It's almost more about the old racecourse versus the champion than the other horses in the Woodward today. As everyone knows, the place is nicknamed "the Graveyard of Champions", and one filly champion takes to the gate today to try and put that nickname aside and become the first filly to win the Woodward since its inaugural race in 1954.
Here's the one list, the Jess Jackson filly wants to stay off of:
Man o' War
I could list twenty more. Some races, such as the Jim Dandy, were named after the horses who pulled giant upsets at Saratoga. Allen Jerkens, the Giant Killer who trained horses that beat Kelso three times, and Forego, Buckpasser, Skip Away and Gentlemen once, tried to explain it in the foreward of Bill Heller's novel Graveyard of Champion: Saratoga's Fallen Favorites:
"It's kind of hard to explain the upsets at Saratoga. It's the middle fo the year when some of the horses are tailing off slightly, like the 3yos that have been running hard in the spring. That could be one of the reasons. The track, the feed, and the altitude are a tiny bit different. And there are so many horses from different parts of the country racing at Saratoga. Some of them coming in are better than we thought. I think some horses just take to the climate. It's been hot at Belmont; then it kind of gets nice up there. The evenings are cooler. Some of the horses like the track. I always liked it."
Today, the filly who has captured the fancy of America's racing public, takes on her biggest challenge and it's not just the older males, it's the legend of Saratoga that beckons.