Barbaro Updates: 885
updates are now here.
Update 5234: From NYRA:
"RACHEL" TAKES UP SUMMER RESIDENCE IN SARATOGA SPRINGS
ELMONT, N.Y. - Scarcely 12 hours after her record-setting victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose at Belmont Park, Rachel Alexandra stepped onto a van that carried her up the Northway to Saratoga Race Course, which will be the base for her summer campaign.
"She ran a big race," said trainer Steve Asmussen of the three-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, who set a stakes record of 1:46.33 for the nine furlongs, along with establishing the largest margin of victory (191/4 lengths) in the 53-year history of the race. "I think (jockey) Calvin (Borel) said it best - she's not normal."
Asmussen, still wearing one of the 10,000 pink "Rachel Alexandra" bracelets that were given away on Saturday, said he had watched the replay of the Mother Goose several times, and was still bowled over by the ease of her victory.
"The best way to describe it is that she's got an extremely high cruising speed," said Asmussen of the filly, co-owned by Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stable and Harold McCormick. "But obviously, we've known that about her for a long time."
Rachel Alexandra, who extended her record to 9-2-0 from 12 starts with earnings of $1,798,354, arrived at Saratoga mid-morning and took up residence in Curlin's former stall in Asmussen's barn near the Oklahoma training track.
"She shipped great," said assistant trainer Scott Blasi, who accompanied Rachel Alexandra to Saratoga. "She's settled into Curlin's old stall, which is now her stall, right next to my office.
"She recovered very well," added Blasi. "She seemed strong yesterday and was starving when we fed her last night, and ate everything this morning, as well."
Several possibilities exist for Rachel Alexandra's next start, including the Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks for three-year-old fillies at 11/4 miles at Belmont Park on July 25, the Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy for three-year-olds at nine furlongs at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 1, and the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational, also for three-year-olds, at Monmouth Park on Aug. 2.
Following one of those, the scenario could next include the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 11/4 miles on Saturday, Aug. 22, the $1 million Shadwell Travers for three-year-olds going 11/4 miles on Saturday, Aug. 29 at Saratoga Race Course, or even the Grade 1, $400,000 Personal Ensign for fillies and mares, three-years-old and up, going 1 1/1/4 miles on Sunday, Aug. 30.
Asmussen declined to engage in any speculations.
"I'm well-versed in that with the Curlin-Big Brown thing last year," he said. "I'm just going to worry about her health and happiness, and then we'll sit down and decide what's best for her."
Update 5233: I had six to gallop this morning at Woodbine. And each galloped nicely. No gate schooling.. It was a little muggy early, and then it started to rain a little towards the end of the morning. We had a bunch of workers so Luis, our jock, was around working horses for us. I also caught up with jockey Slade Callaghan, and congratulated him on his terrific win aboard Rahy's Attorney yesterday: Rahy's Attorney Closes Case in King Edward.
And continuing our Woodbine Characters series:
Trainer Ian Black. Ian Black, originally from England, trains for Kinghaven Farms among other clients at Woodbine. He also trains Rahy's Attorney, who was an impressive winner of the King Edward VII Stakes here at Woodbine yesterday. I took this picture as we were leaving the track yesterday.
RACHEL ALEXANDRA, ZENYATTA DUST OVERMATCHED FOES
Undefeated Zenyatta Masters Another Vanity
'Rachel' Sets Stakes Record in Mother Goose
Rachel Alexandra dominant in Mother Goose
Zenyatta scores repeat win in Vanity
Update 5231: More pictures and video of Rachel Alexandra today on ABR Facebook Group.
Update 5229: From NYRA:
MOTHER GOOSE QUOTES
Owner Jess Jackson, Rachel Alexandra (No. 3): "How about that!"
"I am a modest guy. I was hoping for maybe 10 lengths. She is a special filly, she is a champion, she is a lady,"
(on if we've seen the best of her) "We don't know where her bottom is. She has beauty combined with speed, so fast."
