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(Mostly) the Correct Outcomes

Almost all of last weekend’s stories played out exactly as scripted – Sea the Stars continued his march to greatness in Ireland, while we here in the US continued to enjoy Rachel Alexandra’s assault on the history books. Even Pyro made an exciting comeback, while only unlucky Einstein just missed out on getting the win he very much deserved.

Sea the Stars took the Irish Champion Stakes in highly impressive style (which is to say, his usual style) and Timeform have, somewhat controversially, awarded him a rating of 140 – which would rank him with all-time greats like Mill Reef and Shergar. It seems churlish to nitpick, but it’s worth pointing out that he’s been largely beating the same group of horses and that his campaign has been planned to avoid soft ground – but he should face some strong competition in the Arc. The Breeders’ Cup is looking very unlikely, as is any talk of a campaign next year – but I do wonder whether he could beat Goldikova at the mile. It’s a shame we will likely never find out – it would be wonderful to see him at 4.

Of course, there are accolades aplenty for Rachel Alexandra’s historic victory in the Woodward; owner Jess Jackson is likely to give her the rest of the year off (and she has certainly earned that). Her eight starts (and, of course, eight wins) this year have each been spectacular in their own way – and having Horse of the Year wrapped up in September is fine by me. In case you’re curious, Sea the Stars has only five starts this year – and eight starts lifetime; on this side of the pond, Zenyatta has started three times so far this season, and only iron horses Einstein and Macho Again can boast six starts this year. (Awesome Gem has seven starts, but I don’t see anyone putting him forward for Horse of the Year). I think we’ve been more than privileged to follow Rachel Alexandra along through her historic season – let her have her break and come back refreshed next year. Let’s also give credit to Macho Again, who ran quite a race for second – he certainly deserved to be there and to be part of history. I stand by my statement that Rachel Alexandra’s drive to stay ahead of Macho Again in the closings strides was not unlike the Millennium Falcon being shot out of the exploding Death Star at the end of Return of the Jedi. Only better.

Pyro was certainly looking brighter in the Forego, in which he finally landed a G1 win; it was his second start back after time off, and sprinting clearly suits him. It’s nice to see a promising horse finally find his groove.

Richard’s Kid was certainly an upset winner in the Pacific Classic, but runner-up Einstein has nothing to be ashamed of – he put in a tough, gritty effort that would have gotten a win nine times out of ten – this time happened to be an outlier. Richard’s Kid benefited from an outstanding ride from Mike Smith, but I wonder where we will see him next. Colonel John had a bad trip, but also looked a bit tired – maybe next time. In any event, Einstein seemed quite at home on a Southern California surface – I’d love to see him win a Breeders’ Cup race.

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