Rachel Alexandra is no longer mentioned by just her
name. It's always something like "Super
filly Rachel Alexandra" or "Queen of horse racing Rachel Alexandra" - a moniker
that includes an adjective or exclamation, as if only her name wasn't enough.
In any case, announcer Tom Durkin will be calling Rachel
Alexandra by name in the post parade for the September 5 grade I Woodward
Stakes. The determination that she could
become the first female to win the 56-year-old race for older horses was made
this morning following a workout. NYRA
officials must be pleased; they added $250,000 to the $500,000 purse.
When the Woodward was transferred upstate to anchor the
waning days of this meet in 2006, hope was high that the move would lure
handicap division stars that could turn the fans on. Absent that (there aren't any anymore),
having the most talked about horse on the track a week after the second most
talked about horse runs is a Godsend.
This reference, of course, is to the Kentucky Derby champion
Mine That Bird, the New Mexico-based gelding that will run in the Travers. Mine That Bird will stretch his legs on the
main track Tuesday, as will Hold Me Back, another contender. The work tab on Monday featured times posted
for Quality Road
and Kensei. It was the four furlongs in
50 seconds by Kensei, a stablemate of Rachel Alexandra, that served as the
impetus for holding her back a week and letting him try the Midsummer Derby.
The season's two biggest social events - the Belmont Child
Care Association's benefit on Wednesday and the Travers Ball on Thursday - are
on deck. New York
turf writers gathered for dinner at the start of the week to pay homage the
circuit's top performers - a Saratoga
tradition that dates back to 1931. What
do you know? Jackson and Asmussen are
among the honorees.
Before the meet's fourth week ended, Alan Garcia proclaimed
by example that he remained a force in the leading jockey race. He and his mount in the third race - the Lucy
Scribner Stakes - had to wait out an inquiry and an objection before having
their names posted for posterity. Garcia's
win in the fourth came no easier. The
rider got 14-1 Privacy up by a nose at the wire. In the sixth, he rode Linda Rice's (there she
goes again) Hook Me Up to a maiden sprint tally.
By the way, the sun was back, and this time without the
humidity. Tuesday's going to be another
splendid day, perfect weather for La Fiesta.
What fun it is to attend the Museum
of Racing's open house at Oklahoma. The restaurant, El Mariachi III, will be
serving up mouth-watering grub and Retumba, an all-female Afro-Caribbean
ensemble, will rock the bomba and plena and merengue. Hm...but how about Springsteen at SPAC? Is this a dilemma?