"I think she's the best 3-year-old right now. She just broke a track record and she wasn't even asked."
(on the Calvin Borel pairing with Rachel Alexandra) "The two of them are perfectly matched. Calvin has all the instincts, she expresses herself to him, he knows he doesn't have to lay down on her, and she just runs. She loves to run."
(on her next race) "I don't know. We're going to try to get up to Saratoga and see if we can find a race. We want to pick the spots for her. She tells us when to run
Trainer Steve Asmussen, Rachel Alexandra (No. 3): "We are very proud of Rachel Alexandra. Mr. (Jess) Jackson, Barbara (Banke) and Hal McCormick. What a great thrill for them. For them to step up and purchase a filly like this, and then to go ahead and campaign her is a thrill for them."
"To have a horse like her in your barn...I am really fortunate. She's a great athlete. She's just extremely endearing to you. She has a soft and kind look feel. When she walks over, she takes those great big strides. Everything about her She just excites you. You just want good things for her. Our job is to take care of her and defend her at all times."
(on the ride) "I can't say enough about Calvin Borel's ride. They took it right to her with 44 and change, the 1/9 shot and all the pressure in the world. He just let them go about their business and did what's best for her and he needs to keep doing that.
(on where she goes next) "She is going to Saratoga from here. We will train her there and that's where Scott (Blasi) and our stable move this time of year. Curlin did the exact same thing. It's gotten plenty warm back home (in Louisville) and we are very much looking forward to the cool mornings this time of year."
(on her next possible race) "The plans are for me to take to care of her. Just to have her in the best health possible and then sit down and try and decide what's best for her."
(on if she's the best horse he has even trained) "I am not saying that on the heels of Curlin. But I will say this, in the future, it would be a great match."
Jockey Calvin Borel, Rachel Alexandra (No. 3): "Steve (Asmussen) told me 'Ride your race. You know her as good as me and I think she's a kind of a grinder,' and I said 'Yes sir, that's what she is." I think she's just a wonderful animal, she grinds fast, you don't have to be in front, you know, you can take her back. She's a racehorse, this is a racehorse. Believe me, she's not normal, I'm telling you, she's unbelievable. I nudged (her) on the turn for home around the quarter pole but that was it. To make sure she'd get something out of it and do something for me. She set a new track record, believe me, she's not normal I'm telling you, she's unbelievable."
(on the early fractions) "I knew they were going fast early but around the 3/8th pole they were getting tired and I kind of squeezed her a little bit and she just went in there."
(on the crowd reaction) "It's unbelievable, they may love me but when you ride good horses it makes you that good. She's, I don't know - like a Secretariat or a Seattle Slew - whatever you want to call it, I've never been on one like that in my life.
Jockey John Velazquez, Malibu Prayer (No. 4): "Well, she broke on top and I just let her do her thing and the best horse won it."
(on Rachel Alexandra) "She's a champion that's for sure."
Jockey Javier Castellano, Flashing (No. 5): "She's a very talented filly and I am not to take anything away from the filly that won. I thought horse was better than she showed today and I didn't mean to go that fast early on. She will show up next time."
Update 5228: A fun afternoon at the races. We did not have any runners, although we did paddock school three in the second race. Watching Rahy's Attorney win the stake was terrific. Ian Black was pretty excited about it when I met him as we were leaving the races. It was also very cool to watch Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta both win their respective races.
Update 5227: Big bummer. Impressive first time out Stakes winner Olredlgetcha had to be euthanized on Tuesday. He beat us handily in the Victoria Stakes here: Debut stakes winner Olredlgetcha euthanized.
And continuing our
Sally Pierce, assistant trainer Malcolm Pierce. Sally Pierce is assistant trainer and wife of Malcolm Pierce. We share the same horse path to and from the racetrack and Sally always seems very friendly. This picture was taken in the track kitchen ahead of Sterwins race against Rahy's Attorney this afternoon!
