British Idiom 'every bit as good' returning in the Rachel Alexandra

By Grant LaGrange/Fair Grounds
February 10, 2020 12:02pm

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner and Eclipse Award champion British Idiom will make her sophomore debut when facing six rivals, including multiple stakes heroine Finite, in Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds.

Run at 1 1/16 miles and restricted to 3-year-old fillies, the 1 /16-mile race allots qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks to its top four finishers (50-20-10-5) in the Rachel Alexandra. Post time is 6:05 p.m. ET with the Rachel Alexandra carded as Race 11.

After an impressive sprint victory on debut at Saratoga in August, Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group LLC, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables'
 British Idiom stretched out to two turns in winning Keeneland's Alcibiades Stakes (G1) by a widening 6 ½ lengths. Most recently, the daughter of Flashback outdueled the favored Donna Veloce to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park.

“I thought we drew well,” trainer Brad Cox said, with British Idiom assigned post six of seven. “Obviously we’re facing some really nice fillies who ran well here a month ago in the Silverbulletday. After Breeders’ Cup we gave her some time off to just be a horse and put some weight on. She’s really trained well in the past four or five weeks, she’s picked it up and each week she seems to be getting better and better.

“She’s coming into this race every bit as good as she was when she went into Breeders’ Cup. I’m really excited about how she’s training and I think she’ll run really well Saturday.”

In 2018, Cox took each of the Rachel Alexandra, Ashland (G1) at Keeneland and Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs with eventual Eclipse Award-winning filly Monomoy Girl. He has said British Idiom has similar plans for her 3-year-old campaign.

Listed as Mike Diliberto’s 8-5 morning line favorite,
 British Idiom will be guided by regular pilot Javier Castellano. 

Breaking just to British Idiom’s outside will be Winchell Thoroughbreds and J. R Thomas’
 Finite. Second in the first two starts of her career while sprinting at Saratoga, the daughter of Munnings broke her maiden dashing on the Kentucky Downs grass in September. Since then, she’s rattled off three consecutive stakes victories – the Rags to Riches and Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill and most recently the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds.

In the Silverbulletday, Finite narrowly defeated
 Ursula and Tempers Rising, both of whom return for the Rachel Alexandra. Finite’s Silverbulletday score gave her trainer Steve Asmussen the 1,000th stakes victory of his career.

“What a quality filly,” Asmussen said after the Silverbulletday. “She is just another really special Winchell homebred. She has earned everything she’s gotten.”

Asmussen has won the Rachel Alexandra four times, with Winchell homebred’s Untapable (2014) and Summerly (2005) later taking the Kentucky Oaks.

Finite
 will once again be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. and is listed as the 2-1 second choice on the morning line.

Hoping to spring a minor upset, trainer Kenny McPeek, a two-time winner of the Rachel Alexandra, has entered both Peter J. Callahan’s
 Swiss Skydiver and Gaineway Stable, Catalyst Stable, Paul McInnis and Magdalena Racing’s Impeccable Style.

At 8-1 on the morning line, Swiss Skydiver will break from post three with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard. Impeccable Style, 12-1, landed in post four with Corey Lanerie up.

“They’re two fillies that I think both have a lot of talent,” McPeek said. “Both want to go longer and are asking for a route of ground. I think it’s going to be a really good test for them as far as class and distance.”

Rounding out the field (with post position, jockey/trainer and morning line odds) will be Ben Rollins and Sheila Rollins’
 His Glory (No. 1, James Graham/Tom Amoss, 10-1); Mt. Brilliant Stable LLC and Orrin Ingram’s Ursula (No. 1, Mitchell Murrill/Michael Stidham, 8-1); and Mark H. Stanley and Nancy W. Stanley’s Tempers Rising (No. 5, Julien Leparoux/Dallas Stewart, 6-1).

The Rachel Alexandra has produced the Kentucky Oaks exacta the last two years with Wonder Gadot following Monomoy Girl home in 2018. In 2019, Serengeti Empress and Liora were one-two in both races.

Six other stakes fill out Fair Grounds' 13-race “Louisiana Derby Preview Day” card, including split divisions of the Risen Star (G2).

2020 Rachel Alexandra (G2)

 

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