It’s official: Rachel to take on the boys again

Reader Jim Tierney advised on 7/15 that there are six horses that have won both the Haskell and Travers.
Reader BC advised on 7/16 that there are seven horses that have won both stakes.

Rachel Alexandra, on the verge of possibly establishing herself as the greatest 3-year-old filly ever, will race next against the boys in the $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., on Aug. 2.

The move sets it up for Rachel Alexandra to try to become the first filly ever to sweep the Haskell and the historic Travers Stakes on Aug. 29 at Saratoga. Seven horses have swept both Grade 1 events for 3-year-olds, Point Given being the most recent in 2001. Coronado’s Quest (1998), Holy Bull (1994), Forty Niner (1988), Wise Times (1986), Wajima (1975) and Holding Pattern (1974) also accomplished the feat.

If Rachel Alexandra, who’s won all six of her starts in 2009, including record victories in the Kentucky Oaks (20 1/4 lengths) and Mother Goose (19 1/4 lengths), won both races it would give her three victories over the boys and stamp her as an overwhelming favorite to be named Horse of the Year, pending a meeting with Zenyatta, which at this point is not planned.

“Rachel Alexandra is progressing well after her stakes record victory in the Mother Goose,” co-owner Jess Jackson said in a statement. “She is in top condition. If this preparation continues, our target is to race in the Haskell Invitational in about three weeks. We are all looking forward to seeing this great athlete perform again against both colts and fillies.”

The Haskell, won last year by Big Brown, is a 1 1/8-mile race run on dirt.

Jackson also announced there are 11 more days to bid on Rachel Alexandra’s training halter worn while she was preparing for her Preakness victory, when she became the first filly since Nellie Morse in 1924 to win the middle leg of the Triple Crown series. The Kendall-Jackson/Rachel Alexandra Running Auction is a five-month-long charity auction taking place on www.kj.com. Proceeds will be donated to The V Foundation to aid in cancer research.

2 thoughts on “It’s official: Rachel to take on the boys again

  1. Boy, I hope they don’t push her too hard. She just got lucky at the Preakness and her Mother Goose really is nothing special. Munnings who might be with her at the Haskell ran faster splits at the Tom Fool Handicap. That means he can really put a lot of pressure on her.
    She should really just be racing with fillies.

  2. Miley,
    I wouldn’t say she got “lucky” at the Preakness. She broke from the 13 hole, set the pace with some swift fractions and still held on to beat the 12 males she was racing against. Add the fact that jockey Calvin Borel said she wasn’t even really handling the track all that well, and what you have is a pretty darn impressive performance, especially considering that no filly had won the Preakness in 85 years. As for Munnings and the Haskell, she’s shown if the pace is too quick — like in the Mother Goose — she can sit off the lead and save her best running for the stretch. The 7-furlong Tom Fool and the 1 1/8-mile Haskell are two different ballgames. I applaud Jess Jackson for not taking the safe route and opting to race against colts. It takes a special filly to run against the boys, and she’s proving every time out that she’s a very special filly.

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