Showing posts with label Rachel Alexandra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rachel Alexandra. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Looking for a way to Humiliate Your Horse? Have it Race Goldikova

By: T.R. Slyder,, @AndyDisco on Twitter

Goldikova, the European version of Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra kicked more male horse hiney today in England in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes.

With her being a miler and Zenyatta and Rachel preferring more of a Classic Distance, I wish they could compromise and race in a 1 1/16th or 1 1/8th race, kinda like how Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson raced in that 150 meter race.

I digressed, though. The point is Goldikova is awesome.

That's how I roll.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oh Yee-uh Yee-uh Yee-uh

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

Rachel Alexandra and Rachel Alexandra both race tomorrow. Separately. They are both prepping for the MONUMENTAL showdown in the Apple Blossom next month. Zenyatta hasn't raced since she shook up da worl' in the Breeders Cup Classic in November. Rachel hasn't race since she nearly blew the roof of the historic wooden Saratoga in early September at the Woodford Memorial.

My dream has always been: at the same time Rachel Alexandra races Zenyatta in a race with other horses (i.e. not a match race), while Manny Pacquiao boxes Floyd Mayweather in the infield's backstretch turn, while at the far turn is a steel cage match in a 100 yd. x 100 yd. steel cage that is 50% water 50% land that contains a lion, tiger, orca and a great white shark.

You have to dream big. You HAVE to.

That's how I roll.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Congratulations, Rachel Alexandra

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

2009 Horse of the Year.

She received 13% more votes than female foe Zenyatta for Horse of the Year Honors. Zenyatta's win in the Classic was legendary, but she won on her home surface against a comparatively weak Classic field (especially since the best horses were not used synthetics). Zenyatta really had nothing to lose in that race either. Rachel on the other hand, raced against boys in Grade 1's, won a leg of the triple crown and beat the winners of the other two. In doing so, she put a lot on the line multiple times and had plenty to lose.

That's how I roll.

Friday, September 11, 2009

You Just Don't get it, do you Breeder's Cup? New Rachel Alexandra v. Zenyatta Possible Development

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

Too little, too late. You are broke and offering money you don't have when this could have been avoided just as easily as it was created. Throwing more money at multi-millionaire to race his arguably-overworked horse over a disadvantageous surface is pipe dream.

The Breeders' Cup executives are bad at their jobs.

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Horse Racing Yoda is on my Side Regarding Rachel v. Zenyatta and the Breeder's Cup Being Morons

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

It's nice to see when someone intelligent agrees with someone you believe. This was plagiaraized from the

Female showdown a fitting scenario

By Andrew Beyer

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After her electrifying photo-finish victory in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, Rachel Alexandra should be entitled to rest on her laurels. The filly has campaigned steadily since February, racing at seven different tracks and winning all eight of her starts. With three triumphs over males, she has virtually locked up the Horse of the Year title. Owner Jess Jackson and trainer Steve Asmussen would be happy to give her a breather until she resumes racing in 2010.

Rachel Alexandra, however, still has one piece of unfinished business: a confrontation with Zenyatta, the champion 5-year-old mare who has never been beaten in 12 career starts and has unleashed explosive last-to-first rallies in most of them. Almost everyone in the sport wants to see a race between two of the greatest female Thoroughbreds of all time. The New York Racing Association would like to host the showdown on Oct. 3. But a Rachel Alexandra-Zenyatta race will probably never happen. Partisans of each horse blame the other's camp for being unsporting, but the real blame belongs to the Breeders' Cup organization.

The Breeders' Cup chose Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., and its synthetic track as the site for its event in 2008 and 2009, and last year's results produced an inescapable conclusion: Synthetic tracks are very different from dirt. The horses who won over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface were either proven synthetic-track runners (such as Zenyatta) or turf specialists. Top horses with good form only on dirt didn't win. The highest-profile loser was Curlin. Jackson had been hesitant to run over synthetics, and his views on the subject hardened after the defeat. So when Jackson bought Rachel Alexandra in the spring and watched her develop into a superstar, he adamantly declared he would not race her on "plastic," his derisive word for synthetic surfaces. The Breeders' Cup would not be on her agenda.

