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Over the years, I've grown to learn that I'm thankful for all things the Lord has bestowed upon me, both in plenty and in want, as I know that even "times of testing" are tools He uses to refine our character and put us in position to better receive and appreciate Him and the good and abundant things He has for us, pressed down, shaken together, and over-flowing. It’s now 2012, a lot has transpired in the last 4 yrs., and I've developed my own photography business that stands on "Quality without Compromise." It's called Sandra Koster Photography, and you can find me at my website, and on Facebook, where I have both a Page and a Group by the same name. My Mission Statement: To bring to you and your families the essence of the moment, those treasures in time that are memorialized by the awesome invention of the camera. There is no part of God's creation, from the moon to the molecule, on land or under the sea, no animal, plant or bug too big or too small for my attentions. From inland, to the slopes of the Rocky Mountains, to the country, to the jungle, to the shores of the tropical seas I pledge quality work, without compromise.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Blogger: The Brock Talk - Post a Comment

Now that we know that 2009 Rachel Alexandra will not be going to Oaklawn Park to meet the undefeated Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom Invitational, our retrospect allows us to confirm what some have suspected all along. Rachel Alexandra seems to have very much enjoyed her vacation and is taking her own sweet time in coming back. And apparently principal owner Jess Jackson is living true to his word that he "will let Rachel Alexandra tells us when she's ready.

Even back in early February, when the $5 million Rachel v. Zenyatta Apple Blossom was on for April 3, a few days later Jackson announced in a press release the race was off. Asmussen was quoted in that release as saying "Getting to this level of fitness after a six-month layoff takes time."

A short time later, the race was back on - this time, scheduled 6 days later on April 9.

Caution Flag!

Even going back to the post Eclipse Award ceremonies when Jackson talked with TVG about Rachel Alexandra's return and awkwardly talked about her first "untimed" work in 17 seconds. I knew a valet in Prescott that could do that in a gunny sack.

But looking at it now, it was probably Rachel Alexandra just not being overly excited about being back at work after six months. We've all been there trying to get back in the swing of things after a holiday.

I suspect on a cold and damp January morning at the Fair Grounds, exercise rider Dominic Terry motioned to Rachel that they were going for a nice easy work. And Rachel responded something like, "uhhh. Yeah! Like a real easy work. Hello?" Hence, the "untimed" work.

Caution Flag.

But like the professional that she is, Rachel soon picked up the pace and we began to see glimpses of her greatness in subsequent morning efforts. All of them were right on schedule and each one more impressive than the last.

But even then, Asmussen was saying in February that “I thought she looked beautiful. She went :50 3/5 today off of her :52 the other day. I think that’s pretty much the progression that we’re expecting.” While in the next breath he was saying they would "do what’s right by her.”

Caution Flag.

Then the loss Saturday to Zardana in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes at Fair Grounds. On paper, Zardana appeared to be a horse Rachel Alexandra could outrun easily. Even with Asmussen facing the difficult challenge of "not tightening the screws" on Rachel's machine until the Apple Blossom, Zardana seemed to be a mismatch.

By Sunday afternoon, the Race for the Ages was off.

It could not have been an easy decision for Jackson either - not with the every fan, media member, horse racing facebooker and tweeter clamoring for it. But somewhere inside the final eighth of a mile in the Ladies, Rachel Alexandra said "Nyet."

My teeth gnashed as much as the next person's. But there are a few things to understand before we all begin to complain, strut, point, and or discount the Horse of the Year vote.

Nobody would have wanted a sub-par Apple Blossom. Even the biggest Zenyatta fans (of which I am one) would experienced an empty victory if a less than prime Rachel Alexandra would have shown up in Hot Springs, Ark.

That was never going to happen. I know the entire Asmussen family enough to know they all speak English, Spanish and French. I've never heard any of them speak equine, but I've seen 'em understand it.

So if Rachel is saying "slow down just a little," I'm glad Asmussen is there to understand it and Jackson is there to listen.

Posted by Brock Sheridan at 9:48 AM

Labels: Apple Blossom Invitational, Jess Jackson, Rachel Alexandra, Steve Asmussen, Zenyatta


Anonymous said...
I totally agree with you. It's pretty aggravating to listen to people who have no contact with the horse to second guess everything about her. She's a top-flight filly, and of course they are going to do right by her. Let's stop all the negative and do right by the horse, as they are obviously doing!

March 15, 2010 2:35 PM
In2Books said...
Amen! Personally, I'd like to see her retire now (there's no shame in 2nd places), and quickly go to visit Curlin in the breeding shed. A 2013 2 yr. old by Curlin, out of Rachel Alexander would be phenomenal...much more so then a mare/filly standoff.

Let's FB and Tweet about the new foal, watching webcams of that entire event unfold over risking her racing any further. Besides, we women all know that having babies while we're young and fit is much better for producing a healthy baby...so too with animals! ;o)

March 15, 2010 3:24 PM
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