The following was the hardest racing-related article I've ever had to write. Thank you, Rachel, for the ride of a lifetime...
The first time I ever saw Rachel Alexandra was on April 30, 2009 at Churchill Downs. It was Thursday morning, the day before the Kentucky Oaks. It took less than 30 seconds for her to convince me I was looking at a creature unlike anything I'd ever seen with my own two eyes.
I'd been waiting with my husband and Steve, a new friend we met at the morning works, on the landing at the winner's circle. I was giddy with anticipation in the hopes of getting my first glimpse of Zenyatta, and Steve, a Churchill regular and great racing fan, kept telling us, "I can't wait until you see Rachel." And that morning, the big track screen in the infield announced her arrival for one last jog before the Oaks, and we drew in our breath as she came circling around that hallowed bend toward us. Words fail me when I try to accurately describe that moment, so I can only throw out similes and metaphors in the hopes of relating what it was really like to be there on that morning and see her.
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