For Zenyatta, by contrast, back-to-back Breeders' Cups in her home state were a blessing. The mare can run on dirt or synthetics - she scored a smashing Grade 1 stakes win over Oaklawn Park's dirt in April 2008. But since then she has not ventured from California, where she won the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic last year, except for a planned start at Churchill Downs that was spoiled by an off track. With the Cup back at Santa Anita, trainer John Shirreffs and owner Jerry Moss decided to stay at home for all of 2009 and aim for the Breeders' Cup again - either the Ladies' Classic or against males in the Classic. As for a meeting with Rachel Alexandra, Moss said in a recent teleconference, "The Breeders' Cup was created for this kind of a circumstance. That's the spot where champions are made."

A Rachel Alexandra-Zenyatta race at Santa Anita, however, would not necessarily be a meaningful test. A victory by Zenyatta might prove only that she is a synthetic-track specialist and Rachel isn't. The New York Racing Association sought to have this showdown in the Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 3. Betfair, the parent company of the TVG racing network, offered to add $400,000 to the purse, making it a $1 million race if Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta both show up. The Zenyatta camp evinced some interest, but Shirreffs was concerned about sending his mare into NYRA's mandatory prerace detention barn, and he is reluctant to change his long-planned all-California racing schedule for her. Yet Zenyatta could never find better circumstances for a race on dirt against Rachel Alexandra.

Of all the dirt tracks in America, none is more conducive to Zenyatta's come-from-behind style than Belmont Park, with its sweeping turns and long stretch. Zenyatta has conclusively proved her ability to run on dirt - her performance at Oaklawn was one of the best of her career - so Belmont would be the fairest possible site for the confrontation.

Zenyatta is a fresh horse, after running only three times against soft opposition this season, while Rachel Alexandra has been through a grind, running eight times in the last seven months. After earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure in the Haskell Stakes of 116, she recorded a 109 at Saratoga on Saturday. Her form may be on the downgrade, while Zenyatta could very well be pointing toward a peak effort. Advantage: Zenyatta.

Rachel Alexandra is the horse with the most to lose. She could go to the sidelines tomorrow with the Horse of the Year award locked up. The only way she could lose the title is to lose to Zenyatta. Although Jackson recognizes that Rachel Alexandra is ready for a rest, he said, "If Zenyatta were to come to the Beldame, that would direct us to that."

Jackson has been the consummate sportsman in his management of Rachel Alexandra, picking tough spots such as the Woodward so that the filly can show how good she is. And it would be extraordinarily sporting for him to risk Horse of the Year honors in the Beldame. Meanwhile, Moss and Shirreffs have so far avoided any serious challenges this season for their mare. They have avoided racing against males. They have acted as if their main goal is not to lose and not to jeopardize the mare's perfect record. If that was their aim, they could have retired her last season. But if they are in this game because they like the excitement of the sport, how could they resist a showdown with Rachel Alexandra?

(c) 2009, The Washington Post

see also:

Let's see if Zenyatta "Forfeits" This Race- my Prosaic Tryptich About Rachel Alexandra V. Zenyatta

My Socratic Homage to the Breeder's Cup re: Rachel v. Zenyatta

My Proof that the Breeder's Cup has lost its mind

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rachel Alexandra got a 109 Beyer in the Woodward- and other Post-Woodward Rachel Alexandra Notes

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

According to a few different articles on the, Rachel came out of the Woodward in good shape and is healthy. However, she is unlikely to race again in 2009, and the plan is still to have her back to racing in 2010. For her Woodward effort she was awarded a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 109. If that figure stands it would be her third highest career Beyer behind her 116 in the Haskell, and her 111 in the Mother Goose. So her five most recent Beyers look like this, in chronological order:

109- Woodward
116- Haskell
111- Mother Goose
108- Preakness
108- Kentucky Oaks

See Also: Some Context for Rachel Alexandra's 116 BSF in the Haskell

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ohhhh Maaaaa Gaaaaaa, Ohhhhh Maaaa Gaaaaaa Rachel Alexandra Wins the Woodward

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

Rachel Alexandra won an AWESOME race in the Woodward today, narrowly holding off a charging Macho Again. That was an uber-doozie for the ages. Great race by Rachel, great ride by jockey Calving Borel and a fabulous call by announcer Tom Durkin. My brother was at the race and said that was the loudest he has ever heard Saratoga.

