It's one of those moments when a champion racehorse becomes a symbol for human aspirations. This year, so many outstanding fillies are out there -- including the remarkable Zenyatta -- that touts are calling it "the year of girl power." But it's 3-year-old Rachel Alexandra that has women and girls flooding to the tracks to see her. Yesterday at Saratoga they packed the rails to see Rachel take on the boys again in the 1 1/8-mile Woodward Stakes. Many were wearing pink hats and dresses -- part of the purse was going to breast-cancer research.
Saratoga is infamous as a track where champions get beat, and Rachel A arrived there 8 for 8, including her destruction of top colts in the Preakness and Haskell. It was her toughest challenge yet -- she was taking on a field of older, experienced male horses, and she'd never raced at Saratoga. And no filly had ever won the Woodward in the race's long history.
But Rachel A didn't disappoint her nationwide cohort of girl fans. Instead of bringing her from off the pace, as he usually does, jockey Calvin Borel had her go to the lead and set a blistering pace, in an effort to burn off the speed horses. In the closing furlong, Rachel had just enough pink left in her to hold off a late charge by Macho Again. She won by a neck.
Yes, women need all the help they can get, with healthcare a huge issue for them, and the President faltering in his reform efforts. I wouldn't mind getting the intelligent total care that this filly gets from her owners, if I could get the human version of that care with my monthly insurance payment...