As soon as trainer Kiaran McLaughlin found out Rachel Alexandra would be running in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 5 he quickly contacted Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa, the owner of his Woodward hopeful Asiatic Boy, about the possibility of heading to California.
“I sent an e-mail overseas to talk to the owner and racing officials,” McLaughlin said. “We will nominate (Asiatic Boy) to the Pacific Classic (gr. I), which will be run on the synthetic the day after the Woodward, to give ourselves an option. Nobody really wants to face Rachel Alexandra these days, and to think we have to give her eight pounds is a little tough on us older boys. But we’ll discuss our options and keep them open.”
Now, Asiatic Boy is not exactly a slouch, having swept the UAE Triple Crown, the only horse to do so, and having finished second to Curlin in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), and second in the Stephen Foster (gr. I) and Suburban Handicap (gr. II) in his only two starts in the
“She’s beat everybody that’s gotten in the gate with her this year,” McLaughlin said. “Luckily, I haven’t gotten in the gate with her and don’t look forward to getting in the gate with her with Asiatic Boy. She’s a great filly. The word ‘great’ is thrown around too often in our industry, but to me she’s one of the great ones and she’s great for the sport, and it's nice that Mr. (Jess) Jackson chose some of these spots to show how great she is. He said he’s hoping to run her next year as a 4-year-old, and that's nice to hear, but I don’t look forward to running against her ever, with anything.”
Like all top athletes, Rachel has her detractors, who believe she hasn’t beaten top-class competition, and that is unfathomable to Tim Ice, trainer of Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird, who felt Rachel’s wrath in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I)
“What do you want her to beat?” Ice said. “What more does she have to prove? To say she hasn’t beaten anything would be a knock against racing. She’s beaten the Kentucky Derby winner and the
Trainer Graham Motion is one trainer who has no thoughts of ducking Rachel Alexandra in the Woodward with his impressive Whitney winner Bullsbay . Motion said the son of Tiznow definitely will head back up to the Spa to meet Rachel.
“Right after the Whitney my reaction was that I wouldn’t run if Rachel runs, but I’m not sure that really makes a whole lot of sense, especially when I look at what our options are,” Motion said. “He just ran the race of his life on that racetrack and came out of the race great. I just can’t see why I wouldn’t do it. Obviously, I would rather not run against her, but that’s what it’s all about, right?”