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Some Things You Need To See In Person

The Lady/ChampWith so much high-quality racing on tap for this weekend, one would think that ESPN and/or ABC could make room in their busy schedule for at least Rachel Alexandra’s appearance in the Haskell, but apparently they are more fully committed to their broadcast of the X Games, some sort of NASCAR event, a relatively minor tennis tournament and the very popular ‘Hot August Nights Action.’ The Jim Dandy is also out – there’s an important look back at last year’s Philadelphia Eagles lineup as well as ‘Battle of the Gridiron Stars’ right at post time. Even the return of the Dubai World Cup champion merits no coverage – Well Armed will run in the San Diego Handicap on Sunday, but ABC viewers will have to make do with ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ and more filler on the ESPNs.

So, here’s what you’ll be missing if you don’t get TVG – beginning with Saturday.

First, the usually little-heralded West Virginia Derby gets a boost, thanks to the star power of Derby winner Mine That Bird. While the field isn’t otherwise terribly stellar, he is giving a lot of weight to Big Drama. His come-from-behind style may also hinder him somewhat, as the Quinella Queen, a Mountaineer veteran, notes. I’d still like to see the little gelding win, however – I’ll definitely be pulling for him.

Heading up to Saratoga, the turf fillies are in action in the G1 Diana and the 3-year-old colts in the Jim Dandy. It’s a great field for the Diana, with consistent fillies and mares like Forever Together, My Princess Jess and Rutherienne. I also have an eye on Carribean [sic] Sunset – it should be a good race. This year’s Jim Dandy doesn’t have quite the firepower it might, but Charitable Man and Kensei should make it interesting for each other.

Of course, Sunday is the big day – although we’ll only see one filly running against the boys. Life Is Sweet was also aiming to take on the colts again in the San Diego, but it seems she didn’t care for the Del Mar surface, so she will be passing up the race. Mast Track and Magnum will be lining up to see if Well Armed suffers from the infamous Dubai Bounce – although we can likely expect to see much of this field in the Pacific Classic (perhaps against Zenyatta – we can but hope).

In the absence of television coverage of the Haskell, I’ll be journeying to Monmouth Park to see Rachel Alexandra. Again, one would presume that the Preakness winner taking on the Belmont winner might merit a little media interest, but alas, no. But you and I care, so let’s consider Rachel Alexandra’s chances: she’s by far the class of the field and it’s almost unfair that Summer Bird is forced to lug an extra five pounds – he’s got a single G1 win (well, make that a single graded stakes win, although he was third in the Arkansas Derby) to her three G1s – and that’s not even including her G2s and G3s (and the rest). Add in their very different running styles and unless the filly has a very off day, she finishes well in front of the Belmont victor.

Papa Clem’s career has been something of a disappointment of late, and I’d agree with his trainer, Gary Stute, that he needs to rebuild his confidence – but that was the goal of his entry in the Long Branch, in which Atomic Rain prevailed. He may well finish in the money again (he was third in that race), but I don’t see Sunday as his day. As for Atomic Rain, his participation in the race was questionable due to a sore foot. It seems the foot has improved, but whether it will impact him on Sunday remains to be seen.

Munnings will likely be the wiseguy horse (it’s hard not to like a horse named for an equine artist), but the 1 1/8 mile distance looks to be a stretch for him. His sire, Speightstown, was a pure sprinter, and there is a little more stamina on his dam’s side – but whether that will aid him this weekend is another question.

Naturally, I’m hoping for another decisive win by Rachel Alexandra that will send her on to the Travers – and here’s hoping that the food in the Monmouth Park restaurant is worth what we’re paying for it – and fingers crossed for some great women’s-fit t-shirts! Feel free to keep up via Twitter

3 comments to Some Things You Need To See In Person

  • Anonymous

    LOL..imo Rachel is one of the most overrated horse in recent memory. Nothing against her, she is a very good filly but she is nowhere the hype she is being given. IMO she comes in third in the Haskells behind Munnings and SB.


  • Ares Vista

    You can say what you want about Rachel, but she won. Coming through in the clutch is what makes a great, and Rachel did just that.

  • download music

    Great post! Rachel is a great filly. She ran one of the greatest races ever, IMO.

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