RACHEL LOSES BY A HEAD

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In a shortened La Troienne field, Rachel Alexandra lost for the second time in as many races, this time to the Bill Mott-trained Unrivaled Belle by a head. Previously, last year’s Horse of the Year lost to Zardana in the New Orleans Ladies who finished fourth in this field of six.

UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR EXCLUSIVE VIDEO OF JESS JACKSON’S IMPROMPTU PRESS GATHERING IN MEDIA ROOM AT CHURCHILL DOWNS

LA TROIENNE QUOTES

 
KENT DESORMEAUX (Jockey, Unrivaled Belle, winner) — “Oh, man, my mare was breathing fire today. Billy (trainer Bill Mott) put me on a good one today. I feel like the mouse that stole the cheese. I was hoping to be on the lead here today, but that spot was already taken. So I stayed where I was and waited. I made the lead and Rachel Alexandra passed me at the head of the lane. But my filly came again. Then Rachel passed me again at the eighth pole. But my filly fought back. What a race for her! She was special today.”

 
BILL MOTT (Trainer, Unrivaled Belle, winner) — “I had confidence in my filly today; I thought she’s run very well. But I wasn’t confident we’d beat Rachel Alexandra. I mean we’re talking about a champion filly, the Horse of the Year. I told Mr. Vegso (co-owner Peter Vegso) to expect that we’d run well, but not that we were going to win. But here we are. My filly ran huge. She just ran great. And I don’t think it was that the other mare (Rachel Alexandra) ran poorly. She ran her race, too. We just outdid her. They were eyeball to eyeball there and my filly got her. I saw at the three-eighths (pole) that Kent (rider Kent Desormeaux) was sitting there with a lot of horse. I said ‘All right, we’ve still got something in the tank.’ She ran great through the lane – all heart.”

 
CALVIN BOREL (Jockey, Rachel Alexandra, second) – Borel’s agent Jerry Hissam: ”He’s not going to make a statement. She ran a big race and just got beat. That’s horse racing.”

 
STEVE ASMUSSEN (Trainer, Rachel Alexandra, second) – “She’s just not been as fast as last summer. She ran a good race, but not a great race. She does carry a lot more weight. Calvin (Borel) did absolutely nothing wrong today. I thought he got along with her great today. There’s an old adage in racing: You get paid for what you do, but you pay for what you do. I think there’s some hangover. What we have to realize is there has been improvement since her last race. We don’t need a knee-jerk reaction. The defeat last time put a lot of pressure on. You don’t run a horse expecting to get beat, especially Rachel.”

 
JOSE LEZCANO (Jockey, Morena, third) – “When I asked her, she gave me a big kick. She ran a good race today, especially when you consider who she ran against.”

Read it at the Daily Racing Form


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  • Ida Lee

    Oh NO!!! Not again. I’m too devastated to say anything else right now. …

  • jen

    All I can say is Zenyatta!

  • Backtoyou

    I wonder what BS will be spewing out of Jackson’s mouth this time…

  • Tiznowbaby

    I’ll take Jackson at his word: he said it wouldn’t be a catastrophe if she didn’t win, that their ultimate goal is the BC. Yes, she should have beaten this field, but I’m willing to give her more time. If she comes out healthy, this should move her forward.
    I don’t think, however, she’s going to be the dominant monster she was last year. Or maybe, the girls are just tougher than the boys.

  • sheila

    I am still in shock, I think Steve needs to go back an let rachel train an run the way she did when he got her ! Rachel is just to good to be losing this way to these horse’s !

  • Erin

    Giver her back to Hal!

  • Tiznowbaby

    Erin might have the solution.

  • Lost In The Fog

    They used her up last year. She was amazing but will never be the same again. It’s a shame watching her legacy be tarnished by these defeats. What will JJ’s ego dictate now – more races or a trip to the breeding shed?

  • Glimmerglass

    I wouldn’t shocked if part of the “retooling” is parting ways with Calvin.

    To his credit I think he assumed she was prepared to “go” at the head of the stretch and was on the verge of stretching out. So he didn’t get on her to rock and roll – despite the slow fractions and Kent getting aggressive alongside them – and ride to win as early as was necessary. Yea, I know armchair jockey comment. Guilty as charged.

    Folks pillared Calvin for getting on her hard in the Woodward. Now both 2010 efforts have been exceptional reserved on his part (compared to last year) in the stretch.

  • Ratherrapid

    the prior trainer’s name was : Calvin Borel (who learned his stuff from Carl Nafzger and Street sense).

  • 9 and change….

