Rachel Retires

I debated all night about commenting on Rachel Alexandra’s retirement, there’s certainly already a slew of folks who’ve already met that call—Glenn Craven and The Paper Tyger sum up my feelings the best—and I’m not sure I have much to add to their comments.

But as I was thinking last night about her career and all of the great moments she gave the sport, my own personal moment stood out. I made my first pilgrimage to Saratoga this summer, and was lucky enough to walk around the backstretch. Armed with a borrowed professional digital camera, I was utterly enthralled by the place, and it seemed like every turn offered something new and wonderful. I thought about how lucky I was to be a racing fan in a place that personifies (to me) what is good and beautiful about the sport.

Hoping to see Rachel, we made our way to the track a bit earlier the last morning we were there. Standing on the rail at Oklahoma, she galloped by, and I got a few blurry shots.

Morning Gallop

After she went by, we continued our journey, taking a swing by her barn, and there she was, with her groom. No crowds, no noise, no other horses, just a beautiful morning—the kind of which I’m convinced only happens at Saratoga. We kept a respectable distance, snapped a few pictures of the Horse of the Year, and kept moving. I paused as we walked away, dropped my camera, and took a second to look back and silently thank her, as a fan, for everything.  It was a perfect moment.

Quiet Moment

Like so many others, I’ll remember her successes on the track, but I’ll also remember that quiet, appreciative moment that made my first trip to Saratoga even more special than it already was.  Good luck in your retirement, Rachel. Thanks for the memories.

So long...

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4 Responses to Rachel Retires

  1. Susan says:

    Nice writing. And lucky you to get to visit the track and her, in those quiet moments.

    As for her retirement, my feeling is that the decision is the best for her, and sets a positive example in the racing industry.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for the comment, Susan, I certainly was very lucky!

    I wish I were convinced that it were the best for her. It was such a bizarre announcement after a strong work. To me, it seems like she was still in the game and performing well, if not to the level she was last year. I think for me, the hardest part, is that it seems as though she’s been horribly managed from the get-go this year. I can’t help but feel that we would’ve seen a much better horse if better decisions had been made. And that, to me, isn’t fair to her, she deserved better.

  3. Thanks for the mention, JM. I love your pictures and so enjoyed your sharing your special RA moment at Saratoga with us. What a great memory for you 🙂

  4. Susan says:

    Well, I can’t guess at why she was retired so suddenly. When she leaves the track, I imagine she’ll leave a huge number of fans wondering why now. My gut reaction, after disappointment, was to be glad she would leave racing uninjured.

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