It’s not the race most people would have anticipated for her, but reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra will continue her 2010 campaign in the Lady’s Secret Stakes July 24 at Monmouth Park.
The ungraded race was originally scheduled for Aug. 1 with a $150,000 purse and was to be run at 1 1/16 miles. With the addition of star attraction Rachel Alexandra, who has won 12 times for earnings of more than $3.2 million, the Lady’s Secret was moved up a week, given a $400,000 purse, and will be run at 1 1/8 miles. A field of seven was drawn with post time scheduled for 5:50 p.m. EDT.
Many assumed the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro would remain at historic Saratoga to race in the grade I Ruffian Handicap Aug. 1, but earlier this month majority owner Jess Jackson announced Rachel Alexandra would head to New Jersey. The bay filly arrived at Monmouth Park on July 20. She had three works at Saratoga, the last coming July 19 when she breezed four furlongs in :49 3/5.
Rachel Alexandra climbed into the win column in her last start after a pair of defeats to begin her 4-year-old season. She rolled to a decisive 10 1/2-length victory in the June 12 Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen.
In her only other start at Monmouth, Rachel Alexandra romped by six lengths in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) last summer while defeating eventual 3-year-old champion male Summer Bird in the slop. It was seventh of eight consecutive wins during her historic campaign in which she defeated males three times, including the Preakness (gr. I).
“She’s bigger than she was last year,” said assistant trainer Scott Blasi. “She’s put on weight. Last year, if you looked at her neck, it was narrow. Now it’s filled out. She’s just doing great.”
Regular rider Calvin Borel will be aboard Rachel Alexandra, who will carry top weight of 123 pounds and break from post 5. She was bred in Kentucky by her previous owner Dolphus Morrison.
On paper, Rachel Alexandra has a huge class advantage over her six rivals, none of them with a graded win to their credit.
Richard Santulli’s Stage Trick enters off solid third-place effort in the Obeah Stakes (gr. III) June 12 at Delaware Park. The 4-year-old Distorted Humor filly won a one-mile optional claimer prior to that and is one of several entrants that have flashed early speed in previous races
Alan Goldberg trains Stage Trick, a winner of four of 13 lifetime starts. She will break from the rail under Rajiv Maragh.
The other stakes winners in the field are Robert Cromartie’s Yes She's a Lady from the barn of Todd Pletcher and Cheval Corporation’s Ask the Moon.
Yes She's a Lady won the one-mile Deceit Stakes by 10 lengths in wire-to-wire fashion at Belmont Park in May 2009, but is winless in five starts since. She was runner-up in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park in her last start March 11.
Ask the Moon won the Lighthouse Stakes on the Monmouth slop in June 2009, one start prior to finishing seventh in the Lady’s Secret. She is winless in her last three starts, including two this year.
Fabulous Babe, claimed two starts ago for $35,000 and Queen Martha, who shipped in from England this year, also like to run on the front end.
$400,000 Lady's Secret (Race 11, 5:50 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Stage Trick (KY), E Trujillo, 118, A E Goldberg
2. Queen Martha (KY), J Bravo, 118, P L Biancone
3. Ask the Moon (MD), J Rose, 118, E T Allard
4. Hark (KY), C H Marquez Jr., 118, I R Wilkes
5. Rachel Alexandra (KY), C H Borel, 123, S M Asmussen
6. Fabulous Babe (FL), P Fragoso, 118, J Corrigan
7. Yes She's a Lady (KY), E Castro, 120, T A Pletcher