Here's Rachel Alexandra's 2009 Woodward on YouTube, it was post just a minute ago

Some random notes:

- To show what an impressive horse Rachel is, watch how quickly Da Tara runs in reverse at the far turn. Staying a length behind Rachel Alexandra for a half-mile proved too taxing for the 2008 Belmont winner and he just stopped. (I hope that wasn't caused by injury. If he did get injured I take that back, but I haven't heard that he was injured during the race yet, so I am assuming he was sound).

-Rachel turned away Da' Tara, Past the Point, Bullsbay and Macho Again. All four had their shot, took their best shot, and got dirt kicked in their face.

-At the 1:52 mark I am 100% positive that Macho Again will run her down. Despite knowing the outcome of the race, and having watched it 4 or 5 times already, I keep expecting Macho Again to pass her (Psychology scholars will note well that Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, and that has served as the general functional definition ever since).

- That race had to have been ridiculously grueling for her. I hope she comes out of it in good shape. Not many three year olds go 8-for-8.

- Great job Breeders' Cup. Yes, I'm still harping on it. Synthetic surface TWO YEARS IN A ROW. You reap what you sow, get what you deserve, get back what you put in, etc. And what you deserve is not having Rachel Alexandra. You earned getting your nose turned up in your direction. (Editor's note: Mmmm, those Hater-Tots were delicious)

-You really can't overetate how good of a filly she is. It's not like she just broke her maiden and won by 15 lengths, then after getting all excited about it someone said, "Ok calm down, she still has a lot to prove. We can't call her the second coming of Ruffian just yet." Well, that isn't the case with Rachel Alexandra. She is the second coming of Ruffian and as long as you don't say she is clearly better than Ruffian you aren't getting carried away. It is ok to go nuts over here.

- She also bucked Calvin Borel off before the race. I just thought I'd add that. Usually that isn't a great omen, and I am pretty sure she'd never done that before.

-I will say it again. GREAT call by Tom Durkin. I'm 29 years old. The odds of me liking another announcer of any sport more than I like Durkin by the time can be measured only in scientific notation. 10 X 5^1-18th. I love Durkin, and this call ranks among his very best (I just updated my salute of him) He conveyed the heightened stakes with his voice alone. It just sounded different than a maiden claiming race- as it should have. It was a great call. He knew that regardless of the outcome, it was Rachel's race- she was the story, and he called the race as such. Lesser announcers would have pretended it was just another race. You could hear the release of his full theater-major gusto. I know for a fact that he had a lot stored up for when Smarty Jones was going to win the Belmont. Unfortunately, Durking had to tuck that away, but it sounded liek he culled from that reserve to call Rachel's historic race and Tom was among the people I was most happy for. He let loose and it sounded like it felt it great. It felt great hearing it, anyway. He's kinda the male announcing equivalent of Rachel Alexandra, I guess.

-I'm eager to see what her Beyer Speed Figure will be. That race, though visually stunning and fast early on, wasn't super fast as far as Grade 1 races go. I'm guessing she'll be in the 105-109 range, but that's just a guess based on how the Forego was raced before it, and the time for the Whitney this year.

- With Rachel winning by only a head, every single bit of ground-saving helped, another advantage of being a speed horse, drawing near the rail and being ridden by Calvin Bo-rail. If you're following Macho Again (in the yellow coming from off the picture on the far turn) it looks like he's a sure winner at the 1:33 mark. Then turning for home you see Rachel and Calvin on the rail, and Macho Again 3 wide. It's obvious that Macho Again ran substantially farther than Rachel Alexandra did. Macho Again's jockey, Robby Albarado, isn't to blame, he is an accomplished jockey and his horse has a late-running style and they are often caught going 5-wide around the far turn, but that's where the race was both won and lost.

I just saw Robby said this (here), "I never thought I had her," he said. "The only thing I was hoping for was that she'd tire. Champions show different dimensions. She's in a league of her own. Older horses, her own age, it doesn't matter. No matter what they throw at her, she'll beat them." That was classy of him. I also didn't expect it, not because he is not classy, but because I was positive on two different occasions that his horse would win, yet he was positive zero times. I guess its time to admit that that awesome jockey (who jockey'd Curlin among others) knows more about horse racing than I do.

