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  • It's official....


    No great surprise. No word on where she may be headed next... speculation?
    bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
    free bar.ka and tidy rabbit

  • #2
    I venture to say she will be retired. Unless some racing secretary writes a race just for her, equal weights with no tough competition.
    Jessi Pizzurro ~~ Pennyroyal Stables
    Racehorses, OTTBs ~~ 330 383 1281
    Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. -- John Wayne


    • #3
      Bah I don't think they would retire her just because she had one mediocre race! She's finished second three times - she was never trying to be undefeated. She had a six month layoff, and just wasn't ready. She's still a great horse.
      * Sunny * Ella (2006 filly) * Tank (2008 colt)*


      • #4
        She wasn't fit. She didn't even look like the Rachel we saw last year. Asmussen screwed up on this one, thinking he'd steal an easy win with a 3/4 fit filly.


        • #5
          I guess its better this way then to leave everybody hanging until the last minute but I can't figure out how you know if a horse will or won't be ready to run a month from now. That could have been exactly what she needed to put her over the top.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jessi P View Post
            I venture to say she will be retired. Unless some racing secretary writes a race just for her, equal weights with no tough competition.
            This. Yesterday's race was written and scripted to give Rachel a good workout and make a good show. If it hadn't been for Zardana, she would have won by 11 lengths while only being 75-80% (per her connections). That would have added to her 'aura'. Except it didn't happen.

            To quote Steve A: "If I thought she'd get beat, she wouldn't have run."

            Now she's been pulled from the AB, in spite of the fact that it's being reported that she came out of the race in great shape. Even without Zenyatta, that race will have 8 other top tier Grade 1 fillies/mares in it. If Rachel doesn't step forward big time from yesterday, she could be humiliated. She needs to be at least as good as she was last summer, preferably better to win this race.

            IMHO, if Jess Jackson was half the sportsman people credit him for being, he'd send her anyhow. Take his chances. Even if she does poorly, it's the beginning of her 4 YO year, plenty of time to redeem herself later in the year. I call this ducking.


            • #7
              She may not have trained on, and not be as good as she was last year. Has happened to more than a few horses.
              Plus, she may not have been the super filly every one thought she was last year. I know hindsight is 20/20, but who did she beat? A sub par group of 3yos, including what may be the worst Derby winner in long time, a horse that did little of note before and since. The best of the bunch, Summer Bird, is a horse that didn't really come good until the second part of the year, and needs 10-12f to really be at his best, and she beat him at her preferred distance. Then a lot is made of her beating older horses in the Woodward, but you gotta admit that was a sorry group of older horses by most standards. All out to beat Macho Again while getting her 8lb distaff allowance from him, in retrospect it may not be all conquering performance many thought.

              I still say she will be nowhere near Louisville come the BC next Nov, or if she is it'll be in a paddock outside of Lexington.


              • #8
                Wow, how quickly people turn. Geez, it was one fricking race after a longgg time off. Give her a break.
                We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sunny's Mom View Post
                  Bah I don't think they would retire her just because she had one mediocre race! She's finished second three times - she was never trying to be undefeated. She had a six month layoff, and just wasn't ready. She's still a great horse.
                  But she hadn't lost since she sold for $10 M and turned into a superstar.

                  Losses now have a whole other meaning.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                    I guess its better this way then to leave everybody hanging until the last minute but I can't figure out how you know if a horse will or won't be ready to run a month from now. That could have been exactly what she needed to put her over the top.
                    That's kinda how I feel.

                    If she's not ready, don't race her, but maybe give her a little more time to see. I guess they just wanted at least one winning race under their belt to feel a little better about meeting Zenyatta - it is a bit scary because I feel like RA is the one with more to lose in that match up.

                    Really, I just wish they'd said back in January that they'd take on Zenyatta, but not a day before June 1st (or whenever they thought she'd be ready). Ever since RA's camp committed to the Apple Blossom they've been sounding like they wished they hadn't.

                    I still hope RA comes back as good or better than last year and can expand on her already impressive record. Then she could become one of the greats without quite so many question marks. Plus, I think it would be amazing for racing if she sticks around and she and Z can dominate this season.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DLee View Post
                      Wow, how quickly people turn. Geez, it was one fricking race after a longgg time off. Give her a break.
                      Some of us weren't ready to call her wins last year all that and a bag of chips last year, even before Zenyatta blew away a much stronger field.

                      RA has one distance or shorter she likes, and she has to dig deep to beat even mediocre males or males before their peak with a weight allowance and at her specialist distance. And now it looks like Assmusen basically did everything he could to make sure she ISN'T ready. (I'm not saying INTENTIONALLY he did, I'm just saying he screwed up.) Really--would anyone last September have believed that in her first race back RA would lose not even to Zenyatta but to Zenyatta's third-string training partner who shipped in to the track where Rachel had spent the winter?
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                      • #12
                        I know you are not a Rachel fan, so your postings do not surprise me in the least.


