By Any Other Name, the Same

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?

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