It’s a cause for celebration anytime the reigning Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra, runs, even if it’s in a glorified workout. So though the competition in this Saturday’s Lady’s Secret may be the weakest she’s faced since she donned the nickname “Alexandra the Great,” the fact we get to see her strut her stuff is still special. I mean, it’s Rachel. C’mon.
Six contenders have lined up to face Rachel at Monmouth Park this Saturday, and there is nary a worthy opponent among them. Her morning line odds are 1-9, and New Jersians will be packing the grandstands with the expectation of seeing the fan favorite blow this field to smithereens. So why is one of the best horses in the world running in an ungraded stakes race against such a paltry line-up?
Figuring out exactly what is behind the decisions of majority owner Jess Jackson hasn’t always taken rocket science, but this move to place his prized filly in a non-graded stakes race came as a bafflement to most when announced at the beginning of July. Originally, the Lady’s Secret was scheduled for August 1st at Monmouth Park, with a purse of $150,000 and to be run at 1 1/16 miles. The race was bumped up a week to accommodate Rachel’s racing schedule of running every five weeks, and the purse raised to $400,000. Reportedly, Monmouth attempted to lure both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta for another shot at meeting each other, but Zenyatta’s connections declined. As to why run her at Monmouth in this ungraded race when the Grade I Ruffian Handicap will be run on August 1st, well, it all sounds a little like a pampering for the princess to keep her on a strict five-week schedule between races. But really, it’s more like a slap in the face to this history-making filly.
While it took Rachel three starts to win this year, suffering defeats by no greater than ¾ of a length to two talented females, her victory last month in the Grade II Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs proved the filly we know and love has returned to her old self again. Since that display of condescending class, Rachel’s defeated foes have come back to win major graded stakes, including the Grade I Princess Rooney Handicap won by Jessica is Back.
Though none of Rachel’s challengers in the Lady’s Secret have won a single graded stakes, the Horse of the Year has put plenty of horses in their place since she stepped up into Grade I competition. Here’s a look back at Rachel Alexandra’s biggest wins. Pump up the volume and enjoy!
The Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks
The Grade II Fantasy Stakes
The Grade I Kentucky Oaks
The Grade I Preakness Stakes
The Grade I Mother Goose Stakes
The Grade I Haskell Invitational
The Grade I Woodward Stakes
The Grade II Fleur de Lis Handicap
The Lady’s Secret will be broadcast live this Saturday from Monmouth Park at approximately 5:57p.m. EST. The race will air live on TVG and be streamed for free live on