A well-matched field of nine three-year-old fillies will take the next step on the road to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in Saturday's $200,000 Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds over 1 1/16 miles. Offering Oaks qualifying points of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers, the Rachel Alexandra's winner is virtually assured a spot in the Oaks starting gate.
Needs Supervision will look to follow up on her victory over Eres Tu in last month's $150,000 Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds, which was her first stakes victory and third win in succession after previous scores at Laurel and Churchill Downs.
"She's done nothing but improve, trainer Jerry O'Dwyer said. "She's bringing me on a heck of a ride. She's not a big imposing filly but she's not small either. She's just very pretty and very efficient like a ballerina. I wouldn't swap her for anything else in the country. Maybe it's sentimental because I had her and picked her out at the sale and got to develop her myself. She's something special."
Also entering on a three-race win streak is Bell's the One, a daughter of Majesticperfection who has yet to race beyond six furlongs. After winning at Arlington and Keeneland in her first two starts, Bell's the One overcame a slow start to take the $75,000 Letellier Memorial at Fair Grounds by a half-length on December 27.
One of the betting favorites in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) following blowout wins in the Ellis Park Debutante and Pocahontas (G2), Serengeti Empress will seek to bounce back from a seventh-place effort in the Breeders' Cup for trainer Tom Amoss.
Other graded stakes winners in the Rachel Alexandra lineup are Positive Spirit, who captured the Demoiselle (G2) by 10 1/2 lengths in early December; Oxy Lady, who romped by five lengths in the Tempted (G3) before finishing fourth in the Starlet (G1); and Golden Rod (G2) upsetter Liora, a weakening fourth in the Silverbulletday last time.
Tampa stakes winner Molto Bella and local allowance scorer Street Band will complete the field after the reported withdrawal of morning line favorite Chasing Yesterday.
The Rachel Alexandra can be watched and wagered on at TwinSpires.com.
(Amanda Hodges Weir photo)