Monday, August 24, 2009

Woodward (but no Bernstein)

The connections of Rachel Alexandra have announced that they will point the fabulous filly toward the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes on September 5, as opposed to the Grade 1 Travers Stakes this coming weekend. She will now be facing older male horses in the Woodward, unlike the Travers, where should would only be facing three-year-old males.

Co-owner Jess Jackson says that he and the rest of the connections want to see the filly tested. I can agree with that, but think about who she might be facing in the Woodward. Bullsbay and Macho Again, the top two from the Grade 1 Whitney, Cool Coal Man, and last year's Belmont winner, Da'Tara, who has not exactly lit it up since the upset in the "Test Of Champions". Is that really a test? I know Macho Again defeated Einstein in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, but that was more a product of a very poor ride by Julien Leparoux on Einstein than anything else. I know that a three-year-old filly going against older males is a big step, but that is not exactly a who's who of the Thoroughbred world.

As opposed to running in the Travers, where the filly would face the other two winners of the Triple Crown races this year, Mine That Bird and Summer Bird. Quality Road, who just might be the best three-year-old male horse in training right now, and Kensei. There is the horse that might be the rub in this whole situation. Kensei, who won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy earlier this meet at Saratoga, is owned by (SURPRISE!!!) the same connections that own Rachel Alexandra. I certainly cannot disagree with them for not wanting to run their top two prospects against each other, but I think that the way these two fields are shaping up against each other, the Travers just might be the tougher option.

Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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