Here you go Risen Star and the others who cant see clearly on this matter.http://www.johnpiesen.com/
PLUS Closing Day At Del Mar promises to be a rewarding one for Piesen followers.
In 2008, the big racing story was Eight Belles.
In 2009, it's eight pounds!
At least it should be.
You would think that maybe just one turf writer -- from Steve Crist and Andy Beyer to the upstate kids -- would have mentioned that Rachel Alexandra was getting eight pounds (126-118) from Macho Again (and everything else) in the Woodward Stakes last Saturday at Saratoga.
Why does this writer have to be the only one to bring up this rather important handicapping point -- namely that eight pounds generally represent about 1 1/2 lengths, and that the difference between Rachel and Macho Again was a head.
"It is what it is," said Terry Finley, the principal owner of Macho Again, in this space a week before the Woodward when asked about the Woodward weights.
In the wake of the race, clearly he can say: "it was what it was."
Now, I'm not saying that Macho Again would have won under level weights. But tell me when was the last time a Horse of the Year -- a title Rachel clinched Saturday -- was getting such a weight break in his or her decisive race.
No, you can't tell me when was the last time...because it had never happened.
Hey, I'm just as enthusiastic as the next fellow about Rachel. And I appreciate the attraction and superstar she has become. I almost got buried in the avalanche of camera-waving Rachelites trying to get up close and personal in the paddock.
And I'm talking last Thursday afternoon when she was schooled between races. Even the owner's wife was snapping away from the first row.
But don't tell me -- like so many of my media colleagues are saying -- that this was the greatest race in history. We are talking here about a 1-5 shot wiring the field WHILE GETTING EIGHT POUNDS FROM THE RUNNER-UP!
You want to see a great race?
Look back no further than that grass race allowance two weeks back when six horses finished noses apart. Now that, my friends, was a great race.
And what's this about the Graveyard of Favorites?
They ran six stakes over the last three days of the Saratoga meeting. The favorite won five of them. And in the one (the Forego) the favorite didn't win, the chalk finished second to the second choice.
And why can't owner Jackson for once be totally honest when asked about the plans for Rachel?
The media asked Jackson in the winner's circle if Rachel will race again this year.
"I don't know. We'll have to see how she comes out of this race?"
There is no way they are going to Rachel again this year. Eight for eight is more than enough.
I'm not knocking Jackson for ducking the Breeders' Cup. He learned his lesson last year when Curlin got beat in the Classic. He then felt he had to bribe the Eclipse voters with bottles of his best wine to get their votes, a strategy that worked.
Let's face it. If Rachel ran in the Classic this year, how confident would Jackson be going against Zenyatta and Sea of Stars at a mile and a quarter?
Macho Again is a nice horse, but he's not in Zenyatta's league -- and notably nor is a mile and a furlong a mile and a quarter.
In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Rachel has run her last race.
If she stops now, she goes down with Ruffian as the greatest 3-year-old fillies in history.
Jackson already has hinted that he wants no part of the mile and a quarter Dubai World Cup. Maybe he would change his mind if they hiked the purse from $6 million to $10 million.
In case you missed it the other day, Jackson said they should spike the Beldame purse to $5 million for a Rachel-Zenyatta showdown.
And talking about great fillies...how 'bout Linda Rice!
All the lovely Linda did at Saratoga was become the first woman in history to win a training title at a major track. As we know, she edged Todd Pletcher by one (20-19) although the Toddster ran 50 more horses.
My lasting image of Saratoga will be Linda entering the winner's circle, carrying a bunch of newspapers under her arm, sweeping her long blonde hair to the side, and hugging her owners.
Too bad, fellas. She has a steady boyfriend...a trainer who is lucky to win one race a month.
Linda needed a little luck to win the Spa title, and she got it on Sunday when the Toddster got beat half a nose in an allowance race by Kieran McLauglin, his good buddy since their days as assistants to Wayne Lukas.
And, on Monday, Toddster got beat on a 2-5 shot that was picked on top by l8 of 18 public handicappers.
Back to Rachel. If I'm wrong, and they do bring her back next year at 4 rather than breed her to Curlin, her first goal no doubt would be the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park.
Let's see now. Since Rachel won the Woodward under 118 pounds in her 3-year-old finale, Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope may be obliged to add one pound to 119.
He is little off stating 8 pounds is 1 1/2 lengths..At 1 1/8 its closer to 5 lengths.