Too Much?

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 4, 2009 in General Discussion, Other Events | 8 Comments >>

Are we asking too much of our runners? Has the clamor of the crowd and year-end honors blinded us to reality?

I guess Rachel Alexandra has me scratching my head. She attempts to be the first filly or mare to ever win the Woodward. She is already being compared to many of the great gals; Ruffian is one of the first to enter my mind. Are they asking for too much? Or, is this the right race for her?

Far be it from me to question, but from a fan’s perspective, I have to wonder if facing the boys this much will be trouble for her. I am aware that she is the overwhelming favorite, and she looks like she has never gotten to her bottom gear. I ask the question: maybe she should wrap up and face her own? If they are not going to the Breeders’ Cup, there is no reason to put her to the task.

I have read as you have, that J.J. plans on bringing her back to the races next season. I think we have seen something special, and I would love to see her stay in the game as long as possible. For the first time in a long time, an owner wants to keep her in the sport. I support this plan, and there has never been a time when we needed a champion so badly. But keep her running against her own.

There are many trainers who believe that horses have just so many races in them. They put them to the task early and often, and off they go to the breeding shed. I have heard that many are not as healthy going this route. Many farm managers would like to keep them fresh, keep them in the game, and decide an appropriate time for the shed. After all, that is where the money is made for big rollers.

In the end, where will she be rated?  Will history treat her kindly as Beldame, Ruffian, and many others? I think she has made her mark, and we need to keep her in the game as long as possible.  There have only been 13 three-year-olds who have won the Woodward. The last filly to have attempted the feat was four-year-old Lady’s Secret in 1986. She finished second to Precisionist. There have been only ten fillies to have beaten older males on the dirt. That is an incredible number for the years.

I guess after Saturday we will know the truth. I hope the toll is not too heavy a price to pay for such a talented creature.