    Awful lot of hate on here, it seems everyone wants to knock JJ no matter what he does…. Not sure why Zenyatta is even mentioned by some of the commenters, she wasn’t in this race….RA ran great, and so did UNRIVALED BELLE. Mr. Mott had her ready to roll…. comgratulations!!

  • http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com Allan S

    IKiss any thoughts of a Zenyatta – Rachel race. Rachel has peaked and is on the downslide. Retire her before her name gets sullied any further.

  • Noelle

    jen, put a sock in it.

  • easy goer

    Common all. Little bit of overreaction here. Even great horses get beat (check out Seabiscuit’s record) on any given day. No reason to retire Rachael or shame in her defeat. The goal is peak performance by the end of the season. Disappointing yes. But far from apocolypse now!! Let’s not retire her quite yet.

  • js

    How about Hall Wiggins coming out of retirement for Rachel? The only thing I take away from Rachel’s performances is the fact

    1. She’s not as good as everyone claimed she was
    2. The horses she beat last year were very mediocre
    3. She’s not the same horse.

    Personally, I thought she looked tremendous when she jumped out of the gate. Very sharp. She ran a good race, but again, not a GREAT race.

    I hope I won’t be saying the same thing about the mighty ZENYATTA!!!!! I’ll be shocked if she disappoints.

  • ktq

    Calvin rode a great race. Not his fault.

    She is either slow in returning from a hard campaign or last year took too much out of her. She looked awesome in the post parade and trained great leading up, so am concerned that her heart is no longer in it.

  • Tiznowbaby

    Not sure what it says that Macho and Bullsbay finished third last and last in the Alysheba.

  • Anne

    This is her first year of racing against older females and carrying weight. I think the fillies and mares were a good bunch last year and she never ran against them. The males just kept plugging along changing winning positions. Weight matters no matter who you run against
    It was her 2nd start and I think they are trying to find the right approach for her as Wiggins had it figured out. He only gave her a few months after the chip removal and this time she had 6. I don’t think getting beat by a head is a disgrace. A lot of different levels of achievement this year.
    Granted Zenyatta is the only eclipse award winner to come back and win. Of course one is injured so we won’t have a total handle on that until Summer Bird runs.

  • Tiznowbaby

    Anne, Eclipse winner Lookin At Lucky has won.

  • jason

    Unrivaled belle’s time was faster than the colts later in the day……lets see the speed figures for the race before we know if rachel has been regressing or they just caught up to her.

  • Mike

    Im hearing RAs beyer is going to be 104-107.People we need to relax.She doesnt seem disinterested.She seemed very game in the stretch.Give her a few more races to put her back were she was.Its a long season.In November if she stays healthy these races will not have mattered but they are stepping stones.I could see if she faded in the stretch or lost by two or lengths.RA is a great horse and for people to bash her is sad and disgusting.In this day in age everyone wants instant gratification.If she loses retire her?Maybe if she was dead last.She will always be a champ in my book !

  • http://none Draynay

    Lol… these are tune up races boys and girls. The G1 running starts in June. She ran faster at the distance today then she did in any race last year. She got edged by a very good horse on a very good day. The big races are ahead. Maybe some of you need to look up Seattle Slew.

  • Anne

    I forgot about that very difficult win. Poor guy he has had his share of problems and then I added to it by forgetting that win here. Thanks for the correction. So now there are two…
    Thanks Tiznowbaby for being polite about it. :>) Let’s hope he has some Luck tomorrow.

  • http://www.teamvalor.com Barry Irwin

    Hard to watch her getting beat again.

  • Tiznowbaby

    Yeah, I’m hoping he saved up all his luck for Deby day.

  • natalie

    I’m with 9 and change…I understand that there was debate about Z vs. RA before the HOY award and I hate to tell you guys this, but: that particular race is over. For better or worse, whether you agree or not, the only arena in which they ever truly competed was decided a long time ago. I don’t pretend to know what happened with Rachel, but I don’t think it’s very constructive to compare her performance here with that any horse who wasn’t a) entered in this race or b) predicted to enter. Z fits into neither of those categories, and what’s more getting on message boards to type one name or the other in capital letters isn’t going to convince anyone who isn’t already a fan of one or the other, so can we all agree to drop that game already?

  • Regman

    Take off the darn figure 8 noseband; she clearly hates it. Tongue hanging out now. Last year raced with no noseband. No tongue, even as of last race. Some mares/sensitive horses can’t stand their mouths being clamped shut.

