I got a little beat up over comparing the fractions of the Woodward to the Haskell on the grounds that Monmouth is a faster track, and that's a fair point. Still, while we can quibble over a few tenths of a second, the Haskell was fast too; so was the Mother Goose for that matter - six furlongs in 1:09.29 is still quick, down a straightaway or not. So my point remains that she ran basically the same race in the Woodward as she has in her four races for Asmussen...and really, if you look at her pp's, all year long too if not quite as fast early on in the year.
Now, Team Rachel is hinting that Rachel Alexandra seemed tired before the race, and that her training regimen was interrupted by the bad weather. A reader reminded me that she threw Borel during the warm-up, (though reader o_crunk says she was just getting sick of his hotdogging).
But who knows if Macho Again really would have gotten by had the race been a bit longer. Sure looked that way, and that seems to be the common wisdom, especially now in light of the excuses we're hearing from the winning team. But you never know, and can't really make assumptions. Maybe Borel was thinking about how he was going to celebrate and took his foot off the pedal in those last couple of strides when the colt really seemed to surge. I dunno, given the determination that the winner showed, I think she would have taken a piece of his left ear off before she let him pass.
- I think I was pretty good with my over/under of 30,000 for the crowd, though a couple of thousand or so short with my actual crowd pick. I think NYRA did pretty well to draw some 9,000 more than last year; and it's remarkable how easily they handle a crowd of that size there. It was a bit strained at 39,000 on Whitney day, but the lower 30's are a cinch. They announced over 50,000 on the Spinner Sunday, which we know is malarkey. But I thought they had at least as many actual bodies in the house as they did on Saturday.
- Johnny V took the shorter route home on Pyro; that's the long and short of the Forego. I had runner-up Kodiak Kowboy, who took the overland route with Gabriel Saez, to start off pick three's and four's, and I'm really sick of losing to Sheikh horses. Pyro got a Beyer of 103.
Saranac winner Al Khali is the 4th graded stakes winner of the year (from eight overall) for Medaglia D'Oro. Easily the top second-year sire by earnings, he's 4th on the general list behind Giant's Causeway, Tiznow, and Distorted Humor. I loved Al Khali in this race, but fell a nose short of nailing a $48 double when 7-1 Chorus Music got nailed at the wire by Ketubah in the preceding race....that one hurt.
Dublin is the first stakes winner for rookie sire Afleet Alex; it had been a quiet year for the Preakness/Belmont winner with just seven winners, and a couple of minor stakes placings, from 35 runners to date. They pretty much walked home in the Hopeful; it took the winner 40.13 seconds to get home, final furlong 13.44, ugh. Dublin is out of the Grade 1 winner Classy Mirage, who is, in turn, a half sister to the Grade 1 winner Missy's Mirage.
- Linda Rice threw everything but the stable sink into winning the training title, as I'm sure you noticed from all of the coupled entries you saw from her over the last few days. The Toddster has the numbers, so Ms. Rice had to scrounge for runners.
"I'm looking at the horses standing in my barn and not sure if I can follow through, so I was concerned the last couple of days because I didn't have the right horses in." [NY Daily News]I'm happy for her; a training title obviously means far more to her than to Pletcher, at least from a business standpoint. To get that close and fail would be particularly tough for a relatively small barn like hers; that as opposed to guys like Pletcher who have the sheer numbers to compete for the title every year. But if Richard Dutrow had said that he was concerned about not having the right horses, but that he was running them anyway because of some personal goal, he'd get slammed for putting his own self-interest ahead of his horses' welfare.