gentler, kinder place. I was there, it was a normal crowd that seemed slightly bigger than usual.....I would have guessed 10,000, but what do I know....I don't profess to know all the regulars.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I was also very disappointed that she was not walked around. When Big Brown came to Monmouth last year, he was walked around several times, so everyone who came to see him had a chance. I was lucky enough to be on the clubhouse side so I got to see Borel on her before she was walked away. Anyone who thinks this is a "fabrication" either was not there or doesn't know how to count. I drove 2 hours to see R.A. and I did leave disappointed that I didn't get to see more of her.

Anonymous said...

Whoa Power Cap, to be so certain of yourself you must be some sort of magical omnipresent being. Or just an asshole?

Nate said...

Whoa...some nasty commentary here. Alan, I for one appreciate the report as someone who lives a long, long way from Belmont and couldn't attend myself. It is kind of bogus that they would snub the fans in that way, but I guess there is nothing anyone can do about it.

I have followed your blog off and on for a long time, and I have never known you to let *too much* bias come through in your post. I just see the normal amount that anyone would inevitably have. I for one am I huge fan of Rachel, and I do believe she is a type of horse we haven't seen in a while. She's brilliantly fast, and she proves it time and again.

The Belmont track was undoubtely souped up on Saturday. Some mediocre horses were posting stakes-horse times. However, this is not unheard of at Belmont, and breaking the stakes record in the mother goose is impressive no matter the circumstances. It was clear in the final 1/16 she was not being asked at all, and I believe she could have boken 1:46 if all-out. That is something special, regardless of the track conditions.

She also came very close to the stakes record for the oaks and has run faster than her male counterparts nearly every time they have taken to the track on the same weekend. The lone exception I can remember is FF running just a little faster than her in the LA Derby than she did in the FG Oaks, but Calvin literally stood up in irons during the final 1/16 of that race.

As a young racing fan, I am just so excited to see this horse and a marvellous mare like Zenyatta running at the same time. I only hope that the stars align and we are able to see them face off. There is no doubt that to date, they are the two most dominant horses in the country this year. I also love Medaglia D'Oro...he is one of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen, and it is great to see his first crop turn out to be such a success.

I just wish that these types of situations (ie. Rachel v. Zenyatta) didn't bring out the worst in people. It is perfectly legitimate to criticize a horse's connections the way that you did, Alan, if you believed that they should have acted differently. But that is where the criticism should stay, with the connections, and I appreciate that you keep your criticism pointed in the right direction. I see so many people bashing Zeyatta or bashing Rachel nowadays on forums and blogs that it makes me sick. These two fillies have done NOTHING wrong. They both are flawless this year. They are incredible. I feel truly sorry for anyone who calls themselves a racing fan who does not appreciate both of these magnificent animals. I feel like this is what I have been waiting for years to see.

I know this is very long-winded, and if it goes unread I don't mind at all. But I just want to say thank you for the continued covarage and for putting so much work into this site so that fans like me can enjoy it. And I just want to encourage you to not debase yourself by responding in-kind to these mean-spirited posts. I know it is difficult, but you are better than that. There will always be trolls, and rational people will recognize them as such. Don't let them get to you or bring you down to their level.

Keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

Alan, I was there also, travelling four hours to see Rachel Alexandra. And you are correct in your reporting. Fortunately, I had stationed myself on the clubhouse side of the paddock, and got to see Rachel and Calvin once, before they entered the Belmont tunnel. I wish they would have walked around once more as I only got 5 or 6 photos of her.
I did not hear any booing from where I stood.

Thanks for the post.