Jessica Chapel / Railbird

Perfection

Frantasticulous

The Champion Stakes wasn’t Frankel’s most brilliant win (replay), but it didn’t have to be. His winning margin was 1 3/4 lengths, well below his average, and the provisional ratings of 139 from Timeform and 137 from Racing Post put the race slightly below his best. But he exits a perfect 14-for-14, and that’s what everyone in the stands at Ascot was there to see.

Sad as his retirement might be, take comfort that Frankel will endure:

One day far in the future, after all those who will watch his final race at Ascot are gone, a horse may win a Classic at Epsom or maybe Newmarket, and someone in the grandstand will trace through its pedigree, come upon the name of Frankel and think to themselves: “Ah, the mighty Frankel. Now there’s a horse I’d have loved to see racing.”

Today, though, wouldn’t you like to hug Frankel too?

I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” says rider Tom Queally. So have we.

3:10 PM Addendum: Love this detail from Sporting Life’s Champions Day live blog: “Even the Queen hung around to look at this incredible beast.”

10/21/12 See Also: From the BBC, facts about Frankel, such as, his total winning margin in 14 races was 76.25 lengths.

Painful Perfection

Brian Zipse asks why Blind Luck gets a pass that Rachel Alexandra didn’t:

I understand that Rachel was held to a higher standard, as the reigning Horse of the Year, but to what end? Have we become so expecting of perfection of our stars, that they simply can not live up to them. Do we not allow ourselves to fully enjoy the special ones, because of these expectations?

Simply, yes.

There’s something about repeated brilliance that inspires a fear of loss (a fear not specific to racing). It’s sentimental. We can’t stand to lose the magic.