#4 – The Mother Goose

THE INTRIGUE

By mid-summer it became clear that racing fans nationwide had a fever and the only prescription was Rachel Alexandra.  The fleet-footed filly made her first start since a win in the Preakness in the Mother Goose at Belmont Park on the last Saturday in July.  She was to face four rivals in this Grade I staple but two scratches on the morning of the race reduced the field to just three.

THE PLAYERS

Rachel Alexandra’s list of accomplishments was vast by the time the Mother Goose rolled around.  She had already tied the track record in the Martha Washington, won the Fair Grounds Oaks with devastating ease, cruised in the Fantasy, romped in a record-setting Kentucky Oaks win, and become the first filly to win the Preakness in three-quarters of a century.  The Mother Goose was to be simply part of her routine as the public sent her off at 1-20 knowing fully she completely out-classed her two rivals.

Flashing was considered a filly with a future when she made a start in the Busanda on Aqueduct’s inner track early in 2009.  She had a brutal trip that day and was given a bit of time before re-surfacing in an allowance race at the Big A that she won and was then given the “bump” to Godolphin blue for the Nassau County at Belmont.  She was victorious that afternoon over a speedy filly named Saarlight and the fact that Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor showed up to watch this daughter of A.P. Indy contest the Mother Goose said something about his feelings about her, or his interest in seeing Rachel Alexandra live and in person!

THE OUTCOME

In four snapshots, you can get the full effect of Rachel Alexandra’s Mother Goose triumph:

IMAGE #1 – The field is a quarter-mile into the 9 furlong journey

With both Flashing and Malibu Prayer stretching out from sprint races, Rachel Alexandra was relegated to a stalking/closing position early.

IMAGE #2 – There’s just over five furlongs to go

At the half-mile mark Rachel was in a position that she’d never been in before, four lengths off the leaders.  The tactical speed that she’s showing speaks to her versatility.

IMAGE #3 – The field nears the quarter pole

Calvin Borel merely shook the reins at the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and she came cruising through between the vanquished pacesetters.  In the span of a furlong she was 10 lengths in front.

IMAGE #4 – The competition is gone as Rachel frolics through the final furlong

With the victory firmly in her grasp, Rachel is merely hand-ridden by Calvin Borel as she rolls home.  Her final time was 1:46 and 1/5 which bested the stakes record by a fifth of a second and her margin of victory demolished the record set by Ruffian in her 13 1/4 length score in 1975.

THE AFTERMATH

The best was not only yet to come for Rachel Alexandra, who subsequently beat 3YO males once again in a phenomenal Haskell victory but also became the first female to best older males in the Woodward.  She is currently gearing up for a 2010 campaign that is sure to include a series of challenges that will be predicated on making her one of the sport’s all-time greats.

Flashing would go on to win two Grade I races after her 31 1/2 length defeat at the hands of Rachel Alexandra.  She scored in the Test at Saratoga going seven panels and won the Gazelle at Aqueduct in late November after finishing 3rd in the Presque Isle Masters against older horses in the interim.  She has been retired by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Stable.

Malibu Prayer went on to finish second to Careless Jewel in the Delaware Oaks and capped her season with a victory against older horses in the Chilukki at Churchill Downs.  She’s currently pointing to a 2010 campaign that’ll begin at Gulfstream.

THE RACE

Enjoy Rachel’s Mother Goose tour de force:

Join us tomorrow for #3 on the countdown of the 10 best NY races of 2009!

All photo images courtesy of www.youtube.com

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