Shana Bridges, exercise rider 4 Bob Tiller & pony girl. Shana Bridges keeps herself very busy at Woodbine, galloping in the mornings for Bob Tiller, and ponying horses for the races in the afternoons. We shared a couple of lunches last year. Always a smile.
Anita Bolton, Terry Jordan's assistant trainer. Anita Bolton is Terry Jordan's assistant and loves to work. Loves it. Anita is also a very cool person. We hang out a little from time to time, grabbing the odd lunch. Last year we went down to the big horse show in Toronto, the Royal. Very fun.
Update 5226: Two more additions to the Woodbine Characters series:
April LeBlanc, exercise rider for Malcolm Pierce. April LeBlanc gallops horses for Malcolm Pierce. April also galloped a few for us late in the meet last year and the beginning of the meet this year. April has been working at Woodbine for quite a few years. April was my "land lady" when I first arrived this year. I stayed with April until we (myself and Hank, our Assistant Trainer) found a place. April also runs Shadowy Hills Farm where she teaches riding lessons and sells x-racehorses she has retrained for new careers.
Robbie Martin, Assistant Trainer for Mike Keogh. Robbie Martin has been at Woodbine for about fifteen years. And for most of those years he has worked for trainer Mike Keogh. Robbie is originally from Scotland.
Update 5225: From NYRA:
RACHEL TO FACE TWO IN MOTHER GOOSE FOLLOWING SCRATCHES
ELMONT, N.Y. - The field for today's 53rd edition of the Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes was reduced to three Saturday morning with the scratches of Don't Forget Gil and Hopeful Image, leaving Preakness heroine Rachel Alexandra to face only Flashing and Malibu Prayer.
Alan Brodsky's Don't Forget Gil was scratched due to an elevated temperature, according to trainer Mark Hennig, while Hopeful Image had not recuperated sufficiently from a mild case of colic she suffered Wednesday evening, said trainer Gerald Procino.
"We did everything we could to keep her in the race, but yesterday, she spiked a temperature and we had no choice but to give her antibiotics," said Procino, who co-owns the filly with Linda Sullivan and Joseph McMahon. "She'll be fine, but the veterinarian advised that we scratch."
With three betting interests, there will be win betting only on the race, with no exacta or trifecta wagering. Multi-race wagering is not affected.
Update 5224: A gorgeous morning this morning at Woodbine. We had eight sets. All galloped nicely. One went to the gate for a little schooling. He was a little "on the muscle", but then relaxed nicely.
A couple of loose horses. Our jock came flying off another trainer's horse coming on to the track. Fortunately he landed on his feet and his horse was caught quickly. Another rider came off coming home and her horse then went off down the road spooking other horses, including mine. I think all was well.
And to continue our Woodbine Characters series (all can be viewed here: Woodbine Characters):
Dessy Luokanov, freelance exercise rider. Dessy Luokanov is from Sofia, Bulgaria. He has been at Woodbine for about 10 years. Dessy also has a background in other equestrian sports. I took this picture after I was finished this morning. I asked Dessy if he had time for the picture. He said yes, but had 20 more horses to get to on the farm!
Robert Belanger, hotwalker for Peter Beringer. "The Professor" is the name by which I know Robert Belanger. The professor hotwalked for us a little bit last year. He has twin sons who also work at Woodbine, galloping and ponying horses.
James Desmond, groom for Paul Attard. James Desmond is someone I don't know well but I remember last year when he had a winner he was so excited you had to be excited for him. James also has a Facebook page and regularly sends out Facebook friends recommendations.
Kerri Beauclaire, Tyler Pizarro's agent. Kerri Beauclaire is one of two female agents on the backside at Woodbine. Kerri is also Tyler Pizarro's sister. Tyler is Kerri's second jockey. She has also been an agent for Constant Montpellier.
Alyssa Carriere, groom for Andrew Smith. Alyssa Carriere seems to be a very nice person, I just don't know her. I see Alyssa regularly as she works in the barn next to us.
