Jess Jackson, co-owner of Rachel Alexandra, did his best to try to convince national turf writers that skipping this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita is the right thing to do during a teleconference this week. Problem was, he was a little off on some of his facts.
Example #1: When explaining why he did not want Rachel Alexandra to run over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface even though she won by 3 1/2 lengths over the Polytrack at Keeneland as a 2-year-old, Jackson said: “She had no competition, it was a maiden race and she did it mainly on her athletic skill. With no relative competition it was an easy win for her.” Actually, it was a first-level allowance race, not a maiden event. Who knows, Rachel Alexandra might be even better on synthetics than dirt. It’s possible.
Example #2: Talking about Rachel Alexandra possibily running as a 4-year-old, Jackson said the lure of racing in the Breeders’ Cup on dirt at Churchill Downs in 2010 would be a huge incentive to keep the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro around for another year. “I’d love to be there, and maybe that’s where Zenyatta can meet us someday,” Jackson said. Uh, Jess, Zenyatta is a 5-year-old and her connections have already said this is her last year of racing.
I can’t blame Jess Jackson for doing what he thinks is best for his filly, but to hide behind Curlin’s loss last year in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, saying it was the track that got him beat, is just plain wrong. Curlin had never run on a synthetic. Rachel Alexandra has and did quite well. I can understand Jackson not wanting to stable his filly at a venue that has an artificial track and race her continually over synthetics, but a one-time deal? During the Super Bowl of horse racing? Not going is the wrong decision.