Saturday, June 27, 2009

Foursome to face Rachel in Mother Goose

At least a fifth showed up.

Four other horses will face juggernaut Rachel Alexandra Saturday in the Mother Goose S.-G1 at Belmont Park. Initially it had appeared that perhaps only three other fillies would be entered, leaving a traditional paycheck-spot, fifth place, unfilled.

Getting the most attention is Edward P. Evans' Virginia-bred Malibu Prayer, although she's making the ultimate step-up in class. The filly took three tries to break maiden, but did so impressively, drawing off by 13 in a mile race at Aqueduct on April 17. She followed that with a seven and a quarter-length victory in a race at Philadelphia Park. But this will be her first try in stakes company -- and it's at the Grade 1 level.

Others who appear to be shooting for second place today (granted, a win is never impossible) include Godolphin Stable's Flashing, a Grade 3 winner at Aqueduct who is 4-for-5 lifetime for $202,560; Don't Forget Gil, winner of the Florida Oaks-G3; and Hopeful Image, who is 3-for-13 lifetime for over $100,000 and was third in a Grade 2 stakes race, but is yet to win from seven stakes tries.

The connections of half those four contenders will be celebrating their filly's first Grade 1 blacktype on Saturday evening. It's difficult to imagine any of them beating Rachel -- although in the racing world, stranger things have happened -- but at least now there should be trifecta wagering available -- although no bets will be taken to show.

Here's wishing a safe trip to all.

Meanwhile, if you've missed it, Rachel Alexandra now has her own sandbox ... whatever that means. The New York Racing Association has set up her own site for news and information, videos, "fun stuff" and a blog.

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