Paddock to Post:: Rachel Is Back!!!!

By Michael-Louis Ingram, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: September 4, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (BASN) — Rachel Alexandra, fresh off her powerful performance in the Haskell, will now take on a challenge never attempted by any three year old filly.

As the final weekend of the Saratoga meet approaches, Alexandra the Great runs against older male horses in the Grade I Woodward Stakes.

Seven other horses will go to post to take a shot at the bay filly. Having outrun and outclassed every field in every race she has run during her amazing three-year-old campaign, Rachel has knocked off all her female competition; passed up a sure Triple Tiara to defeat the Belmont Stakes winner ( Summer Bird) and destroy the boys in the Haskell; and beat Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird head up in the Preakness.

While Rachel had been nominated for several races over the last month (including the Travers, which she skipped for this race) the folks at Saratoga proved equal to the task, sweetening the pot from $500,000 to $750K with Queen Alexandra’s inclusion.

Installed as the morning line 1:2 favorite, should Rachel Alexandra be successful, it would eliminate what little doubt (if any) as to who will get the Horse of the Year award; without having to make an appearance in this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

Give owner Jess Jackson and head trainer Steve Asmussen credit for being true horsemen and running their hoss against all comers. One could make the case for Jackson, who also owns a former Horse of the Year in stable mate Curlin, being a major contender for Sportsman of the Year, providing some need hoss power – and star power – to the thoroughbred racing game…

It Is Now Post Time!

Here are the 1 1/8-mile Woodward Stakes entries, with jockeys and weight in post position order:

  1. Da’ Tara under jockey Jose Lezcano carries 126 lbs.
  2. Bullsbay under jockey Jeremy Rose, 126 lbs.
  3. Rachel Alexandra under jockey Calvin Borel, 118 lbs.
  4. Cool Coal Man under jockey John Velazquez, 126 lbs.
  5. Macho Again under jockey Robby Albarado, 126 lbs.
  6. It’s a Bird under jockey Julien Leparoux, 126 lbs.
  7. Asiatic Boy (ARG) under jockey Alan Garcia, 126 lbs.
  8. Past the Point under jockey Edgar Prado, 126 lbs.

Because Rachel is a filly, she gets a weight break here; but what will be interesting to watch is if she gets a clean trip. Running from post position #3, she could get ping – ponged by Bullsbay and/or Cool Coal Man if she doesn’t get out quick enough to avoid trouble.

The Play: Since we are working with a prohibitive favorite, we’ll forego the other betting and go for the big macaroni – the superfecta.

I’ll take a dollar “super” partial Rachel & Macho Again (3,5) with Da’ Tara (3,5,1) with Bullsbay (3,5,1,2) with It’s A Bird and Past the Point (3,5,1,2,6,8) for $24.00;

Same type bet, this time I will take Rachel alone on top with Macho, Da’ Tara and Past the Point, with It’s A Bird and Bullsbay (3 with 1, 5, 8, with 1, 5, 8, with 1, 2, 5, 6, 8) for $18.00;

And a two dollar super partial, #3 with #5 with #1 with all for $10. Total: $52.00. As always, if we say it, we play it.

We’ll see if the deck is stacked against Rachel Alexandra; or if she emerges with the winning hand!

Next Time: Updates on Breeders’ Cup – and could Rachel and Zenyatta meet at Belmont Park before the Cup?

WORK THAT NOBLE BEAST!!!