Sunday, May 17, 2009

She Runs Like A Girl

Rachel Alexandra, that is. Here is her performance in the Kentucky Oaks this year (the big filly race the day before the Derby):

The jockey, Calvin Borel, never had to do a thing - she just ran, but never into her top gear. Even still, she won by twenty lengths. Her breeder and co-owner at the time of the Kentucky Oaks, when asked if he had considered running her in the Derby said:
"No sir, the Triple Crown races are to showcase the future stallions of our industry and fillies should run with fillies and stallions with stallions."

Ah, yes - sexism is most definitely alive and well in the sport of horse-racing. No doubt about that.

Well, on Saturday, at Pimlico, in the running of the Preakness, Rachel Alexandra ran with the boys. There was a lot of debate about her doing so, and a couple of the owners, including one of Mind That Bird's, wanted her excluded on a technicality, even considering running another one of his horses to keep her out.

But another owner, a woman, Marylou Whitney, stepped in to clear the way (basically, she said she would pull her horse to let Rachel Alexandra take his place). She was allowed to run, and run she did. For the first time since 1924, a filly won the Preakness, the first horse EVER to win from the 13th position, and only the 11th filly ever to win a Triple Crown event. Oh, her jockey, Calvin Borel, chose HER over riding the Kentucky Derby winner, Mind That Bird, again, even though Borel was the one who guided him to that win. Why? As he sad after winning the Oaks:
"She's probably the greatest horse I've ever been on in my life. There are other things down the road for her and she'll prove it, I promise it. This filly she breaks out of the gate and she's like 'Bring it on, let's go!'"

The Kentucky Oaks was Borel's 900th win - I think he knows a thing or two about horses. And was he ever right. He called it, too, before the race - he said she would do this. Here she is proving him right:

After the race, which she won by a length, her jockey said she did not like the track surface, and was having problems with it. But she STILL won. That pretty much says it all.

Well, actually, maybe this does: Simply The Best (Tina Turner's original video of the song. Click it and see how appropriate this really is! Sorry the embed has been disabled.)

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