Sunday, May 17, 2009

Is the Belmont Necessary?

Rachel Alexandra proved her new owners, trainer and regular rider right - she is much the best of this somewhat depleted crop of three-year-olds. 

With Big Drama the only other horse to break for the lead (after stumbling and then heading out to the three-path) Rachel Alexandra's hustle to the front was not as difficult as it could have been. Pioneerof the Nile, Papa Clem and Friesan Fire could have made the filly's trip to the front more challenging by breaking cleanly and contesting the early pace. (Why they didn't is my $64,000 Question for the day after). 

Even though jockey Calvin Borel said his horse did not handle the track, her race was won heading into the clubhouse turn and then, when none of the colts contested her heading into the stretch. 

The second big question is why should Rachel Alexandra's connections bother with the 1 1/2-mile Belmont. There really is nothing left for the filly to prove. Why not point her to the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. For me, the mid-summer Derby has a lot more intrigue and possibility of victory than the difficult distance and timing of the Belmont.

For the record my top choices (Musket Man and Papa Clem) were right were I expected them, behind the first flight. Papa Clem didn't fire and Musket Man was courageous and all heart as always. As a final back up trifecta, I put Rachel Alexandra on top with Musket Man and Papa Clem in the second spot with seven others for third, including Mine That Bird. So within four jumps to the wire I had the tri. Oh well - that's why they call it gambling.

It will be interesting to see where Rachel Alexandra heads next...

1 comment:

  1. I would agree that the Belmont is not necessary. Another race in three weeks at the 1 1/2 mile distance could be just a bit too much for even as talented a filly as Rachel Alexandra to overcome.