- If Macho Again hadn't run ragged and bumped Bullsbay at the 1:54 mark, would he have won? It looked like he was flying, then brushed Bullsbay and lost a bit of steam, then picked it right back up again only to lose by a head. I guess we'll never know, but that appeared to slow him down. (update again) I would not believe that anyone in the world has watched this race more times than I have, and (not that he needs my validation) I think Robby was right. I don't think his bump costed him all that much momentum/velocity.

-If a high school senior asked Rachel Alexandra to his senior prom and her handlers accepted, wouldn't that kid be guaranteed an internship at the Daily Racing Form?

-That race kicked hiney. She really is the Rachel Alexandra of horse racing.


Now I'm just being (more) self indulgent/autobiographical. It's totally fine if you don't read this portion.

I had to work until just before the start of the race, and I wasn't by an OTB. I don't get TVG or HRTV. Luckily I have a-hole/very good friends. My friend Joe sent me the following texts, "Do you get the Woodward on TV?" He read my blog and tweets, so he knows how big of a deal this race is, and how much I care about it. So I reply with, "No I don't", I assume he is interested in watching it, so I instruct him on how to watch the race replay on shortly after the race, or where to find a live radio feed. He smugly replies with, "Too bad, I get it on live TV". In so many words I reply with something to the effect of, "Though you are a gentleman, you do not deserve this honor.". Since I know I have no chance of watching it live, I ask him to place his phone by the speaker of his television during the race. He's a good friend and obliges. I sat at home watching my racing form listening to Tom Durkin's call. That race was every single thing I hoped it would be. I know that Durkin calls the race like a tv announcer (meaning for those watching on-track, as opposed to those listening at home without sound, a la radio) but I was still slightly misled. I thought Da' Tara still held the lead throughout, for one. That turned out to be irrelevant once Rachel ran her down.

But the tension I felt listening to Tom Durkin (via my friend Joe) will be something I can never share with anyone. Durkin did a tremendous job calling the race, but I still somehow wanted more. When he said it will be "a dramatic stretch drive awaits in the Woodward Stakes" I gripped my chair tighter. I hoped he meant it would be easy for Rachel, but dramatic....I don't know why....cuz it was historic? I didn't want a close race...I knew Rachel had the lead and was waiting to hear until she was overtaken, and she wasn't...Then I heard Durkin- who has never mislead me- say it will be "desperately close" and my heart sank. I knew he wanted Rachel to win and if he said it would be "desperately close" it would be that close. I also thought that it was his way of breaking the news softly to us. He'd be too kind to say, "Macho Again runs down Rachel", or "Macho Again inhales a tiring Rachel". I appreciated the passive voice and euphemism and was prepared my ears for the worst. I knew they'd hit the wire at the same time, and when Durkin says it will be close, it IS close....I know his calls. He says it's close.......he pauses........he announces the winner. That is what he does.

'It's going to be desperately's the wire!!!" *************95 years of my life. seriously. 95 years. ***************** That was bad. Tom is the best. If he knew Rachel would win he would have said it. But the bravado in his voice as the super-talented Macho Again started his stride hurt my confidence. I knew he inched closer and closer, and since Tom didn't say Rachel kicked him away I feared the worst. They hit the wire together. My heart was residing behind my navel. The hit the wire together. The next name he says is the winner- that's just his way. PLEASE TOM. Just. Say. "Rachel". HOW MUCH LONGER CAN THIS GO ON!!! YOU ARE MURDERING MY SOUL!!! (it was half a second)

"RACHEL WON!!!!!!!!!!"

*room starts spinning*

the end.

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Yes, I am Picking Rachel in the Woodward

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

It's not that I think she's a cinch to win the race, or that I am predicting she'll win by 4+ lengths, but her numerical dominance over the field makes it difficult to confidently select any of her foes- all of which seem to be more or less evenly (over)matched. If someone told me they were going to bet on Macho Again or Cool Coal Man with their own money, I wouldn't try to talk them out of it, but I just don't envision Calvin Borel allowing Rachel to get boxed or pinned in, and I also can't see Calvin or Rachel panicking at any part of the race and running in a style that is not of their choosing.

