“One for the Ages”, this is one of the phrases that was used to describe the dazzling performance of the Brilliant Rachel Alexandra in the running of today’s Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey this afternoon. The crowd was electric and anticipated Rachel Alexandra’s appearance in the 13th race of a 14 race card. With the same grace as a beautiful princess, with the same presence of a professional athlete who is about to tangle with other elite athletes; Rachel Alexandra pranced out onto the wet, soggy, Monmouth Park track. It took the super filly and approximately 1:47 1/5 seconds; this is the time that was needed to stamp her name in the history books as one of the greatest fillies to ever step foot on a racetrack. For the second time in as many tried Rachel beat the boys, this time though there was little doubt about the outcome. Rachel for the first time in her career bobbled slightly out of the gates, but was still athletic enough to right herself and secure a nice stalking position in the 3 path going into the first turn. This time there was no race riding by jockeys trying to take Rachel out of her comfort zone, by pushing her out 4 or 5 paths out into the race track. There was however an incredibly hot pace with a quarter mile in 22.99 seconds and a half mile in 46:43 seconds. The fractions were very similar to what she was forced to do in the Preakness, but this time she sat tracking kindly behind the leaders, and her connections were actually able to train her properly for this race. Down the backside something appeared on the inside rail that only true horse racing enthusiasts would find out of sorts, and that was Summer Bird going up to take the second position behind Munnings. As the field rounded the far turn the question was what would take place in the last 4 furlongs. Munnings looked strong, Summer Bird looked primed for a big finish, and then there was Rachel. Rachel was the lone filly in the field of 7 and when she was called upon, she spurted away from the colts. In the blink of an eye, Rachel Alexandra straightened away and she began to open up on the field. The crowd began to sense that they were witnessing something great, something special, and something historic. The filly was on cruise control in the last 1/16th of a mile, and just like that the Haskell Invitational was in the book. The record books that is, and it was something truly that will be talked about for years to come.
I for one must say that watching the progression of Rachel Alexandra’s career has been something special. The fact that this special filly has such heart and such desire and such talent, she is something extra special. Rachel Alexandra has made a believer out of those that she’s faced and for a trainer like Tim Ice she has now garnered all of his respect. When asked if he would want a rematch with Rachel he is stated as saying: “We'll take a look at the Travers," he said. "If she's in there, she's in there. I'm not going to invite her." The 116 Beyer speed figure that Rachel achieved in this race was impressive but her jockey Calvin Borel feels that she’s run better than this race: "Nah, she run a better race than that," he said. "I thought the Preakness was a top performance coming out of the 13 hole and knowing going in that she wasn't 100 [percent] she still laid it down for me. She run today, but I knew she'd win today and I come in with so much confidence today it was unbelievable. Till the day they hook me and give her the eye I don t know how good she is."
We are without a doubt witnessing history in the making with this brilliant filly, she is conquering worlds and the hearts of people that once seemed unimaginable. It will now be a privilege to see where and when this superstar filly is pointed to her next race. We will all be on the edge of our seats to see how things develop.