View Full Version : Rachel Alexandra arrives @ Saratoga

06-29-2009, 05:18 PM
from Thoroughbred Times:

The morning after Rachel Alexandra’s record-setting 19 1/4-length victory in the Mother Goose Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, trainer Steve Asmussen was still in awe of her talent and unwilling to take part in the Rachel Alexandra-Zenyatta debate.

Momentum for a showdown between BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Rachel Alexandra and unbeaten champion Zenyatta picked up steam after both talented females posted Group 1 wins within 30 minutes of each other on opposite coasts.

Anticipation for a showdown that may or may not ever happen is nothing new for Asmussen, who went through a similar situation last year with his reigning Horse of the Year Curlin and dual classic winner Big Brown.

"I'm well versed in that with the Curlin-Big Brown thing last year," Asmussen said. "I'm just going to worry about her health and happiness, and then we'll sit down and decide what's best for her."

Rachel Alexandra shook free in the stretch in a dominant Mother Goose victory, establishing a stakes record despite coasting through the final furlong under Calvin Borel (video).

"She ran a big race," Asmussen said of Rachel Alexandra, who set a Mother Goose record of 1:46.33 for 1 1/8 miles and established the largest margin of victory in the 53-year history of the race. "I think Calvin [Borel] said it best—she's not normal.

"The best way to describe it is that she's got an extremely high cruising speed. But obviously, we've known that about her for a long time."

Rachel Alexandra arrived safely at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York on Sunday and is doing quite well, according to Asmussen’s assistant Scott Blasi.

"She shipped great," Blasi said. "She's settled into Curlin's old stall, which is now her stall, right next to my office. …She recovered very well. She seemed strong yesterday and was starving when we fed her last night and ate everything this morning, as well."

Jerry Moss, who co-owns Zenyatta along with his wife, Ann, helped spark some of the debate when he said he would have no problem shipping Zenyatta east to meet Rachel Alexandra later this season. Earlier in the week, Rachel Alexandra’s majority owner, Jess Jackson, said the Medaglia d’Oro filly would not be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships because of the synthetic surface at Santa Anita Park.

Zenyatta’s trainer, John Shirreffs, did his best to diffuse the debate on HRTV Sunday morning, explaining that the five-year-old Street Cry (Ire) mare will probably race next in the Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (G2) at Del Mar on August 9 since Rachel Alexandra is expected to contest a three-year-old race at Saratoga.