A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Paddock to Post: Girl Talk
Rachel Alexandra, whose undefeated three-year old campaign has been so impressive only two other fillies would step to her as competition, made short work of her opposition in Saturday’s $300K Grade I Mother Goose Stakes.
Rested and ready to run, Ms. Alexandra punished her competitors; first by intimidating them into a speed duel. Then, jockey Calvin Borel briefly shifted Rachel into four heel drive; Borel split horses near the top of the stretch and began to extend her lead over the spent horses as over 13,000 spectators cheered her as a Queen – in – Waiting gracefully strode to the winner’s circle.
Borel, who literally had the brown filly on cruise control from the eighth pole to the wire, won by over 19 lengths; and, in the process, smashed the old record of 13 1/2 lengths set by the great lady Ruffian in 1975.
“She is the best I ever rode — ever,” said Borel, earlier in a pre-race press conference. “There’s no telling what she can do once she’s fresh — she’s just not normal.”
Even while coasting, Rachel was timed in a stakes-record time of 1:46.33 over the mile and an eighth, breaking the old record of 1:46.58, set by Lakeway in 1994.
Oh, by the way – the track record of 1:45.40 was set by some hoss named Secretariat in 1973; and had Rachel been in full Hoss Power to the wire, she had a shot to hit it.
“Oh, mon — was she cookin,’” said Charles Atwell, an onlooker from Flatbush. That was nothin’ but a workout for her — but, what a workout.”
Picking up about $200K in purse money and donating some of it to breast cancer added up to a good afternoon’s work for Ms. Alexandra, who, according to unsubstantiated reports, did a little hoof texting to a friend.
Rachel, who was a prohibitive favorite, paid only $2.10 to win; but the real excitement didn’t manifest itself until about an hour later. Here, in a BASN Exclusive, is the text of the text:
That’s seven – for – seven right now; now you already know I don’t do Cali; but I will be heading up to Saratoga this summer.
Oh, by the way – good luck today in the Vanity.
Meanwhile, in Cali…
Hollywood Park ran its annual edition of the $300K Grade I Vanity Handicap for fillies and mares. In the field of eight, the Toast of the West Coast, Zenyatta, was out for bear as she looked to continue her unbeaten streak.
Zenyatta, also going off as a 1-5 favorite, ran her usual race, sitting back and letting the pack come to her before kicking into full Hoss Power mid-stretch to win by three lengths, making the five year old mare a perfect 11 for 11 in her spectacular career; once on dirt and 10 straight on the PolyTrack.
After a very professional, no-doubt performance, Zenyatta posed for pics at the winner’s circle before doing a “Trotter Twitta” of her own as she hit the hoof speed dial…
Now, that was an impressive win, no doubt – but are you REALLY sure you want some of this?
Unlike you, I have never seen second – and don’t plan to.
I really don’t have anything to prove; but if you get the Tiara, then I just might come East and whip that heinie; nothing personal, Sis – just business.
So, you go handle your bizness, and when you get the crown, I’ll come there to take it…
Have some nice hay! Lady Z
No Cup Runneth Over
Rachel’s owner, Jess Jackson, said in a teleconference that under no circumstances will Rachel run in this year’s Breeders’ Cup; primarily due to Santa Anita’s synthetic surface. “Rachel is a dirt horse, plain and simple,” said Jackson. “I have an aversion to the plastic; I know some feel the synthetic surfaces are great, but I feel it does nothing for the handicapper or the horse.”
With the Coaching Club Oaks next in July, Rachel’s getting loose in the ‘Goose may well be the first step towards a Diva East/West showdown. If, as Lady Z has “implied” and Rachel wins the Oaks, she could run for the Tiara in either the $600,000 Alabama Stakes on August 22 or run against the Bird Bros. (Mine That Bird & Summer Bird) in the $1 million Travers Stakes.
A sign Zenyatta will really mean business is if she comes to Saratoga for the Go forWand Handicap on August 2 for fillies and mares three year olds and up.
Jerry Moss, Zenyatta’s owner, has implied he wouldn’t have a problem with coming to the Spa; so the appetizer for the main course at Santa Anita in November could be the best Diva Duel in ages, a sentiment echoed by Jackson. “We would love to run against Zenyatta. From a traditional standpoint, it would be great for racing, because they are two of the best we’ve seen in a long time.”
So to all the colts and geldings out there, it looks like this summer, the ladies will be holding court.
Next Time: Another edition with rider/trainer updates, and will anyone step up to legitimately challenge Rachel’s coronation?
So…when you see your Hoss drawing away in the stretch, get to the finish line and scream:
WORK THAT NOBLE BEAST!!!