Monday, August 24, 2009

One brief nugget about the latest Jewel

The Rachel Alexandra-less Alabama Stakes became a rout nonetheless Saturday when Careless Jewel (Tapit-Sweet and Careless, by Hennessy) dusted seven other 3-year-old fillies to win the Grade 1 race by 11 lengths, going away.

It was a fine performance.

It was not a performance worthy of some of the gushing I've heard and seen since, including nitwittery on message boards about how Rachel Alexandra skipped the Alabama to duck Careless Jewel. ... They're serious.

Careless Jewel ran a great race in the Alabama, especially for it being only her fifth lifetime start. She acted up at the gate, had to be checked hard early, sat just off an honest pace set by Be Fair, and then drew off to win by open lengths over Milwaukee Appeal and Casanova Move.

But the margin -- achieved in a year with a very average crop of 3-year-old fillies and in a race run without the division's true star -- might make the win look a little more breathtaking than the time suggests.

Winning time for the 10 furlongs was 2:03.24; decent, but not jaw-dropping. In fact, the time is only the fourth-fastest Alabama in the past 10 renewals (the ill-fated Pine Island, Society Selection in the slop and Flute all were quicker). And it's actually in the lower 50th percentile of Alabama Stakes-winning times over the past two decades; essentially tied for seventh-slowest of the 20, in fact.

Granted, Careless Jewel did more than enough to win, which is what matters most. She ran well despite adversity and has tons of up-side considering this was only her fifth race. It would've been great to see if she'd been able to give Rachel a run for her money in the final eighth, which almost nobody -- colts and geldings included -- has been able to do all year. And at a mile and a quarter, a distance Rachel has yet to run.

Maybe we'll even get to see that someday.


  1. Careless Jewel did very well against the competition she faced. My complaint was that she didn't run against the G1 fillies Stardom Bound, Hooh Why, GabbysGoldenGirl, Just Jenda, or Rachel Alexandra. Milwaukees Appeal and Careless Jewel belong in G1 company. But yesterday, they were in G2 company.

  2. Glenn -- I actually think this is a very strong crop of 3-year-old filles vs. the 3-year-old colts. There's quite a good group, headed, of course, by Rachel Alexandra, but also including one-time super filly Stardom Bound, and now Careless Jewel, along with Gozzip Girl.

    Stardom Bound may not have trained on, but Careless Jewel has taken up where she left off -- both are daughters of Tapit, who now has 3 G1 winners from his 1st crop, all fillies.

    Medaglia d'Oro so far has 2 G1 winners from his first crop, and both are also fillies. Of course, all 10 of his stakes winners to date are fillies, too.

    In 1980, Genuine Risk was considered hands down the best 3-year-old filly, but Bold 'n Determined, who beat her later in the year in the Maskette and altogether won 16 of 20 starts, was considered by some at the time her superior.

    It will be interesting to see what happens in the filly division this fall, and whether Careless Jewel, 4 for 5, will continue to blossom.


I welcome comments, including criticism and debate. But jerks and the vulgar will not be tolerated.