Paddock to Post: As The Girl Turns

By Michael-Louis Ingram, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: August 3, 2009

OCEANPORT, N.J. (BASN) — Rachel Alexandra already knew she was great. Now, at least another 37,000 fans know it, too.

The awesome bay filly brought down a soggy house at Monmouth Park Race Track when she cruised to a six length victory over Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird in the latest edition of the Grade I Haskell Invitational.

And yes, I did say Summer Bird; as in colt, you know – boy horsies…

The indomitable Ms. Alexandra left six other male hosses in the slop, running the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.21; with the distinct possibility she could’ve run at least a half-second faster were she not on cruise control-and break the course record (1:47.00).

As the hosses left the gate, sprint specialist Munnings, trained by Todd Pletcher, went to the front. Rachel followed, along with Summer Bird and Kent Desormeaux. The fast early fractions didn’t seem to bother the trio; and rider Calvin Borel was sittin’ high and chilly on Ms. Rachel.

Go, Rachel! Go Rachel!

With Munnings holding a slight lead going into the final turn to stretch, Rachel went three wide and kicked into her now patented Four Heel Drive as she took the lead and began to extend to two, three, four lengths as the crowd exploded.

By deep stretch, she had extended the lead to six – and some rather enthusiastic people (mostly female) were chanting, “Go, Rachel! Go, Rachel!”

As she cruised the last 100 yards or so; the way Ms. Rachel was moving her head, it looked as if she had picked up the rhythm and was grooving with the crowd as Calvin Borel took a peek behind to view the carnage Queen Alexandra had left in her wake.

Rachel Alexandra, going off as a 1/2 favorite, paid $3, $2.20, and $2.10. Summer Bird placed, Munnings held on for third and Papa Clem completed a $32 superfecta. Talk about Chalk City!

The convincing victory has furthered the argument for Ms. Rachel as Horse of the Year.

Having passed up a sure coronation in the Coaching Club American Oaks and the diva’s share of $300K ( Funny Moon won with Alan Garcia in the irons), Rachel goes for the big bowl of macaroni and toys with the boys to snag the winner’s share of the $1.25 million (a cool $700K) pot in the Haskell, becoming only the second filly to win it since Serena’s Song in 1995.

The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight!

With the win, Rachel is now 8-for-8 this year and 10 for 13 overall, and her earnings now top $2.4 million. She also has the unprecedented distinction of defeating both other Triple Crown race winners.

Oddly enough, Summer Bird’s brother, Mine That Bird, could have joined the Haskell fray, but opted to attempt to steal the $750K pot at Mountaineer Race Track at the West Virginia Derby; only to be upset by 23-1 bomb Soul Warrior – and Rachel Alexandra trainer Steve Asmussen.

So we have Ms. Rachel, a de facto Triple Crown winner, waiting to see if Lady Z – Zenyatta - will possibly come east to Saratoga and risk her unbeaten string in the Travers on August 29.

Knowing it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, Zenyatta could finish pounding all competition besides Rachel at the Breeders’ Cup; but unless she races against the boys, the opinion here is Rachel gets the vote.

Those who know remember Lady’s Secret and Personal Ensign retiring undefeated – and they finished in style by beating the fellas like a dominatrix breaking in a new strap…

Standing in the winner’s circle, the weather had started to clear up just a taste; and as the adoring crowd saluted, Queen Alexandra left no doubt as to who rocks the house.

Because today, there is no need to shout; Rachel Alexandra is a Noble Beast.

Unless Lady Z steps to and defeats her, as of right now, Alexandra the Great is the most dominant female in all of thoroughbred racing.