Weekend Overview: The two best horses in the nation were in action this weekend and while fans will have enjoyed seeing them win all the focus is on how we get them to face each other. Zenyatta's owners seemed very keen to chase Rachel Alexandra in the hopes of getting Horse of the Year. They rightly recognize that the path they had originally set out for her would not add up to anything other than a divisional Eclipse Award. Rachel Alexandra is the horse to catch for Horse of the Year and Zenyatta will have to come and get her. Unfortunately for all would be challengers Rachel Alexandra just looks like she's in a zone right now. She beat nothing but she was moving very sweetly and recorded a very fast time. Zenyatta on the other hand seemed to take a while to get into the race even though she was being asked a long way out. She won as she always does but this was not her best race. Euphony continued her roll in the minor stakes races with a nice win in the Iowa Distaff while Jonesboro seems to be finding the best form of his life as he took the Cornhusker. It was the first G-2 win for the 7 year old who seems to still be loving life after 40 career starts. Rahy's Attorney, Black Mamba and Porte Bonheur were the other notable race winners this weekend. It also should not go unnoticed that Dutrow has now nursed Wishful Tomcat through 3 straight stakes wins. They have all been in state-bred company but he's getting nice figures and he's already a G-3 winner on the dirt as well as a minor stakes winner on the grass. Other than a rough 3 race skid with Bobby Frankel, Wishful Tomcat has been a very consistent and very dangerous speed horse.
Thoroughbred Championship Rankings: The question of the First-half Horse of the Year is easily settled. It's Rachel Alexandra. She has been leading the standings for the last 7 weeks and her latest victory only widened her lead. Rachel Alexandra has had one of the most impressive half seasons in recent history. Her score of 252.84 virtually ensures her a top 10 overall finish even if she never ran again. If she wins 2 or 3 more races I don't think it will be possible for anyone to catch her. Kodiak Kowboy overtook Fabulous Strike again to take the lead in a limp Male Sprinter division. No one has really stepped up and made this division their own.
Power Rankings: It's official, Rachel Alexandra is the top horse in the nation by every measurement I've got and at her current rating of 31.61 she is the best 3yo filly I've got on record (1999 to the present) and the third best female period. She ranks behind only Zenyatta from 2008 and Azeri from 2002. Power Rankings do decline with losses though so Rachel Alexandra will have to keep up her high level of performance for the rest of the season to maintain or better her lofty status. Zenyatta's first G-1 win of the season saw her take a huge jump in the rankings. She moved all the way into third among the older females, another win may just put her in front. Rahy's Attorney and Porte Bonheur were the only other significant movers in the Power Rankings. Both horses broke into their divisional top 5's for the first time this year.
Performance of the Week: A horse that was at his most impressive was Rahy's Attorney. He won the King Edward going wire to wire and earning a 106 Beyer for his effort. It's not easy to go 9f at Woodbine all the way on the front end, especially with good horses like Sterwins and Society's Chairman in the race. He went the first quarter pretty slowly but then Sterwins rushed up to force the issue and Rahy's Attorney drilled his next 3 quarters in :23.20, :22.52 and :22.43. Hardly any horse can close into those kind of numbers. He finished off his last furlong in :11.95 to score a comfortable length victory. Sterwins stayed on for second but the winner just never came back to him. Rahy's Attorney seems to have picked up where he left off at Woodbine last year. He won the Woodbine Mile over Kip Deville and Ventura last year before finishing off the season with a couple of poor efforts out of town. But back at Woodbine he lost the Connaught Cup on his seasonal debut by a head but turned the tables on Sterwins in emphatic fashion here in the King Edward. His last 3 Woodbine Beyer figures have been 106, 101 and 107. He ought to make any potential shippers think twice about coming to Woodbine.
Race of the Week: I loved Churchill's Debutante as a visual spectacle. Although the stretch battle between Decelerator and Wild Forest Cat was a bit messy, with plenty of bumping it was a fantastic contest between the top two. Two year olds often have problems keeping a straight course when under severe pressure and the top pair in this race were under the most pressure possible. They both wanted to win and they really threw it down for the length of the stretch. I'm already looking forward to Act II at Saratoga.
Flop of the Week: Carolyn's Cat came into the First Flight Handicap as a legitimate favorite in good form but she wound up involved in a speed duel that cost her all respectability. She failed to beat a single horse in the First Flight. I don't know if she just didn't show or if I should be getting after Garcia for the ride. But either way her last place finish was a massive flop.
Tip O'the Cap: It seems as if the match up between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta has fallen to the Moss's and NYRA to organize. Jackson has trumpeted himself as a sportsman but he's not the one that is looking to make this match up a reality. I'm glad Mr. Moss can see that his horse's initially proposed campaign was not tough enough to earn Horse of the Year. To be Horse of the Year you can't just be the most talented you have to earn it. Sending Zenyatta to New York in search of Rachel is a nice step towards earning the right to be Horse of the Year. The Breeders' Cup Classic has also been mentioned as a possibility so this week I'm doffing my cap to ambitious plans. I sure hope they become a reality.
KC Handicapping: Another tough week for me at the windows. I was encouraged by Soul Warrior's good second in the Iowa Derby. A 2nd place finish as a 13/1 shot is a decent performance and i was much more confident about my other two picks. I really could not believe that both Native Ruler and Victory Pete missed the frame. That was pretty unbelievable. Nothing is coming easy for me at the moment.
The good news is that I'm still alive in the Survival at The Shore contest. I've lasted 26 days and that is apparently long enough to earn a lifesaver (a one time free pass if you strike out) 4,266 handicappers entered and just 496 remain. I'm pleased to be one of them.
Weekly Record: 3(3)-0-1-0 (-$6.00 -100.00% ROI)
Overall Record: 780(436)-133-124-99 (-$159.90 -10.25% ROI)