JC / Railbird


Blind Luck to Lady’s Secret

Farewell to the rivalry for this year:

While Blind Luck’s rival Havre de Grace will likely use the Beldame as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) against males, Hollendorfer said there is no way his filly will run in that race.

“I’m not running her in the Classic,” he said. “I don’t believe in that. If others want to do it, God bless them. If we win the Ladies’ Classic, that’s plenty good for us.”

Farewell to Horse of the Year, too.

9/22/11 Addendum: About HOTY, Hollendorfer? Hovdey inquires. “If I did the right thing for my horse, I’d say that nothing would make a difference.”

9/29/11 Update: Interesting — the rivalry could resume in 2012. According to their connections, both fillies are expected to race as 5YOs.

Racing’s Big Night

It’s a bit of whirlwind trip, but I made it to Beverly Hills for tonight’s Eclipse Awards ceremony. After following Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta this year, and having had the good fortune to be at both of their emphatic final 2009 races, it seemed foolish not to head to California — especially when a non-stop plane ticket could be had for a small price — to hear which super distaffer would win Horse of the Year.

I’ll be doing the live blog thing below (and occasionally tweeting) beginning around 4:00 PM PT/7:00 PM ET. Since TVG is airing the awards show, and online sources for updates on who-won-what abound, breaking news won’t be my focus. Instead, it’ll be glimpses of what’s happening backstage, literally and otherwise.

‘Rachel’ Round-Up

Early Wednesday evening, news broke that Jess Jackson and partners had bought Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra, with a plan to race the filly, then breed her to Curlin at the end of her racing career. Terms were not disclosed, but rumor pegged the purchase price at $10 million (news reports at $3 to $4 million) and a source close to the deal said ‘Rachel’ could move to trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn on Thursday. (Asmussen said he had heard nothing about a possible transfer.) The possibility that the filly, pointing to the Acorn in five weeks following her scintillating rout last Friday, could start in the Preakness instead was raised, with confirmation that someone from Stonestreet called the Maryland Jockey Club to inquire about supplementing into the race. Should she run at Pimlico, jockey Calvin Borel would be faced with an unusual, difficult decision, choosing between riding the Derby or the Oaks winner in the second leg of the Triple Crown. But Jackson hinted that the Belmont was more likely:

“It fits her history, and I’ve always appreciated how fans in New York are so appreciative of great racing,” said Jackson.

Trainer Hal Wiggins, who scored his first G1 win in a 40-year career with the Oaks, was disappointed, but gracious at hearing the sale was final:

“We hate it but we all feel blessed to have had her through the Oaks and we will always have those memories with our family and friends,” Wiggins said.

Fan reaction was swift. An open letter was hastily typed: Please, don’t break up the team. And a debate began on Twitter over how best to plot a Horse of the Year campaign for the 3-year-old super filly:

“OK, maybe not the Haskell. How about Travers, JCGC, and a BC race (beating the boys or Zenyatta)? That’s a HOY campaign.”

#Belmont and BC Classic would do it, yes. Just the BC Classic would probably do it. Einstein and Well Armed aren’t pushovers.”

She needs to win a classic for HotY. The Haskell won’t get it done with Zenyatta and Forever Together looming.”

“Acorn or #Belmont works for me; agree JCGC and the rest are on the agenda. Skip the #Preakness.”

“Take the Filly Triple Crown, then the JCGC, then the BC … wouldn’t meet Zenyatta … or would she?”

“I would point toward the tiara with a jcgc / classic double. The Belmont has a history of spending horses.”

All exciting possibilities. Now, I’m starting to feel a little energized …