The Brock Talk

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Second Date: Rachel Alexandra Headed For Haskell

Well if we can't have Blackberry Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra versus the undefeated mare Zenyatta, then we got the next best thing Tuesday when Blood-Horse magazine tweeted that Rachel Alexandra (photo) is headed for the $1 million Haskell Invitational to again take on the boys.

The grade 1 Haskell Invitational is a 1-1/8 miles at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. and is a traditional stopping point for Triple Crown contenders, late bloomers and horses returning to the ranks among the nation's best 3-year-olds. The 41 previous winners include Our Native in 1973, Deputed Testamony ('83), Skip Away ('96) and Big Brown last year. Rachel Alexandra will try to become the first filly since the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Serena's Song won the Haskell in 1985.

“Rachel Alexandra is progressing well after her stakes-record victory in the Mother Goose,” he said Jess Jackson who owns the filly with partner Harold McCormick under their Stonerstreet Stable silks. “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.”

Trainer Steve Asmussen will give the Haskell riding instructions to jockey Calvin Borel for Rachel Alexandra, who was the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness.

Although Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird will be racing in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park a day earlier, Rachel Alexandra will not have the easy task in the Haskell that she had in winning the grade 1 Mother Goose against two other fillies on June 27. She won that race in a record time by almost 20 lengths.

She will face Summer Bird for the first time as the Belmont Stakes winner has already arrived and begun training at Monmouth Park from his base at Louisiana Downs. In fact, he worked over a sealed and wet track Sunday for trainer Tim Ice going 1:01 4/5.

Also expected in the Haskell is Arkansas Derby winner Papa Clem, who finished third this past weekend in the grade 2 Longbranch Stakes at Momouth Park; and Longbranch winner Atomic Rain, trainer by local leader Kelly Breen. Others include Tom Fool Stakes (gr. 2) winner Munnings trained by Todd Pletcher.

However, the news may have already altered the plans of one trainer. "If (Rachel Alexandra) goes to the Haskell, then Big Drama will run in the West Virginia Derby," trainer David Fawkes told Daily Racing Form shortly after hearing the news.


Sylvia Ann said...


Skip Trial said...

This time of year the colts are getting bigger and stronger.

Waquiot said...

The only thing that could slow Rachel down would be her fat yellow toothed owner riding her.

Lilly said...

Rachel has been exciting to watch .
Really looking forward to see what she can do.Run Baby Run!

SABob said...

Too bad Mine That Bird is dodging the competition and going to West Virginia.