Monday, August 24, 2009

Hey there, big boy! ... Youthful Rachel Alexandra to strut her stuff against older males in Woodward

The interminable wait for information from the Rachel Alexandra camp  that everyone was squealing about over the weekend has ceased: The brilliant 3-year-old filly will next race on Sept. 5 in the Woodward Stakes against older males.

The G1 Woodward at Saratoga, a 9-furlong event run since 1954, has never been won by a filly or mare.

Connections say the decision was based not only on how well Rachel has been training, but the work of her Stonestreet stablemate, Kensei. The colt who most recently has won the Dwyer and Jim Dandy stakes will run in the Travers against his own age while Rachel steps up for principal owner Jess Jackson to face elders. No reason to run them both in the Travers, where only one can win, and when Rachel could make more history.

"Legacy," said trainer Steve Asmussen when asked about the primary reasoning behind the choice of race. Adding a little shot at Claire Novak, perhaps, Asmussen said, "Jess' sportsmanship ... is quite obvious instead of talking. No filly has won the Woodward. For everything else that she's done, I think it's a showcase or a platform that she's worthy of."

Now, I suppose, let the haters commence -- or, more accurately, continue -- with the talk of how Rachel is ducking Quality Road or even Kensei.

Yeah, what a sissy move. The testicle-dragging donkeys the 3-year-old filly be racing in the Woodward include: 6-year-old Asiatic Boy (UAE Derby-G2, second in the Dubai World Cup to Curlin); This year's Whitney H.-G1 winner Bullsbay, a 5-year-old; 4-year-old past Fountain of Youth-G2 winner Cool Coal Man; 6-year-old millionaire It's a Bird; and last year's surprise Belmont Stakes winner, Da' Tara.

But the field won't include Stephen Foster-G1 winner Macho Again, who is resting up for the Jockey Club Gold Cup-G1 in October.

So, you know, beating the remainder that do start in the Woodward will be almost meaningless.


  1. I'm neutral on RA, but you have to acknowledge that the older male horse division has been weak all year. Einstein, Gio Ponti, and Marchfield have been the only standouts to my eye in what is a "meh" division. The fields in this year's older male G1s pale in comparison to the past, in my opinion.

    That said, RA winning the Woodward will be an impressive feat, and one which I will admire her for if she pulls it off.

  2. I think Macho Again may be running based on the attached link.

    Love the ass-man's "sportsmanship" dig...classic.

  3. Thanks for that. Yeah, breaking news all right. They were staying away. Now it looks like a showdown.


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