Rachel Alexandra cemented herself as one of the best fillies of all-time in a race for the ages, as she set a suicidal pace and then was all out under Calvin Borel to hold off a bold charge from Macho Again to win the $750,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) by a head in electrifying fashion Sept. 5 at Saratoga.
Western Smoke repeated a feat accomplished by his daddy 13 years ago, winning the $150,000 Sapling (gr. III) at Monmouth Sept. 5 for his third consecutive stakes score. Now, if the 2-year-old colt can go on to do what Smoke Glacken did in his sophomore season, he will really be in business.
Rachel Alexandra will steal all the headlines, but she won't be the only heavily-backed filly Steve Asmussen sends out in a grade I race this weekend at Saratoga. The nation's leading trainer also has Grace Stables' Hot Dixie Chick going in the $300,000 Spinaway (gr. I) on Sept. 6, and the daughter of Dixie Union figures to receive much of the attention at the windows.
Luna Vega overcame Spritely in the homestretch to post a mild surprise in the $223,000 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 30 for her second win in as many starts on the Monmouth Park main track.
After training horses for more three decades and having his career peak this year with the success of the sensational filly Rachel Alexandra, Hal Wiggins will ride off into the sunset of retirement at the end of Churchill Downs' fall meet in November.
Rachel Alexandra breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.37 on a foggy Monday morning on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Race Course, after which trainer Steve Asmussen said discussions would begin "in earnest" on where the filly would make her next start.
Quality Road, expected to be among the favorites for the $1 million Shadwell Travers (gr. I), turned in his first work since his record-setting victory in the Amsterdam (gr. II) Aug. 16 at Saratoga, covering six furlongs in 1:13.19.
With his superstar Rachel Alexandra waiting to make her next start, another 3-year-old filly punctuated a big night for trainer Steve Asmussen when Four Gifts took the $250,000 Charles Town Oaks by a half-length over Royal Card. Four Gifts' win provided Asmussen and jockey Robby Albarado their third stakes win on Charles Town Races & Slots inaugural Race for the Ribbon night Aug. 15.
Multiple graded stakes winner Four Gifts headlines the inaugural running of the $250,000 Charles Town Oaks, the feature race on Race for the Ribbon night to be held Aug. 15 at Charles Town Races & Slots.
Looking ahead to a possible start on the grass in the fall, trainer Tim Ice had Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird galloped the morning of Aug. 12 over the Oklahoma turf course as part of his preparations for the $1 million Shadwell Travers (gr. I) Aug. 29 at Saratoga Race Course.
Preakness-winning filly Rachel Alexandra put in her first work at Saratoga Race Course the morning of Aug. 11 in preparation for her as-yet-to-be-determined next start, covering a half-mile in :50.72 under exercise rider Dominic Terry.
Stonestreet Stable's Rachel Alexandra was on Saratoga's Oklahoma training track Aug. 6 for a gallop and will return to the work tab next week, most likely Aug. 11, trainer Steve Asmussen said.
A story about Rachel Alexandra seems out of place in a column about the Breeders' Cup, but who cares. That's between Jess Jackson and the Breeders' Cup decision makers. Even though there will be no launching of the Rachel rocket on Nov. 7, it's still fun to "count down" to the imaginary blast off.
Stonestreet Stables and Gulf Coast Farms' Kensei, who powered home to a 2 1/4-length victory over Warrior's Reward in the Aug. 1 Jim Dandy (gr. II) came out of the race in good shape, according to trainer Steven Asmussen's assistant Larry Ulrich.
Kensei notched his second straight grade II score Aug. 1 in the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, as he pulled away from Warrior's Reward in the stretch for a convincing victory under Edgar Prado.
Although Rachel Alexandra has been installed as the 4-5 favorite for the $1.25-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Aug. 2, she could face stiff competition from several of the six 3-year-old colts entered against her.
Favored Hot Dixie Chick showed she was more than a speed freak in the $111,000 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III), rating patiently just off the pace before grabbing the lead and then pulling away to a 6 1/4 length victory July 29, the opening day of the Saratoga meeting in upstate New York.
Lone Star Park ended its 2009 spring Thoroughbred meet, which was run from April 9 through July 26, with decreases in both attendance and handle.
BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra worked five furlongs in 1:01.38 over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Racecourse July 13.
Even after an eight-hour hearing July 7, the arguments still aren't over concerning a May 2008 drug positive for one of Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen's horses.
BlackBerry Preakness (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra breezed July 6 over the Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga Race Course in her first workout since her record-setting victory in the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) eight days ago.
Glen Hill Farm's homebred Closeout coasted to a three-length victory over Gloria Goodbody to win the 28th running of the $114,900 Locust Grove Handicap (gr. III) to close out the 45-day Spring Meet at Churchill Downs.
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.
Rachel Alexandra faced only two opponents in the $300,000 Mother Goose (gr. I) June 27 at Belmont Park but the sensational filly put on a dazzling display anyway, setting a stakes record while romping by nearly 20 lengths under Calvin Borel.
