‘The Amazing Race’s’ Raquel and Cayla reveal what they ‘literally lost sleep over’ after the final leg

Raquel Moore and Cayla Pratt were in first place throughout the final leg of “The Amazing Race 33,” putting them within sniffing distance — literally, the finish line was in the soccer stadium next door — of becoming not just $1 million richer but only the fourth all-female team to win. Alas, the flight attendants came up short on the final memory challenge, felled by the color of candy wrappers they had just seen at the piñata task earlier in the leg, and had to watch Kim and Penn run through to the mat.

How did they get so tripped up on the candy? Plus: Their thoughts on why there hasn’t been an all-female team since Season 25’s Amy and Maya in 2014.

Gold Derby: Congrats on second place! You were so close. How did it feel watching it?
Cayla: It was surreal. Being there with everyone and the cast, who we honestly, truly love dearly, we were so proud of us first and foremost. It wasn’t the outcome that we wanted or fought for, but I’m blown away by how we handled ourselves, by how much we proved to each other. It’s also sad that this is coming to an end. More than anything, I was proud and grateful for this opportunity with Raquel. I’m proud, but it still stung a little. [Laughs]

Raquel: It was an incredible experience, just to see how far we’ve come. I was just so proud of us and … how we carried ourselves in the best possible way we could. Looking back on this, I’m impressed by us. We did this, we handled ourselves with a lot of grace, and our friendship was so strong from the beginning until the very end, and that is so important to me. Obviously it hurts, having to relive that … but we still came in second place. They were just giving us this statistic, but out of Jen and Kristi from Season 30, we’re like the second highest-performing female team on “The Amazing Race.” It’s amazing. We accomplished something not many people have a chance to do. We had so much fun. The producers always say to stop and enjoy the scenery, and we did.

Gold Derby: It seemed like the candy did you in. How long were you at the final task?
Cayla: It’s funny. We talked about this with Kim and Penn, and Dusty and Ryan after the rock challenge. “The Amazing Race” is a funny world. When things are going right, 15 minutes can feel like five minutes. When things are going wrong, five minutes can feel like five hours. I would actually love to know how long we were there. I want to say 20, 30 minutes, but we had a significant lead on Kim and Penn, so to hear “fault” so many times when we were there by ourselves, we thought we could still pull it through. We had studied this race every night at the end of the leg. We were so prepared, but the day got way from us. It was like we forgot, “Oh, sh–, we have to remember today as well.”

Raquel: I didn’t even think about how today would be part of it. Looking back yesterday, when the only piece we didn’t have correct was the color of the candy, and Penn and Kim were still putting their thing together, it’s like, “Oh, man.”

Cayla: And it’s “The Amazing Race,” of course it’s red and yellow. I’m like literally kicking myself. My poor father wants to disown me, I’m sure. [Laughs] In the moment, it’s just like, piñata, colorful candy, breeze through it. And every time we hear “fault,” we’re second-guessing the things we know are right. It was ultimately our own fault.

Raquel: The show is all about the details and that’s from the very beginning of the race to the very last second. We had just done the task and I didn’t even think about it.

SEE ‘The Amazing Race 33’ finale recap

Gold Derby: How did you finally figure it out? Was it just trial and error? You were changing the other stuff that you already had right so you had to put those back correctly as well.
Cayla: When we were first going through it, we got up the ones we 100 percent knew were right. We had two we weren’t 100 percent sure on, but we were pretty confident. The candy was one and the second one was the coin because they gave you so many options for the coin that Raquel had found underneath the rock. … I didn’t see the coin because I didn’t do the challenge, so we would switch it and then we would switch the candy. At one point, it was trial and error. Honestly, I just blocked that whole thing out from my brain because it was traumatizing. [Laughs] We eventually got it.

Gold Derby: How defeating was it to hear “game, set, match” for Kim and Penn?
Raquel: Like just taking a knife and sticking it in your heart and slowly turning it.

Cayla: We were in first all day. It was within grasp. We were so confident getting it checked and got a “fault.” In my mind, it was like, surely, it’s a quick correction, which it wasn’t. Honestly, the “game, set, match” wasn’t what crushed me. It was Kim and Penn running in because Penn has a photographic memory. We saw it firsthand on the fish challenge. We looked at each other, like, “We’re about to lose $1 million.” He’s a wizard. It was fun watching back to see that they at least had a couple “faults.” That made me feel a little bit better. But, yeah, hearing the “game, set, match” was absolutely crushing. We truly believed in our hearts that we’d be the fourth all-female team to win. … But Raquel does an amazing job of, like, “We should be proud of what e did accomplish. Second is badass.”

