Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year in North America, scored a 10-1/2-length victory in the Grade II Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. It was the 4-year-old filly's first victory in three starts this year.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some fans were chanting “Rachel’s back!”
But jockey Calvin Borel wanted to see for himself.
From his perch aboard Rachel Alexandra during the stretch run of the Fleur de Lis Handicap on Saturday at Churchill Downs, Borel took one look behind him and saw the gap between the 4-year-old filly and the rest of the field growing with every stride.
That is when he knew those fans were right. Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 North American Horse of the Year, indeed was back.
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“You’ve got to give her a chance,” Borel said. “She’s just a filly. She did the impossible as a 3-year-old, and I think you’re going to see a big future.”
Sent off at 1-10 odds in a field of five fillies and mares, Rachel Alexandra scored a 10 ½-length victory in the Grade II race. Distinctive Dixie was second at 18-1.
Rachel Alexandra, second in her first two starts this year, ran 1-1/8 miles in 1 minute, 48.78 seconds in the $214,000 race. Steve Asmussen trains Rachel Alexandra.
“This is Rachel,” Asmussen said. “She’s a very special horse, has proven to be so.”
Co-owner Jess Jackson said, “I guess there’s some relief because naysayers were saying she’s done, no horse has come back and all of that.”
• Blame ($9.80 to win) beat 19-10 favorite Battle Plan by three-quarters of a length in the $671,700 Stephen Foster Handicap, a Grade I event at Churchill Downs. Blame ran 1-1/8 miles in 1:49.37, slower than Rachel Alexandra’s time about two hours earlier. Albert Stall Jr. trains Blame, a 4-year-old colt who was ridden by Garrett Gomez.
• Life At Ten ($6.60) led virtually all the way in the Grade I Ogden Phipps Handicap, beating Unrivaled Belle by 2 ¾ lengths in the $245,000 race at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. Life At Ten, a 5-year-old mare trained by Todd Pletcher, was ridden by John Velazquez and ran 1-1/16 miles in 1:40.72.
• Rail Trip ($2.40) beat Sangaree by 2 ¾ lengths to take the Grade II Californian at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif. Rail Trip, a 5-year-old gelding trained by Ron Ellis, was ridden by Rafael Bejarano in the $150,000 race.