JC / Railbird

Not So Blind

I knew I was in trouble with It’s Tea Time when her name kept surfacing in blog posts and tweets Saturday morning as a top Oaks pick. It was shades of Sweetnorthernsaint in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, watching the hype build. “It’s official: the first ‘blogger steam’ horse in history is It’s Tea Time,” remarked @HRFattheTrack. At 7-1, well down from her morning line odds of 15-1, the filly went into the gate as the third favorite.

Blind Luck, of course, was the favorite, and there was no doubt she was a deserving 6-5 at post time as she did her thing in the stretch, ranging up on the outside and nailing the win at wire by a nose over 13-1 Evening Jewel:

Final time for the race was 1:50.70 (chart), for which Blind Luck was given a Beyer speed figure of 94. The official teletimer photo:

Official teletimer photo from Churchill Downs of the 2010 Kentucky Oaks finish

It’s Tea Time? She finished ninth.

Earlier on the Churchill card, disappointment for HOTY fans: Rachel Alexandra lost her second start of the year, finishing a head behind 9-1 Unrivaled Belle in the LaTroienne Stakes, prompting Bill Finley — who must have had this piece already written, so quickly did it go up on the ESPN site — to opine,

The prudent course will probably soon become obvious to Asmussen and Jackson, and Rachel Alexandra will be retired. That sure seems like the right thing to do.

But Jess Jackson, in a post-race visit to the press box, said the 4-year-old filly appeared to come out of the race well and would remain in training:

Jess Jackson quotes

(Paulick Report video of the surprise press conference: Part 1, Part 2.)

While Jackson’s statements may seem a little rushed, I can’t fault him for wanting to check any speculation about retirement; Rachel Alexandra deserves another start. To paraphrase Jay Hovdey, she’s not running badly, she’s just not winning, and there are plenty of races remaining in the year.

11:00 AM Addendum: A final time of 1:42.97 for the LaTroienne, a Beyer speed figure of 103 for both Unrivaled Belle and Rachel Alexandra.

1 Comment

It was not a catastrophe, and that even nameful and ordinarily good turf writers are suggesting that a horse that’s still competitive at a high level (and may again be at the highest) has to be retired makes me incredibly thankful those people weren’t around when Seabiscuit ran.

Protecting her memory and dignity? She’s a horse, for crying out loud, she doesn’t read what the papers write about her.

Posted by malcer on May 1, 2010 @ 9:27 am