Gold Derby: In the episode, they showed you guys leaving the foley challenge and that guy who gave you directions helping our Kim and Penn. I just talked to them and they said that guys’ phone died so they had to find someone else to ask. Do you regret not telling that guy not to help them even though it turns it doesn’t matter since they had to ask someone else?
Raquel: Other teams were better at that: “Oh, make sure you don’t help them.” I just didn’t really think about it in the moment and it’s hard in the moment, but I love Kim and Penn. But it’s also a race and we’re in the finale and it’s $1 million. I was kicking myself in the butt after that. I didn’t know obviously that his phone had died, but I knew how good they are and in the finale there’s a memory challenge and I just potentially gave them the easiest out for getting great directions.

Cayla: We literally lost sleep over it and brought it up multiple times. She was like, “Cayla, I’m still thinking about it. Should we have told that guy not to give them directions?” That could’ve bought us five more minutes, which could’ve changed the outcome. It makes me feel a little better that his phone died, but that also wasn’t the race that we ran as far as, “Oh, don’t help them.” We had a good relationship with a lot of teams, but it’s “The Amazing Race,” so we know sometimes there’s a benefit in numbers or pairing up like with the fish challenge. We should’ve realized the gravity of $1 million in the moment, but we’d been running such a consistent way that that would’ve been a little off-brand to do that in the moment. And obviously in hindsight, we’re like, “Oh, my God, could that have changed the outcome?”

Gold Derby: In the penultimate leg, you left your map behind at the painting challenge and you never went back to see if you left it there, right?
Cayla: No, and we debated that. Raquel’s like, “We have to go get the map.” In my mind, I’m like, “Did I have the map in my hand when I was at the door challenge or did I leave it in the car?” I didn’t want to waste time chasing after a map where I don’t know where I 100 percent left it. So Raquel was like, “We need a map, let’s go get one somewhere else,” which was a brilliant move. … We just went in the direction of where we knew we had to go — we had a pretty good idea anyway — so we could get a map along the way.

Raquel: It was great though because for a second, Cayla was like, “I can get us to the next place without a map.” I was like, “Cayla, I love you, but we’re getting a map.”

Cayla: I was like, “I know this country! I’ve never been here, but I know it!” [Laughs]

SEE ‘The Amazing Race’ winners Kim and Penn explain how she knew the final task would be a visual memory challenge

Gold Derby: You wanted to be the fourth all-female team to win and you came so close. It’s been more than seven years since Amy and Maya. Why is it taking so long for another one?
Cayla: I don’t know. I knew we’d be a strong team, but you don’t really know strong a team you are until you’re in it. I think the key to winning is your partnership, how well a team you guys are. When you have hiccups, how do you handle them together? I don’t know. I’m such a fan of the show and there’s so many amazing female teams where I’m like, “Oh, my God, I want them to win so bad.” That’s actually a very tough question. I don’t know, but trust me when I say I believed it’d be us. We fought blood, sweat and tears for it to be us. Sorry we came up short, world. [Laughs] I am proud of what we’ve accomplished.

Raquel: We loved all the physical challenges and embraced it. The whiskey barrel one.

Cayla: That was our favorite one and that one was not made for girls, let me tell you.

Raquel: Yeah, and maybe some all-female teams get intimated by things like that, and you have to embrace every single aspect of the show. It’s the well-rounded teams that win in the end. That’s how you imagine success. Maybe sometimes there’s just those mental limitations or physical barriers that all-female teams could set on themselves, but I don’t know why. There should be more.

Cayla: I think Leg 1 was what ultimately fueled our fire. It was Dusty and Ryan, and Spencer and Anthony, and us all arriving to the mat basically at the same time. That set the pace of “we can run with the boys,” and I took that and I ran with it for the whole race. I think it is a little bit of an intimidating thing going in. And I’m sad, I wish [Spencer and Anthony] could’ve come back. I would’ve loved to have seen the outcome. Maybe we’ll get a chance to run against them some other time! But, yeah, it could be a mental mindset of comparing yourself to other people and you have to remember to focus on yourselves.

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