Monday, June 22, 2009

Who's afraid of big, bad Rachel? All but three.

The Daily Racing Form reports that the connections of only three fillies appear to have the fortitude to face juggernaut Rachel Alexandra Saturday in the Mother Goose S.-G1 at Belmont Park.

Justwhistledixie, scratched-out due to a bruised foot from the Kentucky Oaks that Rachel dominated on May 1 at Churchill Downs, won't be one of them. Her trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, said Monday that Saturday was too soon to bring his filly back after she was beaten by Gabby's Golden Gal as the 4/5 favorite in her return to the races June 7 in the Acorn S.-G1. Justwhistledixie will be pointed to the 7-furlong Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 8, instead.

But Acorn winner Gabby's Golden Gal won't be racing Rachel Saturday, either. Her trainer, Bob Baffert, said the filly bounced back well from her Acorn win (after which she suffered heat exhaustion), but would make her next start in the Prioress S.-G1 on July 4 instead.

"She's on the Indian Blessing route," said Baffert, invoking the name of his charge who won both the Prioress and Test last year.

So who does that leave?

Flashing, winner of the Nassau County S.-G3; Don't Forget Gil, winner of the Florida Oaks-G3; and Edward P. Evans' VA-bred Malibu Prayer, who has won her last two starts by a combined 20 1/4 lengths, but hardly against such competition.

I understand Rachel seems invincible among fillies. But last time I checked, second place in a $300,000 race would still pay in the vicinity of $75,000, third place around $30,000, fourth- and fifth-places are still paydays and you'd think the connections of at least four other fillies would be willing to race for the Grade 1 blacktype that is bestowed on both second and third.

Apparently not.

Certainly it looks like Rachel will crush these three. But the connections of two out of the three will be celebrating a healthy (and all-too-easy) addition of a Grade 1 placing to their fillies' page, provided everyone comes home safe and sound.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome comments, including criticism and debate. But jerks and the vulgar will not be tolerated.