Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher
On the sixth anniversary of the day Rachel Alexandra achieved her historic victory in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, it was only fitting that her daughter Rachel’s Valentina was able to secure an important win of her own in the $350,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Making the second start of her career, Rachel’s Valentina was sent off as the narrow favorite at 1.75-1 and more than lived up to expectations. With John Velazquez in the saddle for trainer Todd Pletcher, Rachel’s Valentina got off to a good start and quickly settled into third place, two lengths behind her pace-setting stablemate Tonasah. Rachel’s Valentina continued to race in third around the turn, but entering the homestretch, she shifted to the outside and got to work chasing Constellation, who had tracked the pace in second before taking command at the top of the stretch. It looked for a moment as though Rachel’s Valentina would be unable to accelerate in time to win, but in the final furlong, she dug deep and rallied strongly to win by a length over the late-running Tap to It. Constellation finished third, 3 1/4 lengths behind Tap to It.
“Today, she knew what it was all about,” said Velazquez. “She was on the bridle, and she knew what she was supposed to do. I didn’t have to do anything down the lane, just keep her mind on running, and she got it done. She’s one of those horses that the farther she goes, the better she gets. Before she ran I thought three-quarters might be a little too short and she still got up there. She’s pretty good.”
Rachel’s Valentina is owned by Stonestreet Stable and was sired by Bernardini. She is now unbeaten in two starts with earnings of $259,800, and has clearly stamped herself as one of the favorites for the $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Keeneland on October 31st. Her next start is expected to come in either the October 2nd Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland or the October 3rd Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
— NYRA (@TheNYRA) September 5, 2015