“Here’s the wire…Rachel Won!”

Sep 10th 2009 12:23 am |

Of everything written so far about Rachel Alexandra’s historic performance in the Woodward on Saturday, nothing carries more significance than this:

“I think she’s the best I’ve ever seen,” said 96-year-old racing legend John Nerud. “I don’t compare her to anyone. I’m not afraid to say she’s better than Ruffian, because she is. They sent two speed horses after her and made her go in :22 4/5, then they came after her one at a time and she put them all away. Those were tough older horses and they tried everything they could to get her beat and they couldn’t.”

That quote — from Steve Haskin’s brilliant story about the Woodward — is from a man who has spent at least 75 years of his life in racing.  John Nerud has seen Gallorette, Busher, Twilight Tear and every other filly who has raced in this country since the Great Depression.  Can you think of anyone more difficult to impress than someone who has seen it all?  If John Nerud says she is the best – who can argue with that?

I have already watched this at least a dozen times since Saturday — something tells me it will never get old:

What a moment….hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.


Filed in Nerud, John,Rachel Alexandra

5 Responses to ““Here’s the wire…Rachel Won!””

  1. Don In Massachusetts says:

    I was fortunate and blessed to be there. It was electrifying, emotional, and totally unbelievable. The best race and finish I have ever witnessed. I still get chills watching it as I do when watching the Immortal Secretariat's run in the 1973 Belmont Stakes. It sure was historic and I believe that all 31,171 of us there to witness Rachel Alexandra's win, wanted the Woodward to end in this triumph for a awesome filly.
    Thanks for the post

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, a definate classic and glad I was on hand to witness it. The race was much like Holy Bull's Travers win and the crowd had the Smarty Jones feel to it where everyone was rooting for Rachel.
    It's to bad that NYRA isolates Durkin during the race call because the crowd noise was the loudest I have ever heard in my 30 years of attending Saratoga. Why they do this I don't know, maybe something to do with MSG. It's unfortunate. I know when they broke from the gate in the Travers you could here the crowd but that was it.

  3. Bob says:

    Give Tom Durkin credit on one of his best calls of the Saratoga meet. He can really up his game when the historic races are on the line.

  4. The_Knight_Sky says:

    A collective groan could be heard from the west coast as their beloved Zenyatta will be denied the Horse of the Year award for the second consecutive year.

    I'd like to be incorrect, but this is probably the last time we see Rachel Alexandra in a race. Cherish these memories.

  5. sidfernando says:

    John Nerud was a great horseman, but there's some historical significance in his comments about Rachel vs Ruffian. Remember that John never forgave Frank Whiteley, trainer of Damascus, for running Hedevar as a rabbit against Dr. Fager in their storied rivalry. Even 10 years later, in 1978, Whitely's Forego defeated Tartan's Dr. Patches in an allowance race, and that was the year Dr. Patches, a son of Dr. Fager, was named champion sprinter. Whiteley, of course, trained Ruffian.