Mar 15, 2010

Rachel v Zenyatta - It's Off

On Horse Racing - Rachel Alexandra-Zenyatta Showdown Is Off, and It’s a Wise Move - NYTimes.com This article really eloquently expresses my feelings on the whole Rachel vs. Zenyatta thing. As we are all aware by now, over the weekend Zenyatta kicked some ass with her first race back since the Breeder's Cup. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of Rachel Alexandra who appeared to have some trouble, finishing second to a horse that probably shouldn't have even come close to her heels.

The problem is really that Rachel waged a grueling campaign last year and was rightfully allowed to rest for the past 6 months. Alas, all that time off seems to have agreed with her so much that even Steve Asmussen admitted (even prior to Saturday's race) that she was clearly not 100% back in shape yet. A race under her belt probably pushed her closer to that mark, but she's not in racing form and may need some time to get back to that point.

As Joe Drape points out, this is just going to fuel the fires of rivalry between the various Zenyatta / Rachel camps, but it's so ridiculous. This race does nothing to diminish Rachel Alexandra's greatness; it just shows that she's still just an animal that performs according to her strength level and, possibly, mood. Last year's racing card took a lot out of her and only time will tell when she will regain her powers, if she does. And it is possibly she might not. We always have to face that fact. Athletes seem to peak before anyone is ready to give them up. So, we all have to be patient. In the meantime, it is useless to speak of Rachel's inferiority to Zenyatta: she already proved her point on the track and in the legacy she will leave behind. Whether she and Zenyatta ever meet on the track? Well, I'd like to see it, but I won't be devastated either way.

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