Pixie ran 4th of 17 runners today in her first race back since January, and while I had hoped she would win, she ran probably the most relaxed, best race of her career. Her gallop was relaxed and steady, with no pulling, which is a miracle for her. She has a bad back, and she tended to want to bowl along out front in her previous races; she won wire-to-wire in Maisons-Laffitte last year and was beaten in races since because she insisted on trying to do it again. But today, she sat in the pack and finished very well, which is really encouraging for the future. She decided to take a big breath just as the pace quickened in the stretch, then was blocked when she had the gas to move. When she did find room to run, she came on wonderfully and fought back to steal fourth place by a head. She recovered quickly and came home well, so it seems we’ve done our work with her and now can finally enjoy it!
The strategy for the race was really just to see how she wanted to run it. I told Nadege that if she needed to go to the front, go ahead, but see what was best for Pixie – the primary objective was not to fight with her and see how she wanted to run. She is a very touchy – but talented – horse, and it’s best not to get in the way sometimes. So given that, I’m really pleased she ran correctly and relaxed. While this race was just a low-level claimer, it was a big step forward for her in running style and I think we can look for better things to come. (It also, despite being the easiest race on the card, was the fastest mile of the day at 1 minute 38 seconds.) We will probably try her at a slightly longer distance next time out, possibly 1,800 meters in Chantilly on July 27th if she rebounds well.