The connections of 2009 Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra announced on Tuesday that she will once again face the boys in the Grade 1 $1,000,000 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on August 2.
I, for one, think this is a tremendous development for the signature event of the Monmouth meeting. Illinois Derby winner Musket Man is already out for the year after having committed to the event earlier. All that was really scheduled to be present were Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner, Summer Bird, and Grade 2 Arkansas Derby winner, Papa Clem.
This is also a great thing for Rachel Alexandra herself. Everyone is trying to acclaim her as the greatest filly of all time. She may very well be that indeed, however, she needs to keep racing against the boys to do that. She has already crushed the best 3-year-old fillies currently running and since the connections have already announced that she will not run on synthetic surfaces (like the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita), she has to try to continue to dominate the best runners going. That means she has to race against the boys rather than winning against the fillies by 20-plus lengths.
Tune in for more tomorrow from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!