HORSE RACING: Sheer intimidation may have kept most of Rachel Alexandra’s competition away, and a couple of late scratches made the Mother Goose Stakes at New York’s Belmont Park a three-horse race.
The Preakness winner might as well have been running alone.
Rachel Alexandra romped to a 191/4-length victory Saturday, pulling away from Malibu Prayer and Flashing on the far turn to finish the 11/8-mile race in a stakes record 1 minute, 46.33 seconds.
“Believe me, she’s not normal,” jockey Calvin Borel said. “She’s unbelievable.”
Rachel Alexandra hardly looked like she broke a sweat, strutting through the winner’s circle just as she had the paddock.
The first filly to win the Preakness since 1924 was the overwhelming 1-9 favorite, and did absolutely nothing to dispute it, paying $2.10 to win.
She’s captured seven straight races dating to last year, including her rousing victory against Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird at Pimlico. Malibu Prayer finished second and Flashing was third, although there was no place or show wagering due to the short field.
“I felt she could win by 10 lengths,” said co-owner Jess Jackson, who purchased the filly after her 201/4-length win in the Kentucky Oaks. “She’s something special, one for the ages. I just hope we have more horses to fill the fields and make it more exciting.”
Florida Oaks winner Don’t Forget Gil was scratched Saturday morning because of a temperature, and Hopeful Image was held out because of a case of colic, leaving just three in the starting gate.
•Zenyatta unbeaten: Zenyatta improved her record to 11-0, coming from off the pace to win the $300,000 Vanity Handicap by 21/2 lengths at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.
Ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, Zenyatta covered 11/8 miles on Cushion Track in 1:48.15. She paid $2.60 and $2.10.
The 5-year-old mare spotted five rivals 13 to 16 pounds while carrying 129 pounds – the most a winner has carried at the track since Cascapedia won the 1977 Vanity in an era when higher weights were the norm.
Goydos grabs lead
GOLF: Paul Goydos birdied five holes on the back nine and held a one-stroke lead over Kenny Perry after the third round of the PGA Tour Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn.
Goydos carded a third-round 63, tying Hunter Mahan for the best round of the day.
Perry led after each of the first two rounds.
•Funk out front: Fred Funk shot a 7-under 65 to take a three-stroke lead after the second round at the Champions Tour Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y.
Funk has a 36-hole total of 129.
Ronnie Black and defending champion Eduardo Romero each had 9-under 63s for the best rounds of the day.
They were tied for second with Lonnie Nielsen (66).
•Shin tops field: Jiyai Shin shot a 5-under 67 to up her lead to four strokes over Morgan Pressel at the Wegmans LPGA in Rochester, N.Y.
Shin is at 16-under 200 after three rounds at Locust Hill.
Wendy Ward, of Edwall, Wash., was 10 shots back after a third-round 68.
Maidana upsets Ortiz
BOXING: Marcos Maidana (26-1, 25 KOs) stopped Victor Ortiz (24-2-1) early in the sixth round of an action-packed fight in Los Angeles, using a punishing right hand to upset one of game’s top prospects in a bout for the intermin WBA light welterweight title.
Maidana, a 140-pound Argentine, was knocked down three times in the opening two rounds.
Ortiz, a Kansas native, was the most promising youngster of Golden Boy Promotions. After he got up unsteadily in the sixth round from a final knockdown, the ringside doctor stopped the fight.
•Abraham defends title: Undefeated Arthur Abraham (30-0) successfully defended his IBF middleweight title with a technical knockout of fellow German Mahir Oral in the 10th round in Berlin.
Pellegrini sets record
MISCELLANY: Italian swimmer Federica Pellegrini has set a world record in the women’s 400-meter freestyle at the Mediterranean Games in Pescara, Italy.
Pellegrini finished in 4 minutes, 0.41 seconds to lower the mark of Jo Jackson of Britain by 0.25 seconds.
•Omae, Suszek win: Peter Omae, a Kenyan who lives in Mexico City, won the first Rock ’n’ Roll Seattle Marathon men’s race in 2:18:17, 35 seconds ahead of Peter Gilmore.
The women’s marathon winner was Michele Suszek of Colorado, who beat Leah Thorvlison by 12 seconds with a time of 2:38:49.
A total of 25,000 runners signed up for the race.