Reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra won her first race as a four-year-old by 10 1/2 lengths in $214,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Rachel Alexandra, who won nine straight last year including the 2009 Preakness Stakes and a 20 1/2-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks, had come in second in her first two races of the 2010 campaign.
A 1-to-10 favorite, she covered the 1 1/8 miles in one minute, 48.78 seconds ahead of Distinctive Dixie and Jessica is Back at the Louisville, Kentucky, track.
“As long as she continues to progress, we intend to race her with the expectation that she will obtain her fitness level of last year,” said owner Jess Jackson in a statement. “Our ultimate goal and hope is to enter the Breeders’ Cup in November.”
Jackson refused to run Rachel Alexandra in last year’s Breeder’s Cup World Championships because it was raced on an artificial surface at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. This year’s race card will be held at on Churchill Downs’ dirt track.
Undefeated Zenyatta, the winner of last year’s $5 million Classic, also may be headed for a repeat appearance in the Breeders’ Cup. The mare will attempt her 17th straight victory tomorrow in the $250,000 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California, a feat that would surpass Cigar, Citation and Mister Frisky.
Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta have yet to meet on a race track.