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.
Seven horses have won both the Haskell Invitational and historic Travers Stakes since the former race was established in 1968. But no filly has ever turned the trick, until maybe now. Think that Rachel Alexandra’s co-owner, Jess Jackson, who likes to raise the bar and set the standard, isn’t thinking about what a coup it would be for his immensely popular 3-year-old filly?
We’re still waiting to hear when Rachel Alexandra will make her next start. Of course, everyone is still holding out hope that the 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’ Oro will eventually take on the country’s most popular older distaffer, the unbeaten Zenyatta, but there’s no further word on that front. Zenyatta’s next start will come in the $300,000 Grade 2 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 9.
There are three races where Rachel Alexandra could logically make her next start — the $1 million Grade 2 Delaware Handicap on Sunday, which would be her first race against older fillies and mares; the $300,000 Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 25; or the $1 million Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on Aug 2, which would be her second matchup against the boys after a victory in the Preakness Stakes on May 16.
The American Oaks is probably out, seeing as though it carries a much smaller purse than the two million-dollar races. Entries for the Delaware Handicap will be taken Wednesday, so a decision is needed immediately if Rachel’s connections want to go that route. She certainly signified her readiness for racing Monday morning, when she worked five furlongs in 1:01.38 at Saratoga.
A start in either of the aforementioned three stakes means she would be set up for a start in the $600,000 Grade 1 Alabama Stakes on Aug. 23 or the $1 million Grade 1 Travers Stakes on Aug. 29, both of which will be run at Saratoga. If it comes down to a choice of the two, bet on the latter.
It’s my guess she’ll go next in the Haskell and then try the Travers. Holding Pattern (1974), Wajima (1975), Wise Times (1986), Forty Niner (1988), Holy Bull (1994), Coronado’s Quest (1998) and Point Given (2001) are the only horses to win both. If Rachel Alexandra accomplishes the feat, meaning she would have beaten the boys three times this year, well, you can make her 1-5 to win Horse of the Year.
Rachel Alexandra is unbeaten in six starts this year and has won nine of 11 lifetime. Her past three starts have all been most impressive — a record 20 1/4-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks on May 1, the victory in the Preakness and a record 19 1/4-length win in the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park on June 27.