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Breeders' Cup 2017

Rachel Heavy Fav in Return

5 September 2009: Rachel Alexandra and jockey Calvin Borel (3) winning the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga Race Track in Saratoga Springs, New Yorkat Saratoga Race Track in Saratoga Springs, New York
Photo: gardenesque1

Based on her unprecedented success as a 3-year-old filly last year, Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra has been installed as the prohibitive 1-5 morning line choice when she faces four female rivals in Fair Grounds’ inaugural running of the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies this Saturday in the super filly’s first start of the 2010 racing season.


The Ladies will be contested at 1 1/16-miles over the main track at the historic Crescent City oval – the same venue where Rachel Alexandra underlined her initial 2009 success with a facile 1 3/4-length win in the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks a year ago. It will go at 5:15 p.m. CST as Race 10 on an 11-race program with first post set for 12:40 p.m. CST.

Following her score in the 2009 Fair Grounds Oaks, Rachel Alexandra journeyed to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where she captured the Grade II Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park. After that, it was on to Churchill Downs, where she became the fourth of the last five Fair Grounds Oaks winners to go on and capture the Grade I Kentucky Oaks. However, her win under the Twin Spires was by 20 1/4-lengths with a dominant performance on the day before the Kentucky Derby.


That Kentucky Oaks win proved to be the genesis of a private sale to Jess Jackson of Stonestreet Stable and his partner Harold McCormick, who redirected her campaign under their trainer Steve Asmussen toward a start against male rivals in the Grade I Preakness as the middle jewel of the 2009 Triple Crown. There she beat Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird by a length on May 16.


Back in against members of her own sex June 27 at Belmont Park, Rachel Alexandra was dominant again in the Grade I Mother Goose, winning by 19 1/4-lengths, a performance that set up a challenge against older males in the Grade I Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park Aug. 2. That time she defeated Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird by six lengths, setting up her final start of the year – again against older males in Saratoga’s Grade I Woodward Stakes – where she withstood last year’s Grade II New Orleans Handicap winner Macho Again by a head at the wire.


Her opponents Saturday in the New Orleans Ladies, where she will be ridden once again by regular rider Calvin Borel, are headed by Arnold Zetcher’s Brazilian-bred Zardana, fourth in Santa Anita Park’s Grade II Santa Maria Handicap on Feb. 13 but winner of Hollywood Park’s Grade II Bayakoa Handicap before that. She will be ridden by Southern California jockey David Flores and is pegged at 5-1 in the morning line.


Next in the morning line odds in the New Orleans Ladies at 6-1 is Coteau Grove Farms’ Clear Sailing, heroine of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Pelleteri Stakes Feb. 13 and a winner by 8 3 /4-lengths here before that in a first-level allowance race Jan. 17. Shane Sellers retains the mount.


Completing the New Orleans Ladies field is a pair of 15-1 long shots – Robert Adams’ Unforgotten, seventh in the Sunshine Millions Distaff at last asking Jan. 30 who will have Miguel Mena aboard; and Jim Tafel’s Fighter Wing, second behind Clear Sailing in the Pelleteri. She will have Corey Lanerie astride.

Complete Field

Here’s the complete field for the inaugural running of the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies, for fillies and mares, four-year-olds and upward, at 1 1/16 miles, from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Fighter Wing (Corey Lanerie, Greg Geier, 15-1); Rachel Alexandra (Calvin Borel, Steve Asmussen, 1-5); Zardana (David Flores, John Shirreffs, 5-1); Unforgotten (Miguel Mena, Dallas Stewart, 15-1); and Clear Sailing (Shane Sellers, Glenn Delahoussaye, 6-1).





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Older Comments about Rachel Heavy Fav in Return...

Clear Sailing is improving, versatile, 3 for 3 at FG, and she is capable of uncorking triple digit late pace figs. Has a fitness edge and will be finishing. That being said, any of Rachel's last 9 figs would get the job done.
CS will jump up another notch and may be enough to beat a tiring RA. She needs a low tide and a super fast track to help.
What does anyone think about Clear Sailing's chances to beat Rachel?
@rossington I couldn't have said it better myself. 1 1/16 JMO is the only shot RA has at Z. I could be wrong but we'll just have to wait and see.
So she's not facing nearly the burden, or giving away nearly as many pounds to her field as Zenyatta is facing and giving away to hers. I guess that will happen though when your a big, behemoth mare. That's O.K. though, at Oaklawn, if Rachel Alexandra actually show's, they'll all be carrying 123 lbs. Which, IMO, will be the difference maker. That, and the distance being extended from 1-1/16th to 1-1/8th. I just really can't see Rachel with a shot to beat Zenyatta carrying the same weight at 1-1/8th. Even over conventional dirt. Which, watching the replay of Zenyatta's run in the 2008 Apple Blossom, didn't seem to be a factor or disadvantage for her at all. She handled the main track at Oaklawn that day great, and won drawing away. IMO, the only shot Rachel has at beating Zenyatta is at 1-1/16th with a weight break. Which is doubtful she'd ever get in any race against Zenyatta. TJMO.
Weights/posts : 1. Fighter Wing 117 2. Rachel Alexandra 123 3. Zardana (BRZ) 121 4. Unforgotten 117 5. Clear Sailing 117
RA got 123lbs, which is stated as the max for this race as it was written.
I'm just curious. This is a Handicap race also isn't it? How much weight did they saddle Rachel Alexandra with in this race. Zenyatta got saddled with 127 lbs. for Saturday's Santa Margarita Handicap and is giving up from 8-19 lbs. to the rest of that field. I wonder if Rachel could give away 8-19 lbs. in the New Orleans Ladies Handicap and still win it? I know it isn't very likely to happen, but I would find it extremely comical if Zenyatta's stablemate "Zardana" were to beat Rachel Alexandra in the New Orleans Ladies Handicap!!! LMFAO!!
I think that Rachel A will be able to win with Calvin Borel riding her they make a great team and Steve Asmussen is a great trainer with her

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