Macho Again Just Misses Rachel Alexandra in Woodward
Adrenaline. It's one word. It's a rush. It's a response to stress or excitement. It's what makes people do extraordinary things well beyond their normal expectations. At 5:52 on Saturday afternoon, 17 Partners and scores more friends and family experienced exactly what adrenaline can do to you.
On a day when history was made, our gray colt came less than two feet from rewriting the final chapter of this history book. Running last, nearly nine-lengths back, with three-eighths of a mile to run, Macho Again launched a furious rally that nearly catapulted him past one of the best fillies ever to set foot on a racetrack. The traffic would not part as neatly as we wished, but Macho Again remained undeterred. He picked his way between horses leaving the vanquished in his wake. He surrendered first run to Whitney winner Bullsbay. It did not matter. Bullsbay would yield to the gray ghost in the final furlong. Then there was only one target remaining. A filly whose presence in the race had many handing her the victory before the gates even opened. However, if this race was designed to be a coronation, uneasy was the head that wore the crown. Macho Again loomed like a specter outside the super horse named Rachel Alexandra. She responded like a champion by digging deep for more. Macho Again would not relent staging one last lunge in the shadow of the wire. However, just as in every race, no matter the level, the finish line came. When it did, Macho Again fell a diminishing head short of racing's biggest star. However, nobody could deny exactly how hard Macho Again made Rachel work. Over time his effort may be a footnote to history, but anyone who watched the race will know just how tough Macho Again really is.
So, as we sit here looking back on one of the most thrilling races in history, think back to those 30 seconds when you saw Macho Again launch his bid. If you're like me you'll remember feeling your heart beating so hard that it felt like your chest was going to explode. You'll remember feeling the adrenaline coursing through your system faster than the speed of your breath.
You'll realize why we all love this sport. That was the feeling of owning a thoroughbred. That was the passion. Nothing in sports matches it.
Macho Again's trainer Dallas Stewart said, "I thought we were going to get her (Rachel Alexandra). I am not sure Macho Again ever really saw her after he passed Bullsbay. I won't lie. It was tough to come that close and fall short. You have to give the filly all the credit. She gave everything she had, and we gave her everything she could handle. We're just starting to see how good Macho Again can be. He's a special horse."
Jockey Robby Albarado said, "What can I say? My colt was eye-to-eye with one of the best horses we'll ever see. I thought I had a huge chance, but she dug in every time I came at her. She's a true champion. That's what champions do."
Macho Again has a bright future ahead of him. He continues to improve with each race. The "little grey horse that could" will likely make his next start in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park on October 3. We hope he gives us the same adrenaline rush we experienced on Saturday.