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Rachel Alexandra upset by Persistently in the Personal Ensign

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Rachel Alexandra, 2009 Horse of the Year, ran an all-out and gutsy race in the mile and a quarter Personal Ensign but was run down in the final furlong by 20/1 long shot Persistently.  Life At Ten, the strong second choice, finished third.

1st: Persistently (45.00, 8.10, 3.60)
2nd: Rachel Alexandra (2.30, 2.10)
3rd: Life At Ten (2.10)

Splits: 23.66, 47.73, 1:12.02, 1:37.54, 2:04.49

Chart (via DRF.com)

UPDATE: According to the DRF Formulator charts, Persistently earned a 95 BSF, Rachel a 94.  

I'll have a larger post on this race and all of this weekend's stakes races later on, as there is a lot to talk about, but just a few thoughts on the Personal Ensign:

  • Rachel ran her butt off in this race.  She had to do all the dirty work on the front end and she put away a very formidable opponent in Life At Ten.  That, in and of itself, is very impressive.  She ran fast and she ran hard.
  • It's hard not to watch Rachel run in that race and not come to the conclusion that she would be extremely vulnerable in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.  The pace in the Classic isn't going to be any lighter than the Personal Ensign (most likely), and she would have to deal with much classier closers, like Zenyatta and Blame, as well as a longer stretch drive.  Unless her connections can turn her into a horse that can rate much more effectively (which somewhat eliminates her biggest strength - her high cruising speed), I think she is going to have trouble getting a mile and a quarter.
  • It's always tough to compare times from different days but the final time of 2:04.40 for the Personal Ensign is not good.  Perhaps the track isn't as fast as it was on Saturday but that is a full second slower than the Travers and that wasn't one of the quicker Travers we've seen.