Much like a power forward with a jump shot, a 6'8'' shooting guard, or a 6'5'' wide receive that runs a 4.2 second 40-yeard dash- Rachel's style and talent create a lot of matchup problems for her opponents. Despite being faster than speedsters, she sits right off of them while Calvin measures how much gas they have left in the tank, once Calvin puts the (metaphorical) spurs to her, the race ends. When Calvin tells her to go, she passes the tiring speed horses and gets a jump on the closers. In terms of race positioning, she's right off the pace and ahead of the closers- that stalking style is not a rarity in racing, but her talent is. She's a better speed horse than the speed horses, and a better closer than the closers.

All horses are vulnerable in every race, even great ones. But the great horses that are most vulnerable are the horses that need the lead, and the deep closers. Rachel's tactical speed means she is neither.

In the Forego I like Kodiak Kowboy and Peace Chant.

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

My Entire Catalog of Rachel Alexandra Pics

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

I see you baby, shakin' that ass.

( / ) ( I ) ( \ )

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Using my two Favorite Techniques to Analyze Rachel Alexandra's Chance in the Woodward- Plagiarism and Primates

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

I was thinking about monkeys again last night. But I also kept thinking about the Steve Haskin article on that I linked to in my previous Rachel Alexandra/Woodward post; he made some really good points that concerned me. So I thought I'd break his article down paragraph by paragraph and kinda translate it for my readers that maybe aren't as versed in horse racing jargon as they are other languages- like Monkey Language, for instance.

Here is Haskin's first paragraph:

Rachel Alexandra drew post 3 for Saturday’s $750,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I). No big deal, you say? By breaking close to the rail, and with a big bruiser in the aptly named Bullsbay drawing directly inside her in post 2 and a speedy Nick Zito-trained stalker, Cool Coal Man, directly outside her in post 4, a scenario is developing where Rachel could find herself in some heavy traffic at different stages of the race.

To monkeyify getting stuck betwixt Bullsbay and Cool Coal Man:

Haskin's next paragraph:

When you see Zito put in two tactical speed horses against a heavy favorite who has the same running style as his horses, you can bet he has an agenda, meaning Da' Tara, breaking from the rail and coming off a bullet :47 flat work on the Oklahoma training track, likely will bust out of the gate to assure Rachel will not get an easy lead in case that strategy was to enter Calvin Borel’s mind. If Rachel takes off the pace, she will have Cool Coal Man, It's a Bird, and Past the Point all in a position to pin her down on the rail behind Da’ Tara, meaning there is a decent chance she could wind up in a neat little box by the time they hit the backstretch.

Watch out for possible bunching, grouping, crowding, boxing, etc.:

crowding....... .....boxing

Haskin's third paragraph:

Sitting back, waiting to see how the race unfolds, will be Asiatic Boy and Macho Again, both tough, battle-tested closers. Now, remember, this is merely a possible scenario based on how the race is shaping up. But it surely is one to be wary of.

Two combatants waiting until others put their cards on the table, then playing their own hands accordingly:

Haskin's 4th paragraph:

The bottom line, this is not a race or a field to be taken lightly. These older horses are more formidable than people think, at least on any given day. Each has shown they have a big race in them, including Past the Point, who gave Curlin quite a scare at 40-1 in last year’s Woodward. Bullsbay and Cool Coal Man each are coming off a 107 Beyer at Saratoga; It’s a Bird ran a 107 Beyer two races back; Macho Again is coming off a 105 Beyer; and Past the Point ran a 110 Beyer in last year’s Woodward.

Be wary of assassins:

Haskin's 5th paragraph:

Before anyone starts getting depressed over this unsettling scenario, the intention here is not to suggest Rachel is going to get beat, but it is Saratoga and it is a 3-year-old filly against older males, and Borel is going to have a bulls-eye on his back and must constantly be aware of everything going on around him and any plots developing during the running of the race, especially the first half-mile. Just remember how they ganged up on poor Stewart Elliott and Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

Borel's in need of vigilance: It won't be a day at the beach for Calvin Borel, that's for sure. Heck, even if it were a day at the beach, he'd still want to stay vigilant.

But he'd probably want to be even more vigilant than that. Too bad he couldn't have another pair of eyes looking out for Rachel.

(Answer: I'm pretty sure you can't. It'd be tough to do that and stay within the weight requirement. But good thinking!)

