Originally posted as my latest article at Smilepolitely.com:
If Curlin taught me anything in the Breeders' Cup last year, it's that the best horse doesn't always win the race. Look also at the 2009 Stephen Foster where the sure bet, Einstein, was blocked in the whole way 'round and never got an opening, having to settle for third place to Macho Again, a horse he could beat by daylight on any given day. Some will say last week's Travers is also an example of this notion, as the blazing Quality Road was boxed in and cornered on the rail, where a river of water had him logged until it was too late to work him into stride, and the lead was quickly surrendered to a free-floating Summer Bird. We like to think our heroes are invincible, but even Superman had his Kryptonite.
This is why Rachel Alexandra's foray into the Woodward is a little unsettling: she is daring to challenge history at Saratoga Race Course, the notorious "Graveyard of Champions;" it was here that Man o' War was handed his only defeat in 21 starts, here that the mighty Secretariat was beaten by Onion, here that the name Jim Dandy would ring forever, when the 100-1 longshot beat the Triple Crown winner, Gallant Fox. It was here that a horse named "Upset" became a vernacular in the world of horse racing, synonymous to when a favorite is undermined. Rachel Alexandra won't just be battling older horses in the Woodward, she will attempting to vanquish the spirits of Saratoga...
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In undercard news, I'll be rooting for my boy, Pyro, in the Grade I Forego; it's Race 9 at Saratoga, directly before the Woodward. He'll be going for his first Grade I victory, and the hard-knocking little horse deserves it. It won't be an easy task, but his last race proved he's come back to form as a 4-year-old. I don't know if anyone has yet figured out what distance he likes best. Seven furlongs has me worried, I'll admit; a mile seemed more to his liking. Anyway, go Pyro! and happy Woodward day!