                        Bottom line is, the safety of the horse is of paramount importance. People can say whatever they want about JJ's "lack of sportsmanship" or Z's crew keeping her safely in California last year. Racing can ill afford a high profile breakdown. If they ran Rachel in the AB and the worst happened, their intentions will have been greed (aka the 5 million) at the expense of the horse, since it has already been stated multiple times she is not yet "back". If they don't... they're poor sports and chicken sh*ts with no regard to the racing public's wishes.
                        Makes me damn glad I'm not an owner of a racehorse, especially a well known one.

                        I personally think she IS all that and a bag of chips, but then again I've met her in person so I'm biased. However, I'm also a Zenyatta fan and have been ever since I first saw her go. I want them both to have safe, well managed campaigns. Period.

                        ETA- I should have said owner of a CURRENT racehorse, as I own four ex's.
                        We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


                        • #13
                          @ D-Lee: I think everyone wants to see these ladies have safe and well managed campaigns.

                          However, what is frustrating is that the RA camp agreed to the Apple Blossom date, though not without weekly comments about how it was too soon and she might not be ready. Why not just say, nope, we want to race Zenyatta, absolutely, but let's do it in June, August, whenever? I'd bet Z's camp would have said, sure, June's perfect for us.

                          Safety of the horse is always paramount, everyone on this board certainly agrees on that (so I'm not sure why it always gets brought up as a defense - it's already understood on this forum as being most important). Yes, the public is always going to jump on people in the press, it's what they do, racing, NFL, NBA, celebrities in general.

                          I think some on here just feel that either this race might have been just what she needed to be ready for the Apple Blossom and that they should wait a bit to see how she trains, or that they should have just said all along they would need more time. I don't blame them for skipping the race if she's not ready, but it probably could have been handled better.

                          I'm not going to jump on JJ and say he's dodging anything because I think, overall, he's done a nice job giving the public access to RA. Yes, she hasn't raced at 1 1/4 and there are some quibbles about the boys she did beat and the style in which she won, but I think her campaign last year was exceptional, and OVERALL more impressive than Zenyatta's (and I'm a BIG Zenyatta fan). Nothing that she does from here on out can detract from her 3-year old season. It might diminish her superstar status as a whole, but not her accomplishments last year.

                          Also, just because she finished second in her first prep doesn't mean she's headed for a big breakdown. Not winning doesn't necessarily mean the horse is finished or its welfare will be compromised by racing again. I know being less than perfectly fit can have very bad consequences, but I don't think RA's people are skipping the Apple Blossom for fear of a breakdown. They don't want to lose, and they know that is a chance if she's not perfect. Her people are just managing her reputation at this point - nothing wrong with that with a horse like this (and also similar to what Zenyatta's connections did for most of her 2009 campaign.)

                          I want to see both of these mares top notch, and I want to see them race when they're ready. It will always be an unanswered question if they don't race (unless RA doesn't get back into top form), and that's okay, but if they can safely make it work this season, I think they should bust their butts to make it happen.


                          • #14
                            I get it. I understand what you are saying. I am not a racehorse trainer and never have been, so I am not about to second guess what Steve A "should have" said or done. He has totally owned this loss, I'm not sure what else people want from him.
                            I do, however, know how plans change. Training horses for competitions does not always go as planned. Plans sometimes have to be changed due to horses being individuals. When my training plans change, no one is affected but me and my horse. Not the general public and the armchair quarterbacks, thank God.

                            I am not saying Rachel was headed for a breakdown, or that they were not running her because of that.

                            And racing, like eventing, cannot be too careful any more. While everyone "on this forum" may understand the horses come first, the public often does not.
                            We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


                            • #15
                              If running her in the Apple Blossom after this would break her down, they SHOULD retire her and now.

                              I think Assmussen handled her wrong, and the publicity around it was badly managed. bort84 is right--saying "We'll meet in June or July" would have been better than hemming and hawing and adjusting dates and does she need a prep or not. That's not RA's fault. That's her connections.

                              No, I don't think she's as good as Zenyatta. I think we saw the max she's capable of last year. But she can run better than she ran this weekend. Her connections, instead of just saying "We have a plan, and we'd like to build to a meeting this summer" said "Sure! No, wait. Okay, you pushed it back...crap, that was a bad work...no, we'll go...shoot." That's not a trainer serving the best interest of the horse OR the betting public.

                              This is War Admiral-Seabiscuit level of interest. There would have been a track somewhere willing to write a race for them in June or July.

                              And I've never seen either in person. Any horse race in person is exciting. I've never yet met any horse, including John Henry, who made me step back and say "WOW" just from sheer force of personality. (John Henry did impress me with how cranky a horse can be!) Maybe Man o' War would have been like that.... This, it's about how they race, against what, how far and how heavy.
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                                No, I don't think she's as good as Zenyatta. I think we saw the max she's capable of last year.
                                Yes, we saw the max she's capable of:

                                The Mother Goose
                                22.57, 44.66, 1:08.86, 1:33.60, 1:46.33 (with Borel standing up the last 1/16th)

                                The Haskell
                                22.99, 46.43, 1:09.92, 1:34.29, 1:47.21

                                Simply Awesome!!

                                I think when RA is right, Zenyatta will never catch her. My biggest fear has always been Quality Road. He reminds me of Candy Ride and Ghostzapper, not real sound, but when he's right, nobody can touch him!


