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Rachel Alexandra is Back!

Rachel Alexandra, under a confident ride by Calvin Borel, toyed with her four rivals in Saturday's Grade 2 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs.

Jessica Is Back broke on top from the outside post under Garrett Gomez. At that point, Borel eased Rachel to the outside to contest the pace. The reigning Horse of the Year took charge around the far turn and shook off a brief challenge from Distinctive Dixie.

The Steve Asmussen trainee coasted across the wire under wraps and stopped the clock in 1:48.78. She paid $2.20 to win.

Jess Jackson's talented filly was not ready to begin her 2010 campaign at Fair Grounds in March but she was on an accelerated schedule to make the Apple Blossom. She was not up to facing Zenyatta and her loss to inferior competition in the New Orleans Ladies prompted her connections to back off.

Rachel shipped to Churchill Downs to prepare for the La Trioienne and was beaten a head by Unrivaled Belle in another uncharacteristic flat effort.

The third time proved to be the charm as she appeared fit while displaying the brilliance and turn of foot that was evident throughout 2009.

Distinctive Dixie finished second and was followed across the line by Jessica Is Back, Multipass, and Made For Magic.

FLEUR DE LIS HANDICAP QUOTES
 
CALVIN BOREL (jockey, RACHEL ALEXANDRA, winner): “She’s just getting back. You have to give her a chance. She’s a filly and she did the impossible when she was a 3-year-old. I think you’ll see a great future now. She did everything right today. (Trainer) Steve (Asmussen) told me just to run my race and see where were at. She showed up today. She felt the same. I just don’t think she was ready before. Steve knows what he’s doing. She showed up today. She was perfect and we couldn’t ask for more.”
 
STEVE ASMUSSEN (trainer, RACHEL ALEXANDRA, winner): “I’m very proud for everybody involved that she won. We are all grateful that (co-owner) Mr. (Jess) Jackson and (Jackson’s wife) Barbara (Banke) put a Horse of the Year back in training and take all the advice or criticism or whatever, but she is a tremendously sound filly. She’s a machine and she ran a great race today, and hopefully this is a step in the right direction for the rest of the year. It’s an honor to train a horse like her. We will take her back to the barn and there will be a lot of petting her, and peppermints, and loving on her.”



 

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Older Comments about Rachel Alexandra is Back! ...

History will repeat itself. Read Hillenbrands book on Seabiscuit and the trouble in setting up the match is exposed for all to see. Same thing here: what distance? what surface? when? EVERY major match race of tthe twentieth century from Zev/Papyrus to Foolish to Tyepcast/|Convenience has gone to the front runner so any race would have to have a field of at least 7 to satisfy any resemblance of a fair contest. It won't happen unless it is the Breeder's Cup and the RA crowd won't want 10 furlongs.
There's dirty little secret that no one will speak of, Zen doesn travel because she doesn't travel well and her connections are afraid to upset her tooo much. She thrives in her own enviroment but; gets upset with strange places. None of the will say it out loud, don't plan on seeing her out of Cal before the BC.
Until Z beats Rachel on the racetrack, I will not admit that I'm wrong and Z has not proven that she's the best horse. And by the way, I do hope Z wins today.
CTC do you wish Zenyatta good luck today? I was just wondering:)
@cugel - "Z's connections will do their best to duck Rachel and Quality Road so they can retire her with an empty "undefeated" record." Seems to me that RA had the perfect opportunity to prove something but actually turned out to "duck" the competition in Hot Springs this year. Wake up and realize that you are wrong.
It's easy for a good horse to go 16-0 when it avoids most of the tough competition. QR and RA have lost some races because they go on the road and tackle the tough horses. Z's owners are cowards and will avoid the BC this year because the competition will be too tough and they're afraid of her losing a race.
Why the hell should Zen be shipped to prove herself? Challengers should seek out the champion wherever they might be. She has nothing to prove.
cugel the clever - be very carefull what you say. I love Zen I think she is a super freak, BUT: speaking the truth around Zen crazys is not allowed.
Glad to see the rivalry- RE-stoked!!! Hopefully this can get settled at the BC in Nov.
I was at CD yesterday and witnessed Rachel's comeback – not only a win, but 10 1/2 lengths! ''luvzenyatta'' – I'm also about to explode because I can't defend Rachel without sounding like I'm critizing Zenyatta – and I don't want to sound like I am. I also love Zenyetta, and can't wait to see her in the BC. I am also rooting for her today to get her 17th win! But, too many Zenyatta fans are still bitter about HOY, and I wish they'd just get over it and quit critizing RA all the time. I was disappointed they didn't put Rachel in the Foster – her time yesterday was better than the Foster, so who knows how it would have turned out? They keep Zen in CA, running the same races over and over. I think the only time she's raced outside of CA was the two times in the AB. Let's also not forget that on Oaks Day, 2009, at Churchill Downs, Zenyatta was scratched in the L'ville Distaff (why?) but Rachel took the Oaks that day, on THAT track, and by 20 1/4 lengths! I really believe the reason Zenyatta lost HOY is b/c she didn't run on enough tracks. She's proven she can run, so why hold her back? It seems they are keeping her in CA, on familiar tracks, just so they can keep her winning streak in tack! I was so disapponted they didn't bring her to the Foster. She needed to run at CD before November!!!
Rachel loses to inferior horses because she's "not fit" or "not in top condition" or something...Zenyatta just goes to races and beats whoever is there. She must be lucky to have been so "fit" for all 16 races she has won since November 22, 2007. I think it was Medlocke who said 16 for 16 would be impressive even if she was racing donkeys. As for ducking Rachel, I recall Zenyatta ready for Rachel at the "5 mil $ race of the century" but Rachel "couldn't make it". Anyway I'm glad Rachel won so Cugel could let out all that pent up frustration. Sounds like someone was about to explode :)
  • ThePixiePoet · @LuvZenyatta: Would you Jealous-of-Rachel people get off of these forums? It's getting so old! Rachel's Beyer speed figures speak for themselves. Look them up. · 1876 days ago
I hate to be an "I told you so...", but, they took off the noseband, as I had suggested!
Way to go Rachel. Great effort. We knew you still had it.
Way to go, nice to see the champ back and looking great! I think that proves that she was entered in the wrong race today, she should have taken on the Stephen Foster. Go Rachel Go!
Z's connections are more interested in setting meaningless winning streak records against undistinguished company than they are in challenging the best horses in the world. If they were interested in testing the best, they would ship her around the country and test the boys more often. Rachel's resume is far better than Z's - she's beaten better horses on more different tracks, has set more track records and has better Beyer's than Z. Rachel is the better horse and now that she's back, Z's connections will do their best to duck Rachel and Quality Road so they can retire her with an empty "undefeated" record.
Great to see Rachel Alexandra back on the beam. There is still hope for the Rachel-Zenyatta race...if we can get Z's connections to leave SoCal this summer.

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