Saturday, September 3, 2011

Girl Power...Again

Havre de Grace (red and white silks)
and Blind Luck (pink silks) flying home in the
2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.
Blind Luck finished second while
Havre de Grace finished third.

Horse racing has had many female superstars in the past few years: Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, Rags to Riches, and now Blind Luck and Havre de Grace to name a few. In July, we saw a stirring stretch battle between Blind Luck and Havre de Grace, in which Blind Luck won by a nose. The chestnut daughter of Pollard’s Vision has finished ahead of Havre de Grace in four of their six meetings. However, that does not mean Havre de Grace is lacking in talent. After all, she just won the Woodward Stakes (GI) against males.
It was a very impressive victory for the daughter of Saint Liam. The bay four-year-old filly finished ahead of Flat Out by a length and one-quarter in a final time of 1:49.18. By winning this race, she became the second female in history to win the Woodward.
The first female to win the Woodward was Rachel Alexandra, who won by an official margin of a head over Macho Again, setting a stakes record of 1:48.29. Many have said that Havre de Grace’s victory in the Woodward was much easier than Rachel’s. She did win it more easily, but her final time was also nearly a full second slower, she had only raced four times before the Woodward versus Rachel’s seven, and she had not already raced against males twice prior to the Woodward like Rachel. Besides, Rachel had an extremely easy win against males prior to the Woodward, winning the Haskell Invitational (GI) by six lengths.
Many people believe that Havre de Grace faced tougher, but in fact, on paper, she really did not. In both of the fillies’ Woodward’s, each horse in the race was a graded stakes winner except for one. In both of those races, the horse that was not a graded stakes winner was at least graded stakes-placed. They both faced very tough fields and were wonderful in victory.
Not only are Havre de Grace and Rachel Alexandra now being compared, but Blind Luck and Havre de Grace are caught up in a rivalry. Though rivalry is great for the sport, some of the comparisons can get a little harsh. I believe that each filly should be appreciated for their accomplishments and let it all be spoken on the racetrack. Most of all, horse racing has been blessed with many incredible fillies and mares in the past few years. Let’s just enjoy watching these girls run.

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