Steve Haskin has written a terrific account of Rachel Alexandra’s historic Woodward, on bloodhorse.com. There’s plenty of mise-en-scène and emotion. There’s also accurate reporting on the “whip issue,” and Steve doesn’t run for cover, either. He wrote (bolding is mine):
“Rachel was set down by Borel, who hit her five times right-handed and then three times left-handed. She turned back Bullsbay’s challenge, but here came a fresh Macho Again, who had found a gaping hole at the top of the stretch. The Stephen Foster (gr. I) winner and Whitney runner-up came charging up to Rachel, who was now being barraged with a series of 13 right-handed whips from Borel. Macho Again kept coming, but Rachel kept finding more. The crowd urged Rachel to hold on, their hearts pounding with every stride. At the wire, it was Rachel Alexandra by a head. The place went crazy. Despite her early efforts, she still was able to close her final eighth in :12.81 to complete the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.21. Bullsbay was third, 1 1/2 lengths farther back and 8 1/4 lengths ahead of Asiatic Boy in fourth.
“Did Rachel need to be hit 21 times? Only Borel can answer that. Unlike the British stewards, American stewards pay no attention to such things, so we’ll just have to assume Borel felt the situation was desperate enough to resort to such measures.”
To read the entire piece, click here.