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Rachel Alexandra romps to victory in Mother Goose

Rachel Alexandra may need to run against theboys just to find some competition.

The Preakness winner romped to a 19 1/2-length victoryin the$300,000 Mother Goose on Saturday, splitting Malibu Prayer andFlashing on the far turn at Belmont Park and pulling away down thelong front stretch to win in a stakes-record 1:46.33.

The superstar filly, who was back on the track for the firsttime since knocking off the boys at Pimlico, won her seventhstraight race dating to last year.

"She's not normal," jockey Calvin Borel said.

Rachel Alexandra, who became the first filly to win thePreakness since 1924, went off as the overwhelming 1-9 favorite ina field of 3-year-old fillies reduced to three by two latescratches. She paid $2.10 in the race over 1 1-8 miles, with noplace or show wagering due to the short field.

Malibu Prayer finished second and Flashing was third.

"I felt she could win by 10 lengths," co-owner Jess Jacksonsaid. "She's something special, one for the ages. I just hope wehave more horses to fill the fields and make it more exciting."

The race was made easier when Florida Oaks winner Don't ForgetGil was scratched Saturday morning because of a temperature, andHopeful Image was held out because she has not fully recovered froma case of colic suffered earlier this week.

"We did everything we could to keep her in the race," saidtrainer Gerald Procino, who co-owns Hopeful Image. "She'll befine, but the veterinarian advised that we scratch."

Rachel Alexandra looked calm and regal as she strutted throughpaddock before the race, and Borel gave her two pats on the neckbefore she headed for the track.

She broke cleanly from the third post and remained about fourlengths off the pace along the backstretch at Big Sandy, where shehad never before run. The deep surface didn't appear to affectRachel Alexandra as she stormed between her two challengers andinto the lead.

Borel never seemed to urge her after that, settling back andhanging on as one of the most dominant fillies to come along inyears proved her brilliance once more.

"You don't know where the bottom is yet. He didn't ask her torun," Jackson said. "He was just sitting there. I'm amazed at herbeauty combined with her speed."

A larger-than-usual crowd turned out to see Rachel Alexandra,even with the Yankees and Mets playing their Subway Series a fewmiles away at Citi Field. The filly was given a big ovation by13,352 fans basking in one of the first sunny afternoons in NewYork this month.

Pink bracelets with the filly's name were given away to thefirst 10,000 through the turnstiles in support of Jackson'sdecision to donate a percentage of Rachel Alexandra's futureearnings to the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation.

Women were also admitted free on a day that belonged to horseracing's current glamor girl.

"I was very relaxed where she was, just that beautiful stride.She looked great," said trainer Steve Asmussen, who has had thefilly in his stable the past two races. "She deserves all theattention and affection."

Jackson hasn't said where he'll run Rachel Alexandra next, butit appears she came out of the race fit. He's mentioned ascandidates the Delaware Handicap on July 19, the HaskellInvitational on Aug. 2 and the Travers on Aug. 29 -- all racesagainst the boys.

She also could run against fillies again in the Coaching ClubAmerican Oaks on July 25 at Belmont.

Regardless of where she runs, fans are already clamoring for amatchup against champion mare Zenyatta, the best in the West whoclaimed her 11th straight victory just minutes after the MotherGoose in the $300,00 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Jackson has said Rachel Alexandra won't run in the Breeders' Cupon Santa Anita's synthetic track this fall, and Zenyatta hascampaigned almost exclusively over those surfaces in California.

"That'd be delightful, the two best fillies in a decade orso," Jackson said, "but I'd like it to be a full field so theyreally have a challenge."


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