Shipped north to Prairie Meadows for the June 26 Iowa Oaks (gr. III) off a big win in the Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) last month at Churchill Downs, Hightap delivered again, taking the $200,000 race by three-quarters of a length over Sweet Relish.
Preakness (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra galloped about a mile and a quarter on Belmont's fast main track early June 26, well in advance of a 9:30 a.m. EDT downpour.
Rachel Alexandra, who when last seen was making history by winning the May 16 BlackBerry Preakness (gr. I), will make her return to the racetrack in the $300,000 Mother Goose (gr. I) June 27 at Belmont Park. The Horse of the Year candidate will face only four rivals in the nine-furlong test for 3-year-old fillies.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has saddled the Debutante (gr. III) winner a record six times, will have two chances at bringing home a seventh June 27 when he sends out Westrock Stables' Decelerator and Tidal Pool in the $100,000 event at Churchill Downs.
When Rachel Alexandra makes her Belmont Park debut in the 53rd renewal of the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) June 27, the New York Racing Association will give away pink bracelets embossed with the filly's name and admission for ladies will be free.
Graded stakes winner Heckle sired his first winner when his daughter Syndi's Tease won June 19 at Calder Race Course.
BlackBerry Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra turned in solid six-furlong workout June 8 at Churchill Downs as the team behind the 3-year-daughter of Medaglia d'Oro considers her next start.
Winchell Thoroughbreds and Gainesway Thoroughbreds' Hightap ran right by odds-on favorite Luster in upper stretch and sprinted her way to a 3 1/4-length victory in the $111,500 Dogwood (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs May 30.
And so the racing world waits anxiously for Jess Jackson to announce his decision regarding Rachel Alexandra's Belmont Stakes status. Notice it says announce his decision, not waits for him to decide.
Rachel Carson, author of "Silent Spring," wrote: "One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again'?"
One day after combining to win the BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I), trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Calvin Borel were enthusiastic in their praise of the Rachel Alexandra.
With slightly more than two hours until post for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, the filly Rachel Alexandra is the 2-1 favorite. Four other horses are single-digit odds.
Heart Ashley opened up on the turn for home, looked like she would coast to an easy win, and then had to hold off the late charge of Cinderella's Wish to win the $100,000 Adena Stallions Miss Preakness Stakes (gr. III) by a head May 15 at Pimlico Race Course.
With all the rain recently in Kentucky, and with a minor business matter requiring him to be out of town over the weekend, Calvin Borel had an important project to finish before leaving town. The morning of May 15 he was mowing his grass.
The prospective field for the May 16 Preakness (gr. I) received a boost in star power when assistant trainer Scott Blasi informed Maryland Jockey Club director of horsemen's relations Phoebe Hayes that Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra is scheduled to fly to Baltimore May 13 for the May 16 $1 million classic. A decision on whether she actually gets on the plane will not be made until the filly works.
Stonestreet Stables and partner Harold T. McCormick announced May 8 that Calvin Borel has agreed to ride Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra for the current racing season.
A decision as to whether Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra will be supplemented into the field for the $1 million Preakness (gr. I) could be made May 10 or 11 after the filly works for her new trainer, Steve Asmussen.
The performance of the Fasig-Tipton Texas sale of 2-year-olds in training March 31 exceeded expectations when the average price held steady amidst tumbling figures at juvenile auctions across the country. The sale was held at Lone Star Park.
Two-time Eclipse Horse of the Year Curlin and his connections have swept the top awards for 2008, as voted by the members of the New York Turf Writers Association. All of the 2008 award winners will be honored at the 86th annual NYTWA Awards Dinner at the Saratoga National Golf Club Aug. 24.
- By Ryan Conley
Prominent trainer Scott Lake has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in a New York federal court, according to recent filings.
On paper, the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) has turned out to be one of the most intriguing and highly-anticipated prep races of the season, as a number of promising 3-year-olds will attempt to answer questions about their ability to go on to the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I), and possibly the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred War Echo passed stablemate Four Gifts inside the sixteenth-pole and went on to win the $150,000 Silverbulletday (gr. III) by 1 1/2 lengths Feb. 7 at Fair Grounds.
The field that has passed the entry box for the Feb. 7 Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT) makes for an intriguing handicapping puzzle. The cast, which is about evenly split with horses making their first start off a layoff and those with some recent Fair Grounds experience, is long on back class, but a bit light on early pace.
Haynesfield picked up his third consecutive victory Jan. 3, warding off a stiff mid-stretch challenge from Mike From Queens and drawing off to a 3 1/2-length victory in the 34th running of the $69.700 Count Fleet Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile and 70 yards on Aqueduct's fast inner dirt track.
Steven Asmussen, Garrett Gomez and Zayat Stables, LLC head the individual lists of the leading trainers, jockeys and owners...
With less than two weeks remaining in the Thoroughbred racing season, nearly all of the 2008 leaders have been decided. The lone category without a clear-cut winner is earnings by owner, and it might take until the final few days of the year to determine a victor.
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