                                • #17
                                  I'm a fan of both RA and Zen, both for different reasons.

                                  My question is: do you think a "real" vacation would have benefited Rachel? Jackson said she was tired before the Woodward, and she did come out of that race tired. She had lost weight from earlier in the year.

                                  I think she should have been turned out to pasture for her time off, instead of a backside-at-the-track vacation. ?? How much time do you think she spent in the stable as opposed to the round pen? And it wasn't a pleasant winter down here.

                                  If this was my horse, I'd have given her a nice pasture in KY to roll in the grass and run the fields......let her be a horse.

                                  I think she would have been in better shape, mind and body wise.

                                  Why do you think they kept her at the track?


                                  • #18
                                    If that's as far as RA can run, she's not as good as Zenyatta. Zenyatta closed past better colts and older males at a longer distance. I never take the whole "and he was holding him/her back!" at face value as it usually turns out not to be true. I would like to see RA against top company at 1 1/4 before saying she's better or she can keep up the speed against better males. Macho Again ain't the Classic field.

                                    And I don't know about turning her out...I'm torn. It might have been more relaxing. But on the other hand maybe she wasn't getting ENOUGH work. Maybe a month, max, of real turnout, and back into training. Maybe RA is one of those horses who needs to be WORKING and knows when she's not. She LIKES her "job" and I bet she knows the difference between a light work and being kept fit.

                                    Here's a silly question--human atheletes in sports where they compete young (like figure skating) can have off years during a 'growth spurt.' I find it hard to believe RA would get any taller, but she's only four and isn't done maturing. Is she maybe doing the horse equivalent? Some physical/mental changes associated with maturing where she's just not going to be "right" for a while, but could grow out of it? And if they just work through it now, later in the season or next year she'd be as good or better than before?

                                    I've never thought of that before in the context of racing, but then so many horses are just retired at three, while over in things like show jumping they don't even start until they're over five. Would be a great argument for her taking it easy now, meet Zenyatta later (or not) and keep racing NEXT year, too. Maybe Zenyatta and Rachel can start a trend...
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                                    • #19
                                      I like RA and really want her to get back to top form. I don't really know enough about training TBs for the track to have an educated "feeling" about which way she'll go. I'm hoping she just needs more time to get back into her groove and that maybe SA also needs more time to get with her groove.

                                      I guess I'm a little bit more of a Zenyatta fan, but I really like Rachel as well. It would be SO wonderful for racing if these ladies can perform at their best again this season, so I'm hopeful.

                                      It's interesting to ponder RA's time off. Again, I don't have any experience training TBs to race, so I have no idea which route she should have taken. It does make sense that maybe 5 months was too long for a youngster at the top of her form but still maturing and learning, and it also makes sense to me that maybe while she was off she should have been totally off in pasture. Maybe she looked pretty rough after her last season and really did need that time off no matter what it cost her training for this season. It also seems to me she might just be going through those growing pains that make all young horses difficult - hopefully she'll be even better in a couple of months.

                                      Obviously SA is a very successful trainer and did what he thought the mare needed, but what are these boards for if not speculating and armchair quarterbacking? In hindsight, SA might have done things differently, so I think it's an interesting point to discuss.


                                      • #20
                                        Like I said earlier, this is no shock at all.

                                        I also can't believe the number of people that are shocked that she lost.

                                        My best friend is a top racing manager that has horses with Pletcher and Baffert, and we were talking about Rachel's level of fitness way before the race. We knew she had a great shot to lose. How is a horse supposed to be fit enough for a 1and 1/16 race when they are getting tired in a workout only a week prior to the race?

                                        She needed at least four more weeks of galloping and working to be fit enough for this race. So how is she going to be ready to face top company in less than four weeks at 1 1/8 off of this loss? Doesn't make sense to me. Of course, if you're not running against great horses, then it can be done under these circumstances, but you can also ruin the horse in the process. Most of the time, it's just not a good idea to bring a horse back in less than four weeks. Much less under these circumstances with one of the greatest fillies ever.

                                        Ideally, she's going to need five weeks after this race of recooperation time and working, and then put her in another mile and 1/16.

                                        I think that she is still the same horse, but fitness is definitely an issue. She still has that same, beautiful way of going.

                                        Rachel was knocked out at the end of last year. She was a tired horse and certainly needed a long break. Ideally, she would have been started in a race in late spring/early summer and had a light campaign to push for a BC Classic win. At the beginning of the year, their intentions certainly weren't to race her this early in the year, and everyone still thought that Zenyatta was retiring. The Apple Blossom matchup wasn't on anyone's minds then. It takes awhile to get a horse fit for these route races especially off a long layoff...think months even for horses like Rachel and Zenyatta.

                                        The connections made the wrong decision in trying to run her here IMO. You never want to run a horse only at 80% fitness especially one like Rachel. Now, they made a good decision and pulled her out of the Apple Blossom. Hopefully, they will give her plenty of time before they run her again.

                                        When Rachel is fit, she has a great shot to beat Zenyatta.
                                        Last edited by Horseforthecourse; Mar. 16, 2010, 02:46 PM.