Forego, Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, Affirmed, Alysheba, Cigar, Ghostzapper and Curlin. What do all of these horses have in common? They have all won the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes. Three-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra will seek to add her name to the list of winners on Saturday.
If you had told me at the beginning of the year that a three-year-old filly would more likely than not win the Woodward I probably would have had a good laugh. However, the super filly is breaking all the rules. She is seemingly unbeatable, and the scary thing is that she is only getting faster. We may have seen only the tip of the iceberg.
Rachel Alexandra has compiled an excellent list of wins this year. She was a dominating winner of the Grade 2 Fair Ground Oaks, and Grade 2 Fantasy. After those races she won the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks by a shocking 20 lengths. Although it was by a mere length, her win in the Grade 1Preakness Stakes was also very impressive. She pretty much jogged around the track to beat two fillies in the Grade 1 Mother Goose, and toyed with the boys again while winning the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. It doesn’t get much better.
After winning the Haskell by an easy six or seven lengths over Summer Bird most fans wanted to see the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro race in the Travers. That was not to be. As you probably already know, Summer Bird won the Travers. Some claimed she was dodging Quality Road (one of my favorite colts), a statement which that I find laughable. If Rachel Alexandra had raced in the Travers she would’ve won the race by at least several lengths.
It seems like everything coming out of Rachel Alexandra’s races is coming back to win. A filly which she faced in November returned to win a Grade 3 at Saratoga this past weekend. Flashing won the Grade 1 Test Stakes after facing the super filly. As I already stated, Summer Bird came back to take the Grade 1 Travers. Can the older males pose a challenge for her?
The older male division has been weak for several years. It started going downward in my opinion after Lava Man exited his prime and Invasor was retired to stud duty. It hasn’t picked up much since then. I would argue that the three-year-old male division is stronger than the older male division.
The horses in the Woodward probably do not stand a chance against Rachel. The top older male, Rail Trip, will be racing on the west coast in the Pacific Classic. It would be interesting to see how she would do against him, but I fear even he would be left in her wake.
The best finish for a three-year-old filly in the Woodward Stakes came when Summer Guest ran second and was disqualified to third in 1972. Shuvee and Lady’s Secret both competed in the race at four, with the latter running second and the former running off the board. Both mares are in Racing’s Hall of Fame.
The Woodward field is likely to include 2008 Belmont Stakes winner Da ‘Tara, 2008 Fountain of Youth winner Cool Coal Man, 2009 Whitney Stakes victor Bullsbay, 2009 Foster Handicap winner Macho Again and multiple Grade 1 placed Asiatic Boy. You would think this is a star studded field after seeing each horses marquee win, but all of them pale in comparison to the freak of nature that is Rachel Alexandra.
I can’t wait to watch this race. A good friend of mine always says he likes to see history being made. I’ve always been resistant to that statement, but I cannot wait to watch Rachel Alexandra become the first three-year-old filly to beat older males. It’s something I will probably remember for the rest of my life. Get ready boys; you can run but you can’t hide. Rachel Alexandra is coming for you.
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