Update 5223: Two big horses racing today, Rachel Alexandra (Rachel Alexandra to make Belmont
debut in Mother Goose) and Zenyatta (Zenyatta to be tested in Vanity). Lets hope both continue to demonstrate their well being.
At Woodbine we have a rematch between Rahy's Attorney and Sterwins: Sterwins, Rahy's Attorney Set for Rematch.
And the prosecutors in the Ernie Paragallo abuse case are seeking a plea bargain deal: Prosecutors seeking plea in Paragallo cruelty case.
Update 5222: From NYRA:
BELMONT PARK NOTES
ELMONT, N.Y. - Preakness and Kentucky Oaks champion Rachel Alexandra galloped about a mile and a quarter on Belmont's fast main track early this morning, well in advance of a 9:30 a.m. downpour.
On Saturday, racing's hottest star will be a heavy favorite against four rivals in the Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes. Admission is free for all women and pink bracelets with Rachel Alexandra's name will be given away to the first 10,000 customers in support of owner Jess Jackson's decision to donate a percentage of the filly's future earnings to the Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure" for breast cancer.
"We send her out with the second set," trainer Steve Asmussen said from his Belmont office this morning. "We don't want her to be a guinea pig and we don't want to send her out there when the track's all torn up."
The Mother Goose will be the second start that Asmussen has trained Rachel Alexandra for and already he is completely enamored with everything the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro does.
"She is a great pleasure to be around," Asmussen said. "She's very endearing in the way she looks and acts."
While Rachel Alexandra has been installed as the 1-5 morning line favorite for the Mother Goose after beating Mine That Bird in the Preakness, the presence of the speedy Malibu Prayer and Flashing could make things slightly tricky for jockey Calvin Borel aboard the eight-time winner.
"I think it's an extremely respectable race," Asmussen said. "That said, our only concerns are what we can control. We have to take her over there in the right state of mind and right condition and hope she runs her race."
Update 5221: A short afternoon spent at the races at Woodbine. We had a runner in the second race, Jimmy Simms. He ran a nice second coming of a little bit of a lay-off.
I did take a couple more pictures for the Woodbine Characters series:
Racing fan! I just loved the Barbaro hat, so I had to take the picture of "Racing Fan"! We did have a brief conversation and he did know who I was. Very cool!
Leroy Trotman, Reade Baker's assistant trainer . Leroy Trotman is Reade Baker's assistant trainer, which means he is very busy, both in the mornings and in the afternoons. They run one of the largest racing stables on the backside at Woodbine. Leroy seems to be a very cool guy. Always has a smile and a hello in the morning as he is walking to and from the racetrack with his string of horses.
Update 5220: Eight sets for Steve this morning at Woodbine. Three of which went to the gate for some gate schooling. All schooled and galloped nicely. There was one loose horse, walking down the horse path. Waiting for someone to grab him. It was pretty funny really, I guess it took a while for the outriders to realize he was loose. I think all was well.
And to continue our Woodbine Characters series we have:
Albert Trudell, pony boy. Certainly not a boy, but "pony boy" is what they call Albert Trudell when his services are needed at a barn in the morning. Albert seems to own most of the ponies on the backside at Woodbine and has additional pony riders working for him, both in the mornings and in the afternoons.
Bill Tallon, DRF writer. Bill Tallon is one of the main writers for the Daily Racing Form here at Woodbine. A very affable kind of guy, Bill is often seen on the backside of Woodbine, chasing down a story, and similarly on the front side during races. Bill also keeps track of the upcoming Stakes so a good person to ask who is nominated for what and so forth.
Update 5219: Feature racing today comes from the evening program at Prairie Meadows. And Hooh Why will take on Hightap in the Iowa Oaks: Hooh Why to try dirt in Iowa Oaks.
More cool coverage: The Ubiquitous Alex Brown Speaks Out on Community and Horse Welfare.
And please keep calling.