(from Belmont Park release)
Scarcely 12 hours after her record-setting victory in the Mother Goose (gr. I) June 27 at Belmont Park, Rachel Alexandra stepped onto a van that carried her up the Northway to Saratoga Race Course, which will be the base for her summer campaign.
“She ran a big race,” said trainer Steve Asmussen of the 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro after she set a stakes record of 1:46.33 for the nine furlongs. In defeating her two rivals, Rachel Alexandra also established the largest margin of victory (19 1/4 lengths) in the 53-year history of the race.
Rachel Alexandra arrived at Saratoga mid-morning and took up residence in Curlin’s former stall in Asmussen’s barn near the Oklahoma training track.
“I think (jockey) Calvin (Borel) said it best – she’s not normal,” Asmussen said.
Asmussen, still wearing one of the 10,000 pink “Rachel Alexandra” bracelets that were given away at Belmont, said he had watched the replay of the Mother Goose several times and was still bowled over by the ease of her victory.
“The best way to describe it is that she’s got an extremely high cruising speed,” said Asmussen. “But obviously, we’ve known that about her for a long time.”
Co-owned by Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stable and Harold McCormick, Rachel Alexandra extended her record to 9-2-0 from 12 starts with earnings of $1,798,354.
“She shipped great,” said assistant trainer Scott Blasi, who accompanied Rachel Alexandra to Saratoga. “She’s settled into Curlin’s old stall, which is now her stall, right next to my office.
“She recovered very well,” added Blasi. “She seemed strong yesterday and was starving when we fed her last night, and ate everything this morning as well.”
Several possibilities exist for Rachel Alexandra’s next start, including the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/4 miles at Belmont Park on July 25; the $500,000 Jim Dandy (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs at Saratoga on Aug. 1; and the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I), also for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park on Aug. 2.
Following one of those, the scenario could next include the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 22; the $1 million Shadwell Travers for 3-year-olds going 10 furlongs on Aug. 29 at Saratoga; or even the $400,000 Personal Ensign (gr. I) for fillies and mares at 10 furlongs on Aug. 30.
Asmussen declined to engage in any speculations.
“I’m well-versed in that with the Curlin-Big Brown thing last year,” he said. “I’m just going to worry about her health and happiness, and then we’ll sit down and decide what’s best for her.”