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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Kentucky Oaks Runner

Kathmanblu in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes

Reed Palmer Photography, Churchill Downs  The Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Saturday has shaped up to be the deepest sophomore filly race of the year and a fantastically exciting prep for the May 6th Kentucky Oaks. The field of seven includes stakes winners Gran Lioness, Bouquet Booth and Inglorious. But all eyes will be fixed on Kathmanblu to see if the Bluegrass Cat filly can continue her brilliance on the dirt and remain one of the heavy favorites for the Kentucky Oaks.

Last year Kathmanblu finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Fillies in early November before rolling to an 8 ½ length victory in the Golden Rod Stakes over Churchill Downs’ dirt track on November 27th. In her 3-year-old debut Kathmanblu raced to an effortless victory in the Sweetest Chant Stakes at Gulfstream Park on the turf. She looks unbeatable if you go by her last two wins and each race seems to be a little bit easier for her. While she has shown affinity for both dirt and turf her Golden Rod performance suggests that she is best on the dirt. That doesn’t bode very well for the rest of the field.

Even with Kathmanblu looking as strong as she does coming into the Rachel Alexandra, it will be no walk in the park for the talented filly. Bouquet Booth enters the Rachel Alexandra riding a three race win streak, the last two coming in stakes races. She is the only graded stakes winner in the field aside from Kathmanblu. On November 20th Bouquet Booth unleashed a terrific rally to capture the Delta Downs Princess (gr.3) for her second consecutive win. In her 2011 debut Bouquet Booth ran her streak to three when she held on to take the Silverbulletday Stakes on January 22nd at Fair Grounds. She won the Silverbulletday while racing on the lead and figures to be close to the pace, if not helping set it in the Rachel Alexandra. With the presence of Kathmanblu coming from behind she will need a whole lot of class to pull off a win.

Gran Lioness is the most likely pacesetter in the field and she enters in great form, fresh off a win in the January 14th My Trusty Cat Stakes at Delta Downs. Before the My Trusty Cat she finished 5th behind Kathmanblu in the Golden Rod Stakes and unless she has improved by 14 lengths since then she will most likely be setting the pace and running for place or show money.

Inglorious could be the biggest threat to Kathmanblu in the entire field. Undefeated in two starts, both stakes wins over Woodbine’s all-weather surface Inglorious has won her starts by more than 7 lengths. In the Fanfreluche Stakes she came from dead last after balking at the start to win going away by 1 ¾ lengths. Next out she flew to a 5 ¾ length victory in the 1 1/16 miles Ontario Lassie Stakes, needing very little encouragement to get the job done. The Ontario Lassie Stakes is the same distance as the Rachel Alexandra and it appeared the Hennessy filly loved stretching out further in distance. She has been working brilliantly in preparation for the 2011 debut and if she takes to the dirt like she did to the all-weather surface Kathmanblu could have her hands full.

Lilacs and Lace won the California Oaks in her most recent start, defeating three time stakes winner Cathy’s Crutches. She seems a bit outclassed by the quartet of Kathmanblu, Inglorious, Bouquet Booth and Gran Lioness but seems to be improving. A win seems unlikely but she might be able to catch a piece of the action.

The field is completed by Tapit Dancer and Chloe Kate.

Tapit Dancer finally broke her maiden in her fourth start last November but her works have been far from impressive leading up the Rachel Alexandra. If she wins it will be one of the biggest surprises of the meet.

Chloe Kate on the other hand enters with a record of progressive improvement in her last three starts. Winning her last two starts after finishing second in a maiden race at Churchill Downs it seems Chloe Kate is on the right track but she will have to improve by leaps and bounds to make a dent in the Rachel Alexandra.

Kathmanblu will be the heavy favorite in the Rachel Alexandra and it would quite honestly be a surprise if she lost this race. She has consistently run against the highest caliber fillies and won. She is still improving and I personally think she is in a different league than the other six fillies running but every athlete can have their bad day. If she trips up Inglorious could make herself a household name with a win.

So is it a two horse race between the proven Kathmanblu and the challenger Inglorious or could the very capable Gran Lioness or Bouquet Booth throw their names into serious contention for the Kentucky Oaks?

[Check out how the Horse Racing Nation community ranks the 2011 Kentucky Oaks Contenders]

Photo Courtesy of Reed Palmer Photography


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Older Comments about Kathmanblu in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes...

I think kathmanblu is a really great filly but for some reason i just feel that she is just going to be right there when it counts at the end no disrespect to anyone you guys are all great with the information provided for all the horse racing nation fans out their is just part of the game thats why they let you bet on it .. good luck to all you bettors trying to beat kathmanblu.
I think Bouquet Booth is a good filly but definitely outclassed by the likes of Kathmanblu and perhaps Inglorious and Gran Lioness. She didn't beat much of note in the Silverbulletday Stakes and had to work pretty hard to to it.
Personally, I can't see Bouquet Booth handling this bunch. I'm with you Brian, Kathman will be taking it all on the first Friday in May.
I think Bouquet Booth will surprise this field..he flower alley filly will only get better and her last win showed how tenacious she can be...Kathmanblu will be tough but Bouquet Booth will be tougher.

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 Meet Brian Appleton 

Thoroughbred Horse Racing is my passion.  It started when at the age of 9 I found a book called Come On Seabiscuit by Ralf Moody on my Mother’s shelf.  Reading that book was one of the most exciting things I ever did as a kid. I read that book so many times that I had entire chapters committed to memory and the dust jacket worn and ripped beyond recognition from so much use. From that point on I was hopelessly addicted, reading every book on horse racing I could get my hands on, especially racehorse biographies. In 2009 I began my own blog called Rail Runner on wordpress and have continued to blog there to this day.

Curlin is probably my favorite racehorse of all time. Being able to attend six of his races will always be one of the highlights of my life. Whenever I need to re-find some inspiration in my life all I need to do is watch one of his incredible victories and relive the memories. Rachel Alexandra ranks right up there too. As any horse racing fan will tell you it’s almost impossible to choose just one favorite and I am no exception. Phar Lap and Citation are another two of my all time favorites and the list could go on and on.

I was homeschooled my entire life by my parents and graduated High School in 2006 at the age of 17.  Currently I am completing my Marketing degree with the hopes of entering the Thoroughbred Horse Racing field as a writer/journalist , or in the marketing/advertising/promotions side of the industry.

It is my dream to someday become a thoroughbred racehorse owner and win major races across the United States. Who wouldn't want that, right?  For about 1 ½ years I was part owner in a racehorse, Lord Greystoke raced, and owned by Hibiscus Stables. I was able to attend one of his races at Belmont Park on Kentucky Derby day, May 2, 2009 and it was an incredible experience. While Lord Greystoke finished 7th in the race, being able to stand in an owner’s box not 30 feet away from Penny Chenery’s owner’s box was one of the most amazing feelings in the world.

Later in the year Lord Greystoke was finally able to break through with a 4 ½ length win which made me feel like one of the world’s most accomplished thoroughbred owners and further fueled my appetite. I think it would be rally neat to win the Appleton Stakes (Gr.3) at Gulfstream Park, even though I'm generally a bigger fan of dirt racing I can't help but think it would be neat for me to win a race with the same name as my last name.

That’s me in a nutshell, just a very passionate, driven young guy that wants to be a part of this amazing sport and share the adventure with other fans.

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