I’m sure horses get as frustrated with us as we do with them when things get lost in translation. But Strictly Rhythm knocked us over the head with the message today: She is ready for vacation, and NOW. She ran at Compiegne in what should have been a pretty easy handicap. Like all trainers with talented by still-maiden fillies, I really wanted to get a win on the books this year because Strictly is likely headed to stud at some point. But I knew we were in trouble when she went into the starting gate like a lamb. Usually, she throws a tantrum behind the gate, and the bigger the tantrum, the better she runs. The few races when that hasn’t happened were her few bad performances. Today, she was slowly into her stride, comfortably settled into second place, accelerated a bit in the stretch but clearly wasn’t going to push it when the other horses went with her. For the first time, she didn’t really try and wasn’t interested in racing. She came back hardly blowing and was more interested in bossing around other horses and looking for food than anything else.
Her owners have yet to decide her future, but I’m really hoping we can give her a bit of a rest and then come back at it as a four-year-old. She has been very unlucky not to have won already; she’s finished with a length of fillies that have gone on to place and win at Group and Listed level. Her handicap mark has now dropped to a reasonable level, and I’m absolutely convinced she will win if we get the chance to go on.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping Rendition doesn’t get eliminated on Friday. She’s entered on the all-claiming card at St. Cloud, but there were 80 entries and only 15 forfeits, so there will surely be eliminations. She has a backup entry at Deauville next week. She has been off after a hairline fracture this spring, and we’re eager to see if she has the stuff to be a racehorse or not. Like Strictly, I’m sure she’ll let us know.