...that Rachel Alexandra will not be Horse Of The Year in 2010. Following yet another defeat (her third in the last five starts) yesterday at Saratoga in the Personal Ensign, I don't see any way that she will win the honor. Not too long ago in this blog, I opined that Zenyatta should be Horse Of The Year and was hammered for saying such heresy by the Rachel contingent out there (which, by the way, I still count myself part of). Well, after Sunday, I think it can safely be said that a mile and a quarter just might be a tad outside of Rachel's limitations and therefore, a win in the Breeders' Cup Classic will likely not happen, especially if the field that is expected to be assembled (Blame, Quality Road, Zenyatta, Awesome Gem, Richard's Kid, Rail Trip, and others) come to Churchill Downs for the Cup.
Rachel Alexandra gave us a season for the ages in 2009 and she was deservedly given Horse Of The Year honors for a season which might be the greatest of the last thirty-five plus years. She won a Triple Crown race, she won the Kentucky Oaks in Secretariat-like fashion, she beat all comers, male and female, three-year-olds and older horses. It could very well have been the greatest single year any horse has put forth ever given all that she was able to overcome and never be beaten. However, this is now not the same horse that dazzled us in 2009. She is beatable by horses that should not be able to be considered in her class, she surrenders in the stretch where last year she would look an opponent in the eye and beat them back. It is unfortunate to say it, but Rachel Alexandra is just not the same horse.
If you accept my theory that she won't win Horse Of The Year, fine, if you don't, that's fine with me also. I still think she ranks with the greatest of all time and you can never take away any of her colossal accomplishments. However, it does leave the unanswered question of who will be Horse Of The Year? I think the winner is on that list I rattled off in the first paragraph and I think it will be whichever one of them wins the Breeders' Cup Classic. I certainly hope that like Rachel Alexandra, it will be a classic.
Tune in on Wednesday for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!