Looking at the 2015 Rachel Alexandra Stakes: Casey’s Picks
Looking at the 2015 Rachel Alexandra Stakes; Casey’s Picks: Rachel Alexandra was one of the most incredible fillies to grace the racetrack in the last decade. While she was not 19-for-20 like Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra won the Kentucky Oaks by an astonishing 20 lengths. Breaking her maiden in her second attempt, Rachel Alexandra finished first or second in 18 of her 19 lifetime starts. She took on the girls and the boys, defying both in equally astonishing ways.
In honor of her incredible performances, the Silverbulletday Stakes has been moved and the Rachel Alexandra Stakes has since been added to the Kentucky Oaks trail. Since 2011, though it has not been a very prominent Kentucky Oaks prep race, the Rachel Alexandra has produced one winner (Untapable, 2014), a third-place finisher (Unlimited Budget, 2013), and a fourth-place finisher (Summerly Applause, 2012).
The $175,000 Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra Stakes for three-year-old fillies is to be run at the Fair Grounds on February 21, 2015. At 1-1/16 miles on the main track, the Rachel Alexandra is worth 50-20-10-5 points to the top four finishers, each looking to make it the Kentucky Oaks in Louisville on the first Friday in May.
Shook Up (Tapit – Sugar Shake, by Awesome Again) – By top stallion Tapit and out of a multiple graded stakes winning mare, Shook Up has a lovely pedigree for the distance she is being asked to run here. Her step up in class will be tested against this deep field of fillies. Never finishing worse than second in any of her three starts, this daughter of Tapit looks to have what it takes to win. She likes to run up close pressing the pace, and trainer Steve Asmussen is well-versed in getting horses ready for big races. Watch out for this one.
White Clover (Exchange Rate – Red Mischief, by Thirty Six Red) – This filly is sired by a sprinter but is out of a mare by a horse who finished second in the 1990 Belmont Stakes and third in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. As a result, I think the filly has the ability to get this mile-and-a-sixteenth distance on pedigree alone. She is a great workhorse, with her last two of three posted works being bullets. She has only one win in four starts for trainer Larry Jones, but Jones is no stranger to the Kentucky Oaks trail. After a tough trip last time out, let’s see if this once can make a comeback.
Pleasant Tales (Tale of Ekati – S’ Avall, by Awesome Again) With a lovely pedigree for the distance, this filly finally broke her maiden last time out at the Fair Grounds going 8.32 furlongs (or 1mile and 70 yards) on the dirt. Her previous form states that this filly likes to be on the lead or just on the flank of the leader. She will have to improve greatly here to win, yet she may set the race up for a later runner due to the chance that her running style may make some of the others have to push harder.
West Coast Belle (Tapit – Splendid Solution, by Unbridled’s Song) Undefeated going into the Silverbulletday Stakes, this filly could only muster a fourth-place finish. The race, which was won by I’m a Chatterbox, also included top filly Top Decile. Trained by Wayne Catalano, the filly has been working well at the Fair Grounds and could possibly be the filly to beat if she runs true to her previous form. In all three of her wins, she has hit the finish line rolling late.
Lovely Maria (Majesticperfection – Thundercup, by Thunder Gulch) Winning her last start over fellow entrant Shook Up, this filly does not have a definite running style and seems pretty adaptable. In her debut she won with a late run, and last time out she took the race gate-to-wire. In between, she has had some okay outings, but nothing spectacular. If she is flexible, jockey Kerwin Clark should be able to judge the pace and place his filly where she needs to be.
Angela Renee (Bernardini – Pilfer, by Deputy Minister) Making her three-year-old debut, this full sister of To Honor and Serve has been training well with trainer Todd Pletcher at Palm Beach Downs in Florida. The only start where she finished worse than third was in a horrible trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies where she finished well back in tenth. Having likely matured well from two to three, this filly should have a good outing here to confirm her presence on the Kentucky Oaks trail.
Freudie Anne (Freud – Lake Toccet, by Toccet) Last time out, Freudie Anne succeeded in winning the East View Stakes at Aqueduct. Based solely in New York, Freudie Anne has only won over the Aqueduct track, finishing a disappointing fifth in the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes at Belmont in her only start away from home. Freudie Anne has run on the lead in all of her wins except in her debut, where she pressed the frontrunners before digging in for the win. With the way this race is looking, she won’t get the easy lead she likely needs.
Forever Unbridled (Unbridled’s Song – Lemons Forever, by Lemon Drop Kid) Likely to be sitting midpack for most of this race, this filly was able to get up for second in her last start in the Silverbulletday Stakes. She has a win and two seconds in her three starts but has yet to defeat quality competition. Her full-sister Unbridled Forever was consistently contending with the best fillies in 2014, so the family is there, likely foretelling this one’s talent and grit. I actually like her chances with the way the pace is shaping up.
Harbour Island (My Pal Charlie – Vibrant, by Vicar) In three starts, this filly is coming in on a two-race win streak. While those two races were over questionable competition, the filly is seemingly at home on the Fair Grounds main track. She is stretching out from 6 to 8.5 furlongs, which is a big stretch for a filly with a middle-distance pedigree. Even though her damsire was a winner in the 1-1/8-mile Florida Derby and her sire was the winner of the Super Derby at the same distance, she seems to like her sprint distance. She also likes to be on the lead.
I’m a Chatterbox (Munnings – Chit Chatter, by Lost Soldier) Sprinter over distance influence is something I like to see in fillies. However, in this race, her running style of leading the field from start to finish is likely not going to work. Can this one rate? After her runaway performance last time out in the Silverbulletday, it is doubtful that jockey Florent Geroux tries to rate the filly. With 50 Kentucky Oaks points on the line, this one is hoping to run the field off their feet. While she has a good pedigree and record, the race is not shaping up to play in her favor.
Casey’s Opinions: It’s almost unbelievable how much speed has signed on for this race. At least four, if not five, fillies have early speed and likely intend to use it, meaning half the field will be able to hang back and let the other half exhaust one another. Forever Unbridled has the running style I like to see in these types of scenarios. Her pedigree is seemingly perfect for this distance, and she is likely to improve at even longer distances. West Coast Belle is likely to run a better race than her last as every horse is allowed a rebound after some big efforts. Her running style will be favorable, as the pace is most likely going to be hot. I like the talent and potential she has displayed so far, and I think she can easily improve as she matures. Angela Renee was one of the better two-year-old fillies of 2014, and pedigree suggests she will improve with age. Siena Farm has a good one on their hands with this filly. She is another late runner, and, as long as she has matured as well as her works have suggested, she should be a contender for the Run of the Lilies.
The Grade 3 $175,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes takes place at Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Saturday, February 21, 2015 with an approximate post time of 4:54 PM CT.
Rachel Alexandra Stakes 2015 Post Postions & Odds
Race #10 4:54 PM CT
1 Shook Up 7-2 Albarado/Asmussen
2 White Clover 20-1 Riquelme/Jones
3 Pleasant Tales 20-1 Boyce/Stewart
4 West Coast Belle 6-1 Bridgmohan/Catalano
5 Lovely Maria 5-1 Clark/Jones
6 Angela Renee 5-1 Bejarano/Pletcher
7 Freudie Anne 8-1 Smith/Kenneally
8 Forever Unbridled 8-1 Hernandez, Jr./Stewart
9 Harbour Island 12-1 Mena/Stall, Jr.
10 I’m a Chatterbox 4-1 Geroux/Jones