- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Kathmanblu likely choice in Rachel Alexandra
Seven three-year-old fillies will do battle in Saturday's $150,000 Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) at 1 1/16 miles, a tune-up for next month's Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). Renamed this season from the Silverbulletday to honor the 2009 Horse of the Year, the race is lead by Grade 2 vixen KATHMANBLU (Bluegrass Cat), who stole some of the colt Santiva's (Giant's Causeway) thunder at Churchill on November 27 with an 8 1/2-length romp in the Golden Rod. She completed 1 1/16 miles that day in 1:44 2/5, four-fifths of a second faster than Santiva's clocking roughly an hour later in the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2).
Having already demonstrated a fondness for the Churchill strip, Kathmanblu's pre-Kentucky Oaks (G1) schedule is expected to remain relatively unconventional. Having established her early credentials on grass last fall, winning the Jessamine S. and running third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2), McPeek had no qualms about starting Kathmanblu's season off in the grassy Sweetest Chant S. on January 22, a race she won with ease under hand encouragement. If successful in the Rachel Alexandra, Kathmnablu might make her final Oaks prep on Polytrack in Keeneland's Ashland S. (G1).
Standing in Kathmanblu's way here is BOUQUET BOOTH (Flower Alley), who's reeled off three straight including the Delta Downs Princess S. (G3) and the re-named Silverbulletday S., the latter by a neck over this track four weeks ago. Taking another shot at Kathmanblu is GRAN LIONESS (Lion Heart), who enters off a 3 1/4-length tally in the My Trusty Cat S. at Delta Downs, which followed a discouraging fifth-place effort in the Golden Rod where she was defeated by 14 lengths.
Moving from synthetic to dirt are INGLORIOUS (Hennessy), whose two victories last season came in the Fanfreluche S. and Ontario Lassie S. at Woodbine, and recent California Oaks heroine LILACS AND LACE (Flower Alley). The field is completed by last-out allowance winner CHLOE KATE (Afleet Alex) from the Howard barn and the Churchill maiden winner TAPIT DANCER (Tapit).