Rachel Alexandra Routs Boys in Haskell Slop
Rachel Alexandra turned in yet another dominating performance in a campaign for the ages when she captured the $1.25 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) (VIDEO) on a sloppy track at Monmouth Park before a crowd of 37,009 Aug. 2.
The impressive winning time for the 1 1/8-mile test was 1:47 21, just two ticks off the track mark set by Spend a Buck in 1985 (1:46.80). Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird finished second, with two-time grade II winner Munnings third.
"We don't know," Jackson told TVG when asked about Rachel Alexandra's next start. "She'll tell us."
Because he doesn't care for Santa Anita's synthetic track, Jackson reiterated, "We're not going to the Breeders' Cup. I've said it and I meant it."
"I thought with her success in the slop, I felt very confident that she would be able to handle the surface today," Asmussen said. "The Haskell was our major goal, and we’re happy with the way she ran today. We’ll go back to Saratoga and breeze her back before we decide anything about the Travers."
Sent off as the 1-2 favorite against six rivals in the Haskell, Rachel Alexandra stalked in third on the outside of Munnings, who was intent on getting the lead while slightly of the rail, with Summer Bird to their inside. Fractions were extremely swift on the sealed track -- :22 4/5, :46 2/5 and 1:09 4/5. As they rounded the final turn, Rachel Alexandra blew past the leader, cleared and moved to the inside. Borel delivered a couple of left-handed taps through the stretch to keep the super filly's mind on business.
“This filly is just unbelievable," Borel enthused. "I can’t say how good she is. I don’t know. I gave her a few taps at the sixteenth pole, that’s it. I just wanted to keep her focused with a couple of taps. She started looking around at the crowd, so I just kept her busy to the wire; kept her focused.
“I really didn’t ask her for much run," he added. "We have not gotten to the bottom of her, that’s for sure. She’s an amazing athlete and I’m glad that I get to ride her.”
“To compare her races from the Preakness, to the Mother Goose, to today, it’s hard to determine her best effort," Asmussen said. "From changing barns and running over different surfaces and still showing her consistency. All of her races are very special for different reasons. She can handle the crowd, the weather, nothing surprises her."
"We’d love to run against Zenyatta but it has to be on a neutral course," Jackson said of Rachel Alexandra's main rival for Horse-of-the-Year honors. “When she’s ready, I don’t think there’s a horse in America that can beat her.”
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