Rachel Alexandra has the world at her feet. She has beaten the top 3yr old colts, including Travers winner Summer Bird, and has demolished the 3yr old filly ranks. Saturday she moves onto older males, and will attempt to do something no other 3yr old filly has ever done, defeat the best older males in a route race. Many people think that the Woodward field has fallen a bit sub par of what it has in the past, and that this should be a mere walkover for a filly as great as Rachel. All I have to say is if you are one of those people who think that, you are naive, because there is a reason no three year old has ever beaten older males, while routing, and why it is rarely ever done.
Rachel is going into this race with a target on her back, and to believe she will walk off with the win is foolish. You have Past the Point and Da'Tara, both horses have bucket loads of speed, and will not make it easy for Rachel to walk off with an easy lead. Da'Tar has the inside post, and Past the Point, the far outside. My guess is that they will break like shots, and continue from there, setting suicide fractions, in an attempt to wear Rachel down. Then on either side of Rachel you have two stalkers, Bullsbay, who weighs over 1200 lbs, and Cool Coal Man. Rachel better get a good break, or else I see her getting sandwiched like QR did in the Travers. Then you have Macho Again and Asiatic Boy, who will probably settle down behind Rachel. If you have Past the Point and Da'Tar in front, two stalkers flanking you, and Macho Again and Asiatic Boy close behind, then you can easily see that your in a neat little box. The only hope I can see for her in this situation is if Da'Tara tires, and drifts, leaving a hole for her to shoot through.
Another scenario is that Rachel breaks well, and Calvin, somehow is able to drop her back and bring her around to the outside, out of harms way. If this happens, you can almost bet Past the Point and Da'Tara, will try and keep her wide, while making her work while she's up near the pace. Da'Tara, I expect will tire, as he does if he doesn't make an easy lead, but Past the Point has show that he loves this track, and is capable of putting up quite a fight, as he did last year when he fell just a length and a quarter short to Curlin. This situation will also result in a blistering pace, setting things up for stalkers, like Bullsbay, Cool Coal Man or Asiatic Boy, or if he is on his game, a late closer like Macho Again. This situation, to me would be the better of the two, because, she has proven that she does not mind fast trips that may also be wide, when she went five wide in the Preakness on the first turn, and three wide in the Haskell Invitational. In both of those she handled a fast pace as well, and in the Preakness she went 1/16 of a mile longer.
Either way this is not an easy race. If Da'Tara shows up the horse he was in last years Belmont he could win. Cool Coal Man just won a stakes over this track by 13 lengths, Asiatic Boy is a winner on three continents, and has finished second in his only two starts over here. Past the Point, also loves the strip, and ran very well last out. Bullsbay has his Whitney win in him, as Macho Again has the Stephen Foster run in him. Though Rachel's best Beyer figure is six points above the rest, she has been running big for seven back to back races, her 116 figure, run last out, which could give her the possiblilty to bounce. Though one could say she bounced in the Preakness and still ran a 108 Beyer fig, and won beating the derby winner. On the other hand if she keeps improving or even stays the same, it will be a challenge for anyone to stop her. My only advice is don't discount these other horses, there could be a Prove Out lurking somewhere in this field, and if there is Rachel will have to be on her toes to win. This will be her biggest challenge yet. Lets see if she can beat it.