LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Maybe the boys got lucky.
Rachel Alexandra rolled to victory in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks on Friday, crushing the field by 201/4 lengths and perhaps stamping herself as the best 3-year-old horse in the country, male or female.
With jockey Calvin Borel up, Rachel Alexandra stalked Gabby’s Golden Gal along the backstretch then easily moved to the front with little urging from Borel. She poured it on in the stretch, widening the gap as 100,000 spectators roared with every stride of her eye-popping victory in the filly version of the Kentucky Derby.
Borel blew a kiss and tapped her on the neck as they crossed the finish line for her fifth straight win, all by convincing margins. Stone Legacy was second, with Flying Spur third.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas joked during the week that maybe his three entries – Stone Legacy, Be Fair and Tweeter – would have a better chance against Rachel Alexandra if they decided to turn the 11/8-mile Oaks into a relay race while the bay filly went it alone.
That probably wouldn’t have worked, either.
Rachel Alexandra broke quickly to the front then tucked in behind Gabby’s Golden Gal. She loped along behind trainer Bob Baffert’s horse down the backstretch before Borel nudged her to the outside as they entered the far turn. A couple of quick strides put her in front and she simply took off while Borel sat in the irons and enjoyed the ride.
“She’s unbelievable, one of the best fillies I’ve ever been on in my life,” Borel said. “I’ve never been on a horse like this.”
The win was so dominant it did little to quell speculation that she could more than hold her own against the boys in today’s Run for the Roses.
Owner Dolphus Morrison never really considered entering his star in the Derby, saying fillies should run against fillies.
None of the Derby owners is complaining.
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