Haskin's 6th paragraph:

Of course, we’re dealing with a filly who could prove to be as great as any who ever lived and who most likely will not be fazed in the slightest by any tactics the other riders might employ. But it is something to think about. If Rachel is able to escape any ambushes and booby traps early on and gets a clear run, then it will all be up to her to show what she can do against these big, tough ol’ boys.

Let's not forget that Rachel Alexandra knows how to kick hiney:

And finally, Haskin's final paragraph:

Asiatic Boy, for example, has won or placed in grade I stakes on three continents. If you’re looking for a horse who can’t bear the thought of getting beat by a 3-year-old filly it’s one named Macho. Bullsbay is a bull and he’s a bay and last weighed in at over 1,230 pounds. It’s a Bird possesses the magic name “Bird” that has been soaring all year in major stakes, and his name just happens to be the opening line to the introduction of Superman. Yep, this is a tough bunch.

The competition is strong:

Steve Haskin made some great points and painted a very believable picture of a scenario that a lot of people simply didn't envision. It wouldn't take a freak occurence for Rachel Alexandra to get beat on Saturday. Sometimes in horse racing the field teams up on the big favorite- maybe one horse (like maybe Da' Tara) sprints out faster than he ordinarily would, ostensibly sacrificing his own chances at victory just for the sake of bothering the favorite (Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey relished doing just that when he wasn't aboard the favorite). Then, the very instant after the sprinter is turned away by the favorite, a closer (like maybe Asiatic Boy or Macho Again) might start his run a bit earlier than he'd like, and take on the favorite- almost as though he and the faded sprinter are in a relay race against the favorite. As soon as one horse gets tired, he passes the baton off to the next horse. Now it's his turn to make sure that the favorite stays harried and never gets any chance to catch his (or her) breath. Maybe the big favorite digs in and heroically kicks away from the early closer with his (or her) last ounce of effort, only to be nipped at the wire from the VERY deep closer (like m aybe Asiatic Boy or Macho Again) who came from out of nowhere, and is the benefactor of the group effort.

Really, it's a lot like the last scene of Scarface, with all of those would-be assassins taking their shot at Tony Montana, and all of them getting killed one-by-one, at least at first. And when it appears the tide is starting to turn in favor of the assassins what happens? Tony says, "So you wanna play rough, huh? Ok. Say hello to my li'l Fr'en'!" and #@**POW**@#, that threat is over with a boom and a cloud of smoke. After that, Tony thinks he can let his guard down. That's when The Skull calmly creeps up behind Tony and gets his man without even breaking a sweat. You set 'em up, he'll knock 'em down. Sure, some people lost but the team won.

There is a pretty decent chance that a similar pack-mentality will develop on Saturday- it certainly wouldn't be the first time that has happened to the big favorite in a big race. But there's also a pretty decent chance Rachel Alexandra will win by open lengths and leave us all stupified with mouths agape. I'm not sure which it will be.

Either way, it will be a great....


I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Rachel Alexandra to Race Against Older Boys in 2 Days. Feel Free to Run Around Screaming While Flailing Your Arms Wildly In Anticipation

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

As TR Slyder scholars know well, I like horse racing and the filly Rachel Alexandra. As the headline mentions, on Saturday she takes older males for the first time and is installed as the 1-2 favorite on the morning line. I couldn't think of a cohesive and prosaic way to fit all I want to say about this topic and include all the links, so this post will be all over the place. On the off chance you find segues intoxicating, this blog post will be a sobering one. To alleviate the sobriety however, I'll pepper in some amusing pictures that are loosely, or not related to the text in order to help you get through the whole article.

It's a bigger deal than you may think. The top three stories on the reputable are all about Rachel (here, here and here). The has Rachel as their lead story and also as their 7th. For historical perspective of the feat Rachel is shouldering, This article from is the most informative I have read (for those of us that are less mature and/or unfamilar with horse racing, yet familiar with what a bris is, feel free to snicker at the site being called "Brisnet" and that they have a column called "Handicappers Edge").

It was historic when Rachel beat dudes in the Grade 1 Preakness, and also in the Grade 1 Haskell, but those were against 3-year olds, or boys here own age. This time she is taking on older dudes in a Grade 1 race. "Grade 1" just means that it is THE top tier of racing- as dictated by the race's history and the prize money. 3 year old fillies have beaten older males in Grade 1 races before, but an American filly has accomplished it in only twice since 1987.

