A Filly for the Ages: Rachel Alexandra Takes Preakness Stakes By Storm
While Asmussen remained non-committal about whether Rachel Alexandra would be running in the Belmont Stakes on June 6; he and principal owner Jess Jackson did hold out the possibility of a run by the classy filly. For now, the plan is to allow her to rest, with some light exercise. Her trainer, Steve Asmussen, said that she will be "treated with the respect that she deserves."
"We'll wait for three, four days," said Jackson in the press conference following the race. Explaining that the choice to enter Rachel Alexandra in the Belmont would be based on her best interests, Jackson said that the horse speaks "through its body and attitude and glistening coat." The decision will also be determined upon approval from her veterinarians, as well as on the opinions from all those who are connected to Rachel Alexandra. Whether she runs in the Belmont or not, Jackson said that "she'll run against the boys again, somewhere."
Rachel Alexandra's pedigree can be traced to the highly accomplished sire, Medaglia d'Oro, and dam Lotta Kim, of the sire Roar. She was given her name by her breeder and former owner, Dolphus Morrison, in honor of his eldest granddaughter (of the same name). Jess Jackson, her current owner, will extend the superior bloodline Rachel carries. When she is finished racing, she will be bred with another of Jackson's champion horses, Curlin, which won the Preakness in 2007.
"[Rachel Alexandra] is fast, strong and durable," said Jackson. "The traits we should be breeding into all future generations of racehorses."
Rachel Alexandra joins a small and exclusive club of fillies that have won the Preakness crown: Flocarline in 1903; Whimsical in 1906; Rhine Maiden in 1915; and Nellie Morse in 1924. This latest win by a filly has been a long time in coming (85 years!) and all who have been acquainted with her agree that she is the best thoroughbred racer around right now -- regardless of gender. Rachel's rider in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, Calvin Borel, spoke of her with glowing deference during the news conference. Borel described riding Rachel as the most comfortable and confident experience of his career.
A part of the purse from Saturday's race went to support the cause of cancer research. Owner Jess Jackson's mother, and two aunts, died from cancer complications, and his wife is a survivor of cancer. In honor of Jackson's commitment to supporting research, Rachel wears a pink ribbon as an accessory to her tack.
"When you look in the filly's eyes, it's unbelievable," said Borel. "She's the best horse in the country right now, bar none."
Next up, a Belmont Stakes victory? We may find out on June 6.
Image: Lee Burchfield / via Flickr