Rachel Alexandra is back, romping to a 10 1/2-length victory in the $214,000 Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs against four rivals. She was clocked in 1:48.78 for the 1 1/8 miles over the main track, scoring her fourth victory in seven starts at Churchill.
Here’s what the principles had to say afterward:
Calvin Borel, jockey: “She’s just getting back. You have to give her a chance. She’s a filly and she did the impossible when she was a 3-year-old. I think you’ll see a great future now. She did everything right today. (Trainer) Steve (Asmussen) told me just to run my race and see where we’re at. She showed up today. She felt the same. I just don’t think she was ready before. Steve knows what he’s doing. She showed up today. She was perfect and we couldn’t ask for more.”
Steve Asmussen, trainer: “I’m very proud for everybody involved that she won. We are all grateful that (co-owner) Mr. (Jess) Jackson and (Jackson’s wife) Barbara (Banke) put a Horse of the Year back in training and take all the advice or criticism or whatever, but she is a tremendously sound filly. She’s a machine and she ran a great race today, and hopefully this is a step in the right direction for the rest of the year. It’s an honor to train a horse like her. We will take her back to the barn and there will be a lot of petting her, and peppermints, and loving on her.”
Rachel Alexandra, a 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, has now won 12 of 17 starts with four seconds for earnings of $3,206,730.
Racing’s other big female superstar, Zenyatta, goes for a record 17th consecutive victory in unrestricted races Sunday when she faces seven rivals in the $250,000 Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park. She’s also shooting for an unprecedented third victory in the Vanity.