I figure it's not a great sign that they can't get Rachel Alexandra ready for a race on April 3, a full seven months after her last race. Steve Asmussen says she's on track for a prep on March 13. "And I don't think three weeks are sufficient after her first race in six months........ We don't want to run her if she's less than 100 percent." [Star Telegram]
Zenyatta is also aiming for a prep on that date, so the Apple Blossom would also be three weeks after her first race of the year.
Well, that sounds like a fair fight to me. I don't buy this notion that they both have to be "at the top of their game" for this race....assuming, of course, that it would be intended as a preliminary encounter rather than an ultimate showdown. Horses can't be at the peak of their form for the entire year. The Breeders' Cup Classic is the ultimate goal (and Saratoga would make for a wonderful middle match). The RA camp seems so afraid of losing, like doing so would permanently sully her reputation and devastate her value. Nonsense. Someone has to lose, and what's the shame of that. Jeez, it's just a game, after all. Indeed, there are horses throughout history whose reputations were actually enhanced and cemented by races that they lost. And this particular race would have been just be part of the narrative, setting up the story lines for the rematch(es).
Unfortunately, I think Oaklawn waited a week or two too long to announce the $5 million purse. With more warning, just maybe the Rachel team would have had the incentive to start the process of her comeback earlier, with making that race in mind. At this point, with just that one workout on her tab, it does seem like a stretch. On the other hand though, maybe she's had such a tough time bouncing back from last year's campaign that it wouldn't have been possible under any circumstance or for any amount of money.
Jackson says he wants the two to meet three times; "a racing series to rival the Triple Crown.”. But apparently, Jerry Moss didn't get cc'd on the memo.
"It's a shame they are not going to show up for that race," Moss said in a telephone interview with the AP. "In the meantime, there's some plan here, to run in three races, to which we're supposed to respond to, and we haven't even been consulted about it. So, I don't know what I'm supposed to say." [The Canadian Press]Yeah, he doesn't sound too happy, does he?