Vanessa Ng photo
If you didn’t get goosebumps (again) from watching the freak horse that is RACHEL ALEXANDRA stave off tough older horses in the final yards of yesterday’s Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, well…
We’re running out of superlatives for one of the greatest racing fillies and horse of any sex, we have seen in decades.
With her sizzling cruising speed, her ability to idle a bit in the middle, and then her tenaciousness through the stretch, Rachel Alexandra had every right be caught by Macho Again in the final furlong of the 9 furlong race. She had worked hard to put away her rivals before the stretch run.
Her rider Calvin Borel asked her for more than she has ever had to give (whip count was in the 20s) and she held on.
Her time of 1:48 1/5 earned her a 109 Beyer Figure.
FROM WTD’S SITE AT FLICKR.COM:
CALVIN BOREL FALLS OFF FEISTY RACHEL BEFORE THE RACE...
WTD at FLICKR.COM
NEW YORK TIMES EXCERPT
By BILL FINLEY
Published: September 5, 2009
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — With a bigger, stronger, older male horse bearing down on Rachel Alexandra, threatening her supremacy with each ground-swallowing stride, her magical run through the 2009 racing season seemed certain to end. Macho Again had her in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga. He had the momentum; she had her heart and her will, which, it turns out, are immeasurable assets.
Rachel Alexandra, who had been dominating her competition this year, showed a new dimension in Saturday’s Grade I race. She had to prove she was not just the best horse in the field but also the toughest. After setting fast early fractions that must have taken a toll, Rachel Alexandra was tested in the stretch run and survived a fierce battle with 4-year-old Macho Again. She refused to let him by and held on to win by a head.
BELLE OF THE BALL
At Woodbine, TRIBAL BELLE, who once ran for $8,000 claiming, won the Grade 3 Seaway Stakes for fillies and mares at 7 furlongs.
She earned a 92 Beyer Figure.
It was a classic ride by Jim McAleney that won the race essentially. No one went with the very tough, and very fresh, speedster and once the 23 1/5 was hung up for the first 2 furlongs, the race was over.
“We did get some really comfortable splits,” said McAleney, of the
opening quarter-mile in :23.49 and a half in :46.60. “It was an absolute to go to the lead. I thought if there was anybody on the outside – there was a little bit of speed – and they wanted to go,
this filly could sit off them.”
Everyone rated though and that’s why they lost.
SIMPLY SPLENDID ran hard to rally for 2nd but had no chance into that slow pace.
TRIBAL BELLE’s story was outlined in a good story in the DAILY RACING FORM on Saturday by Ron Gierkink (and Gierkink’s family celebrated a nice win with turf sprinter FLASHY YANKEE yesterday at Woodbine).
And Tribal Belle’s sire, the Deputy Minister fellow TRIBUNAL, is deceased after hurting himself in a stall accident early in 2008.
She is a British Columbia homebred for Canvasback Farms.
Terry Jordan trains.
Also yesterday at Woodbine Jordan and McAleney combined with Bob Cheema’s PEACE N THE VALLEY to win race race 1 for $40,000 claiming – also on the lead.
What a claim by EZIKIEL MILLS and trainer BANCROFT DSOUZA who took the Macho Uno fellow MACHO FORCE for $37,500 from his 2nd career start (okay the horse ran for $19,000 first time out..oops) and watched him stroll to a win by a long margin in his grass debut for $50K in race 2. The Kentucky bred led all the way through 1 mile on turf under Gerry Olguin.
Trainer Sandra Dominguez, who has already had success with the 2yo Fearless Cowboy, whom she sold for Gulf Coast Racing, won with the 2yo KING OF THE SWAMP in race 4, a maiden allowance for Ontario sired guys. Owned by Ramon Dominguez, the Trajectory fellow battled off the turn and then edged clear to win the 7 furlong race at a fat 11 to 1 ( 6 to 1 in the morning line). It was the Tom Pendleton bred’s 3rd career race.
Big favourite ABRUPTLY, down from 12 to 1 in the morning line to 2 to 1 was 10th.
A couple of tough old-timers are headed to Fort Erie following their 1-2 finish in race 6 for $16,000 claiming.
FEATHER BED LANE, a super grey fellow who is 7 now, won for the 7th time in his 47th race for JMJ and Mary Breeze and trainer Julia Carey.
He was claimed by Jim Ensom.
Daryl Ezra claimed the 2nd place finisher DRAGOONER who is 15 for 45 in his life and is also a 7yo.