Rachel Alexandra took down the boys again, and she did it easily in the Haskell (G1) over a sloppy track on August 2nd. Nothing that happened on Sunday was a surprise. Extended sprint specialist Munnings set a pressured pace, and he can run with anyone at shorter distances. I gave him a shot if able to relax on a easy lead, but he never got a breather and ended up a rock solid 3rd. Summer Bird got involved earlier than expected, but that was his only chance to win, and he outfinished Munnings for the place in a game performance. Summer Bird is Travers bound, and Munnings is a candidate for the King’s Bishop.
The day belonged to Steve Amsussen , Calvin Borel, and the fleet filly. Rachel took over when asked and won by a comfortable six lengths. Do not know where she goes next, but if she shows up in the Travers (G1), she will have a dangerous rival.
Quality Road was the fav for the Kentucky Derby before quarter crack issues ended his Triple Crown series hopes. He moved to the Todd Pletcher barn and returned in the Amsterdam (G2) on August 3rd…did he never!
He smashed the track record for six and one-half furlongs at the Spa, getting the distance in 1:13.45, and he is taking a shot at the Travers with one sprint prep since March. He was brilliant in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby earlier this year, and he has the speed, raw talent, and class to match Rachel stride for stride.
In the Jim Dandy (G2) on Aug 1st, Rachel’s stablemate Kensei made it two straight good looking wins. Warrior’s Reward set the pace and held the place over Charitable Man.
Steve Asmussen also struck gold in the West Virginia Derby , as his Iowa Derby runner-up Soul Warrior upset the speedy Big Drama and Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. The winner might go to the Pennsylvania Derby. Big Drama is best around one turn, and he will likely return in the King’s Bishop at Saratoga later this month. Mine That Bird has already shipped to the Spa to begin Travers preparations.
In other three-year-old news, Blame smartly nabbed the Curlin Stakes for Al Stall Jr. He has been nominated to the Travers, but the Super Derby (G2) might be a better spot for the late bloomer.