Another historical aspect of this race is that with this blog post, Rachel ties Rod Blagojevich for 6th place as the most frequent topics of blog posts on, as you can see in the margin.

If Rachel wins on Saturday she will basically guarantee that she wins the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year. A win would also cement a spot for her alongside Ruffian as the best filly race horse in the modern era. The latter is probably meaningless to the casual reader, or even to readers in ball gowns or tuxedos (HELOOOOO), but again, it's a huge deal for horse racing. Much like how discussion of the best basketball of the modern era starts and stops with Michael Jordan, the same is true for fillies and Ruffian. In an era when 0 people follow horse racing, the sport making headlines only from tragedies, and the public never getting to know any horses because their careers are now so short, its nice to see such a positive story, and one that might bring a few fans into the sport. That being said, her race will not air live on national television unless you get either HRTV (Horse Racing TV) or TVG (also a horse racing channel). If you are lucky to get either, the race will air at 5:52 Eastern Time. Well, the race will air at the time regardless of whether you get those channels, but you know what I meant.

I downloaded the Past Performance for Saturday's race, but it's probably illegal to post it, despite this site getting about 60 readers a day. But if you'd like a copy of it, just email me and I'd be happy to email it to you as a personal favor. That's probably legal enough for my low standards.

As far as the race itself, she is the logical favorite in the field of 8. It isn't the strongest field in the history of Grade 1 races, but is solid nonetheless. Notables include 2009 Whitney Stakes winner Bullsbay; Da' Tara- the only horse to finish first in a race which included Big Brown, that happened in the 2008 Belmont Stakes, thus ending Big Brown's bid for the elusive Triple Crown; Macho Again who finished 2nd in both the 2008 Preakness and the 2009 Whitney Handicap and who, like Bullsbay, ran the best race of his life last time out over the Saratoga track; and It's a Bird- the son of Birdstone, who won the 2005 Travers and Belmont Stakes. It's a Bird is also the half-brother to both Mine that Bird (winner of the 2009 KY Derby) and Summer Bird (winner of the 2009 Belmont Stakes and Travers Handicap, but lost to Rachel by 6th lengths in the 2009 Haskell Invitational). And since you're wondering, It's a Bird's owner, Edmund Gann, was also the owner of Rachel Alexandra's father, Medaglia D'Oro.

I guess I digressed from the actual race though. Those are the notable foes for Saturday, and on paper Rachel towers over the field. Her career earnings vs. the next highest opponents are...Oh. I'll be damned. I was getting ready to type that she has way more $ in career earnings then any other horse in the field, then I was gonna check the PP's to see by how much and over whom, but she has actually been out-earned by a horse I did not mention, Asiatic Boy. He's earned $3.7 million to Rachel Alexandra's 2.4. Who knew? In Rachel's defense, it has taken him 4 more races to do so, but both are impressive, nonetheless. Rachel's highest Beyer Speed Figure is 116, the next highest in the field is owned by (another horse I didn't mention in the last paragraph) Past the Point and is 110. Interestingly enough he did it in this race (the Woodward) last year, and he has the same jockey (Edgar Prado) as he did then.

I'm sure I'll preview the race in more depth later on Thursday or at some point on Friday, but I've probably written at least 400 words too many enough about her.

I'm T.R. Slyder Tyler Benchfield, and that's how you Tangueray.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Who Came Out of the Travers Looking the Best? Rachel Alexandra.

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

Were you expecting me to say "Summer Bird"? After Summer Bird's gutsy win in the Belmont and on Sunday's Travers we're finally starting to appreciate what a great horse he is. Any horse that wins those two races is bonafide monster.

A look at Summer Bird's past performances in the Daily Racing Form reveals that in his last race, The Haskell Invitational, Summer Bird earned a 106 Beyer, yet finished second, beaten 6 lengths. Who was it that beat Summer Bird by 6? Rachel Alexandra.

You could now do a 2-Degrees-of-Separation test with Rachel and nearly every three year old male that matters to indicate she has beaten either the horses themselves, or the horses that have beaten those horses. She's unreal.

Hey Zenyatta, come get a taste!

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.