With the $400,000 race only a week away, it looks as if Rachel will have four definite opponents, with four others listed as possible. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro lost her first two starts this year. However, her 10 1/2-length romp in the grade II Fleur de Lis Stakes at Churchill Downs in her last start suggests she may be nearing a return to her championship form of last year.
Those considered definite for 1 1/8-mile Lady’s Secret, originally scheduled to be run Izod Haskell Invitational (gr. I) day Aug. 1, are the Patrick Biancone-trained Queen Martha, second in a Monmouth turf allowance race in her U.S. debut May 30; Ask the Moon, third in the Monmouth Beach Stakes May 30, but beaten 23 1/4 lengths in the Lighthouse Stakes in her most recent start; the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Starship Angel, a well-beaten fourth in the Monmouth Beach Stakes and Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne in her last two starts; and one filly from the barn of Todd Pletcher, who nominated four to the race. Pletcher’s best filly at Monmouth has been Malibu Prayer, a 4 1/2-length winner of the Lighthouse Stakes, who was beaten 19 1/4 lengths by Rachel Alexandra in last year’s Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I).
Starship Angel finished second in the Rare Treat Stakes at Aqueduct earlier in the year before winning a restricted stakes. Queen Martha broke her maiden at Nottingham in
Possible starters include Stage Trick, third in the Obeah Stakes at Delaware for Alan Goldberg in her last start; the Dallas Stewart-trained Unforgotten, a winner of two listed stakes and placed in 14 stakes, who finished 12 lengths behind Rachel Alexandra in the New Orleans Ladies; and Hark and Ivory Empress from the barn of Ian Wilkes.
“Rachel is doing really well,” said the filly’s regular rider jockey Calvin Borel. “Steve (trainer Asmussen) seems like he’s really got her right. After her last race, I think she’s back on the top of her game. I watched her work when she was down at Churchill and from what I can see, she’s back.”
Borel still has fond memories of last year’s trip to Monmouth, when Rachel captured the $1 million Haskell by six lengths in the slop and received a thunderous ovation after the race.
“The way the fans reacted to Rachel last year in the Haskell was unbelievable,” Borel said. “Maybe it’s because she’s a filly and for her to beat the boys the way she did was really something special. Rachel did everything we asked her to do last year, and the fans really appreciated that.”
Borel will return to Monmouth for the following week’s Haskell, where he will ride WinStar Farm’s Super Saver , who he rode to victory in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). A win would make Borel the first jockey ever to win back-to-back runnings of the Haskell.
“From what I hear, Super Saver is doing very well," Borel said. "He put on a little weight, which is good to hear because he really had to run hard in the
“I spoke with Elliott Walden (director of racing for WinStar) the other day and he told me that Super Saver looks great and is really training well. He’s had a bit of a break since the Preakness, and it looks like a pretty tough field, but he should be ultra-tough in there.”