Hall of Famer Bailey weighs in on Rachel Alexandra

Like most of us, former jockey Jerry Bailey, the all-time leading Breeders’ Cup winner with 15 victories, is disappointed Rachel Alexandra is not at Santa Anita this week to prepare for the $5 million Classic.

Yet Bailey is not ready to throw co-owner Jess Jackson under the bus because of his controversial decision to skip the Breeders’ Cup after two-time Horse of the Year Curlin finished fourth in last year’s Classic over Santa Anita’s synthetic Pro-Ride surface.

“He did step out last year and he brought Curlin against the desires of (trainer) Steve Asmussen, who didn’t think it was in his best interests at that time of the year to run him on the synthetic,” Bailey said on an ESPN conference call today. “But he did it anyway, so I got to tip my hat for him.

“Jess did put up a lot of money to buy this filly (a reported $10 million) and immediately took her outside of her division and ran against the boys in the Preakness and eventually in the Haskell, which it’s very unlikely the previous owners would have done. So he did contribute something to the game that I don’t think we would have seen had he not purchased this filly.

“But yeah, I wish she was here, because there would be nothing better than to see her against Zenyatta or both of them against the males. I am disappointed, but I am glad that (Jackson) wants to bring her back next year. So I am looking at the positive on that.”

One thought on “Hall of Famer Bailey weighs in on Rachel Alexandra

  1. It’s obvious in the way Jackson/Assmussen campaigned this horse that they don’t think 1.) she can beat Zenyatta and 2.) that she can make a classic distance. By running in the Preakness but demurring the Belmont and chosing the Haskell over the Travers, they chose the shorter races for the filly, and by running back in the Woodward it enabled them to sidestep the Breeder’s Cup question by saying she was ‘tired.’ The synthetic surface argument is a bunch of sour chardonnay grapes on Jackson’s part; Curlin lost here last year, but Rachel won at Keeneland. Now, I don’t mind the fact that they are running the horse where she can win; she’s a nice horse and she’s had a remarkable season. What I do resent is the way they are trying to move the goalposts. If they want her to be considered the outstanding female of the day, let alone the Horse of the Year, they should ask her the questions instead of running away from them. She beats Zenyatta and proves she can get at least a mile and a quarter and I’ll call her Great. Right now, I have her below Zenyatta and Rags to Riches on the list of female horses of the decade.

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