Aug 3, 2009

My Rachel Alexandra

I am not ashamed to say that I did two ridiculously absurd things yesterday: the first being that I seriously woke up at 6:30am and could not get back to sleep, giddy with anticipation with being able to see Rachel Alexandra race later that day; the second was that I gave a completely unironic fist pump upon learning she had romped to victory. Need I say more?

I fully admit that I am obsessed with this big, handsome filly with the broken blaze. She's like my Ruffian, my Secretariat, my Damascus....the list could go on and on, but the point is really just this: I feel like I have been waiting for years to find that one racehorse that I could believe in and on whom I could pin all of my hopes of glory. There have been other horses that I liked and rooted for, but none that caused my heart to skip a beat or made my chest tighten with a fearful combination of anxiety, pride and joy. I unabashedly love her, though what I actually know about her could probably fit on a postcard...with room to spare. I am witnessing a legendary horse during her prime. Not old videos of awesome performances by racing's greats. This is greatness in the present tense and words cannot express how grateful I am to be this lucky.

The funny thing is that she is in a completely different realm, racing-wise, than all of her competitors. When she kicks into a higher gear, the other horses just appear to be standing still. And, like Calvin Borel has said, I do not think that we have seen the limits of her abilities. That thought alone should be both awe-inspiring and terrifying in its implications.

Anyway, here is the video from the Haskell yesterday. Just watch the way she flits over the sloppy track on a loose rein. Calvin Borel is just a remarkable rider and probably a major factor in why she is so successful. I can't put my finger on it, but something in the way he rides her is just so masterful. He is relaxed, quiet, guiding her without interfering with her. I am not a race rider, but I recognize in Borel my own methods of riding good mares by staying out of their way and letting them feel completely in control.

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