(Edited NYRA release)
The New York Racing Association is making special plans as "The Rachel Alexandra Show" comes to Saratoga Race Course for Saturday’s grade I, $750,000 Woodward Stakes.
Gates to the track will open at 7 a.m., just as they did on Shadwell Travers Day, and the first 25,000 fans paying admission will receive a commemorative Rachel Alexandra button in recognition of the filly's attempt to make history again in the race against older males.
Owner of an eight-race winning streak, including two victories over top 3-year-old colts in the grade I BlackBerry Preakness Stakes and Haskell Invitational, Rachel Alexandra is seeking to become the first filly or mare ever to win the Woodward Stakes.
While fillies have won against older males in sprints, the only 3-year-old filly to have beaten older males in a route race that is currently a grade I in New York was Lady Primrose, who in 1887 beat the boys in the Manhattan Handicap.
In celebration of her first appearance at Saratoga Race Course, the streets of downtown Saratoga Springs will be lined with specially-designed Rachel Alexandra banners.
NYRA stores at the track will also sell Rachel Alexandra T-shirts and caps, with net proceeds from the sales to benefit Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure. T-shirts in ladies and girls sizes are pink with "Rachel Alexandra" lettering in navy blue, while men’s T-shirts are available in gray with pink lettering. The caps are pink.
In addition, in The Paddock Tent and the At the Rail Pavilion, all ladies and children will get a half-price buffet at $24.50, and everyone of drinking age in either location will also receive one complimentary glass of champagne.
Rachel Alexandra, owned by Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stable and Harold McCormick, first made history when she beat Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird to become the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness Stakes. After a 19¼-length romp against 3-year-old fillies in the grade I Mother Goose at Belmont Park in stakes record time, she traveled to New Jersey to beat the boys again, this time defeating Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird, recent winner of the grade I Shadwell Travers Stakes, by six lengths.
"Hal McCormick (the minority partner), my family and I, like other fans of horse racing, want to see her tested," said Jackson in making the announcement that Rachel would go in the Woodward, a race won last year by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, also owned by Jackson. "If she goes up against older male horses, we'll be better able to get a measure of her greatness."