Six years after her dam beat the boys with a brilliant performance in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I), Rachel's Valentina put in an impressive run of her own Sept. 5 at Saratoga Race Course to take the $350,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) for Stonestreet Stables.
Video: Spinaway S. (G1)
The homebred 2-year-old Bernardini filly, the second foal out of champion Rachel Alexandra, galloped her record to a perfect 2-for-2 on Woodward Day, as she won the seven-furlong test in a final time of 1:23.10 on a fast dirt track.
A quarter went in :22.75 with a half in :45.38, and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez swung Rachel's Valentina out to make her move. Constellation had taken the lead through three-quarters in 1:10.09, but Rachel's Valentina surged past her inside the final furlong to take control, holding off the late-closing run of Tap to It to win by a length.
Off as the 8-5 favorite in a field of six, Rachel's Valentina returned $5.50, $3.10, and $2.60, while Tap to It paid $3.30 and $2.70, Constellation held 3 1/4 lengths back for third ($3.40), with Anna Rae, Tonasah, and Banree completing the order of finish.
Rachel's Valentina came off a maiden-breaking debut Aug. 2 at the Spa for trainer Todd Pletcher. The score upped her earnings to $259,800.
"I thought she ran fantastic," Pletcher said. "Actually, she put herself into the race a little more than I thought she would, but she seemed to be handling tracking those horses well, and getting a little dirt well. I felt like, turning for home, knowing her style and watching her train, that she was going to keep coming. I've always felt like the farther she goes, the better she gets, and I think that's proven to be true."
With her victory in the Spinaway, a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" event, Rachel's Valentina picked up an automatic berth in the Oct. 31 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Keeneland. Pletcher said the Oct. 3 Frizette (gr. I) at Belmont Park or the Oct. 2 Alcibiades (gr. I) at Keeneland are the straightforward options for another start before then.
"I haven't really thought about (what's next). I'll talk to the Stonestreet people and see," he said. "I think she'll have one more race if she's doing good."