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Monday, August 3, 2009

Racing Revival

Back in March I penned a post named "Why Can't Racing Generate America's Next Hero?" and it's amazing that the two words, Rachel Alexandra, didn't even show up. My goodness, how things can change in a few short months. Well since then, this super-filly has dominated our sport like no other has in a very long time. She is as close to a hero as we'll ever have. She's on ESPN Sport Center highlights today after winning the Haskell, with a good two to three minutes of statistics, interviews and highlights. She's a topic on PTI, she was a topic on Jim Rome's radio program today. Not too shabby, as the iconic Adam Sandler would say.

There's a lot of talk out there about facing Zenyatta. I stay behind my thoughts from my Godzilla v. Rodan post, most folks outside our little circle of love don't have a clue who Z is. I think she should continue to dominate the 3yo colts and move on to the older males (Travers/JCGC route) and keep rewriting the record books as we know them. In the meantime, she is the lightning rod our sport has been waiting for. Being the first filly since 1915 (Lady Rotha who ironically won via a DQ) to win the Travers would be something to keep this tremendous mo' going. Then on to the older horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, wouldn't that be a nice way to seal the deal? Check out some of the horses that have won the JCGC, it's a who's who of racing lore. Folks (including Jess Jackson) are starting to mention this filly in the same breath as Ruffian. As a relatively new fan of the sport, I don't know anything about how close she is to approaching that level, but based on her accomplishments thus far, she's damn special.

No guts, no glory. Go big or go home. Those are passe cliches, but man do they apply here. She's the freakin' rockstar we need to hitch our concert to. No disrespect to Zenyatta, but no one in the mainstream will even know about her race this coming weekend at Del Mar. It won't get the ESPN-like media light outside of our "other sports" drop down world. I'm telling you folks as a sports junky who has Bills and Sabres tickets, played college hoops, follows golf and just happens to write a horse racing blog, that people outside the sport are talking about Rachel. She's exactly the hero I was talking about. Our sport hasn't ended as it typically does in the mainstream after the Triple Crown series. I ended that hero post with the following sentence:

The Vacancy light is ON, I just hope, for our sports sake, there's a horse or jock out there that flips the switch.

The switch was flipped at Monmouth Park yesterday for a racing revival. Ask any of the 37,000 plus who were there.


Power Cap said...

It was very important that the lightning rod that game needed raced in the triple crown and other three year old races. If she was an older sprinter or turf miler she would be just another anonymous yet brilliant runner like LEROIDESANIMAUX or EXTRA HEAT. The televised three year old races are the only races that register with the masses and the only window of opportunity for racing to go mainstream. It helps that she is a filly as well, it creates a storyline that can snag people across class and gender lines.

EquiSpace said...

PC: Thanks for reading and commenting. One of the reasons I am hoping she runs in the Travers and not the Woodward is that it is scheduled to be televised on ESPN, and the Woodward is only scheduled to be on TVG, HRTV and MSG+. And you know that they can't react quick enough (see Haskell) to change programming. Just another reason that the Travers makes sense from a racing/fan perspective.


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