L & M Racing’s Rachel Alexandra scored another dazzling win in Saturday’s $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII), but her connections said the focus of the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro would remain on the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (GI) on May 1 at Churchill Downs – not on a meeting with males one day later in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
Rachel Alexandra’s victory margin over runner-up Flying Spur was only 1 ¼ lengths, but jockey Calvin Borel had trainer Hal Wiggins filly geared down to a gallop in the final furlong.
The winner covered 1 1/16 miles over a “sloppy” track in 1:43.55. It was the third consecutive stakes victory for Rachel Alexandra, a string that started with a romp in the Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs. Some have suggested Rachel Alexandra merits a shot against males in the Kentucky Derby, but breeder and co-owner Dolphus Morrison prefers at race at Churchill Downs on the first Friday in May.
“No, no, no, no,” said Morrison. “We have too good a filly to risk her future in a 20-horse field of brutal, mean, macho colts…If we could win the Kentucky Oaks, it would be a wonderful thing.”
JUST JENDA WINS AT OAKLAWN
Trainer Larry Jones was disappointed when his Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) favorite Old Fashioned was upset by 56-1 shot Win Willy in Saturday’s Rebel (GIII) at Oaklawn Park. But Jones enjoyed a better day on Sunday at the Hot Springs, Ark. track when he saddled Just Jenda to take the $100,000 Honeybee Stakes (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies.
It was the fourth win in six races for Just Jenda, a daughter of Menifee owned by Jones and his wife, Cindy. She overcame a slow pace win by three lengths under jockey Gabriel Saez and completed the 1 1/16 mile distance in 1:45.95. Afleet Deceit was second and Bon Jovi Girl was third.
SOUTHEAST/DON’T FORGET GIL TURNS TABLES IN FLORIDA OAKS
Alan Brodsky’s favored Don’t Forget Gil made amends for a troubled third-place run in the Suncoast Stakes when she rolled to a convincing victory in Saturday’s Florida Oaks (GIII) at Tampa Bay Downs.
The New York-bred filly turned the tables on Suncoast winner Rock Candy and runner-up Ameribelle as the daughter of Kafwain won easily in a stakes record 1:43.60 for 1 1/16 miles. Ameribelle was second this time around, while Rock Candy was third.
Mark Hennig trains Don’t Forget Gil, who was ridden by Rajiv Maragh.
GOZZIP GIRL SHARP AT GULFSTREAM
Farnsworth Stables’ Gozzip Girl rallied in deep stretch to nip Obsequious by a half-length in Sunday’s $150,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (GIII) on the turf at Gulfstream Park. Elvis Trujillo rode the daughter of Dynaformer for trainer Tom Albertrani.
Favored Dream Empress, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI), finished sixth.
EAST/HEART ASHLEY TAKES CICADA
Zayat Stable’s Heart Ashley upset favored Dream Play to win Saturday’s $100,000 Cicada (GIII) at Aqueduct for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen.
C.C. Lopez rode the daughter of Lion Heart, who has won three of five career starts.