  • Cris

    I agree with Regman, she does hate that bridle. She has improved on the last race, note, the horse that beat her last time was soundly beaten today. Once again two horses in the lead and nothing close to them. Kent’s horse was sharp and wanted it a little more. RA does not like the new stuff she has been put through and she just won’t try past a point. Today you could see it was there, but those last two jumps would have taken something from her she was no longer willing to give.

  • http://seriocity.blogspot.com Kay

    ZENYATTA!!!!

    Kidding.

    Rachel’s two races are a puzzle, because they looked exactly the same. Beat by two different horses in exactly the same way. So they add the figure-8 and Calvin keeps her far off the rail and never asks her for separation. Isn’t that sort of her thing? Last year, she was allowed to be aggressive out front and then she’d separate herself a bit at the head of the stretch and hold on. It seems that she’s been handled quite conservatively in her two starts this year. She doesn’t look rank or anything. She seemed to relax well today, but she also never seemed quite happy. Her ears moved around a little but she pinned them a lot, too. She didn’t change leads right off the turn, which is worrisome. And her head really came up when that other filly came to her. Why isn’t Calvin showing more confidence in her? I can’t imagine that she’s hurt. I don’t think Asmussen would put her in the gate if that was the case. But something’s going on with her and it doesn’t seem like they have figured it out.

    Sure, she got beat by two very nice fillies but shouldn’t she be handling them? Maybe not Zardana in her first start in six months, but Unrivaled Belle (no matter how good she is) at a mile and a sixteenth, over a track she wicked adores? Her works have been fast and I like that she’s been getting 6F works. And then Jackson backpedals right before the race and says she’s “only” 95%. Shouldn’t a 95% fit Rachel beat these fillies? Or does she not get fit off her works and gallops? I don’t know her preparation well enough to know, but given how confident everybody was in her until right before the race, she should have fought that other filly off. She’s just barely been beat in both starts but it makes me think about Genuine Risk and Lady’s Secret and Winning Colors and how much they did NOT want to run that next year.

    I will say one thing in comparison with Zenyatta. Last year, until the Woodward, Rachel had some fire in her eyes. You could almost see her gritting her teeth and daring those other horses to come and get her. She seemed desperate in the Woodward, and a little lost in her two starts this year. Zenyatta is always a happy horse. A lot of that is due to how confident Mike Smith is on her but also how she’s treated on a daily basis. She seems content when she’s galloping, training or cooling out. She seems to relish everything but it seems to have gone out of Rachel. For me, that’s the biggest difference between them right now.

  • bob Hope

    An incredible performance by both fillies. Rachael was a bit too fresh and didn’t rate kind early. The tongue-tie was not a pretty sight
    and ranks right up there with the lip chain that Steve likes to employ. Professionalism is measured in very fine bits and takes a long time to acquire totally. Let’s hope Rachael comes back perfect. She is a beautiful specimen!

  • Ken Woodall

    Record Oaks crowd went to watch 3 year old females race along with the horse who at 3 was named Horse of the Year! he biggest crowds in racing are the ones who watch and bet 2 and 3 year olds everywhere, and of course several BC races are for “younger” horses or are entered by younger (2 and 3 yr olds).
    Most of the horseplayers are older. In racing on a daily basis we have older people running racing on the front and backside; older rules and older, complicated handicapping methods; older traditions such as shunning female jockeys and trainers, at least to some degree.
    But maybe worst of all. we have race horse who at 4 or so years old are retired due to slowness or soreness, when their life span in into the 20′s, and the fact is that the general public knows this. And that is the way racing advertises iitself everytime you pick up a program or form and see the racing condition (And OLDER); horses 4 years and beyond qualify for an Eclipse award for being “OLDER”. If we want younger fans and bettors, we need to eliminate the word “OLDER” from racing!

  • Equine Avenger

    Kelso, five time horse of the year.

    Off from Nov 1961 to May 1962, finishes 6th beaten 8 lengths in the Metropolitan. Comes back and wins a soft alw race. Then finishes 2nd in his next two races before finally putting it together.

    Off from Nov 1963 to May 1964, finishes 8th beaten 9 lengths in the Los Angeles Hdp and 6th beaten 8 lengths in the Californian before getting into a groove.

    Lets get real here people.

  • Lost In The Fog

    Equine Avenger,

    No offense meant but this is not the 1960′s and very few top-tier horses today (other than a handful of geldings) will ever have 63-race careers like Kelso did. These days (though I don’t like it) it’s all about racking up as many graded stakes victories as possible in a short two, three or four year career and then off to the breeding shed where the real money is made. In that context it’s a big deal that Rachel has lost her two races this year. Hopefully they can turn things around…

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