April 23, 2024

Rachel Alexandra will determine future for Hoosier Philly

Hoosier Philly galloped in the Golden Rod (Photo by Coady Photography)

Saturday’s $300,000 Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds will serve as a stepping stone for Hoosier Philly, but a lot of bettors across the country last week wagered that it won’t necessarily be for the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

Hoosier Philly will be a strong favorite in the 1 1/16-mile test, which offers Oaks qualifying points of 50-20-15-10-5 to the respective top five finishers. However, the daughter of Into Mischief closed at 11-1 in Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, making her the second individual choice behind juvenile colt champion Forte.

Given several of last year’s leading colts have seen their returns delayed, and with few late bloomers having seriously emerged over the winter so far, it’s not surprising Hoosier Philly is being given a long look by many bettors for the Kentucky Derby (G1). She was outstanding in three starts last fall at Churchill Downs, including blowout wins in the Rags to Riches S. and Golden Rod (G2).

Hoosier Philly will renew acquaintance in the Rachel Alexandra with Knockyoursocksoff and Pretty Mischievous, who finished a distant second and third in the Golden Rod. Knockyoursocksoff hasn’t raced since, but Pretty Mischievous flattered the form when taking the Dec. 26 Untapable S. at Fair Grounds by more than three lengths.

Chop Chop, a stakes winner on turf and a narrowly beaten second in the Alcibiades (G1) to eventual champion Wonder Wheel last season, will add blinkers after finishing second in last month’s Silverbulletday S.

“I’m hoping the blinkers can help her get over the top if she ends up eye-balling another horse late in the race,” trainer Brad Cox said. “Even when she won it was by a narrow margin, so I’m hopeful this is something that can get her over the top and get her in the winner’s circle.”

The field of six is rounded out by the Todd Pletcher-trained Miracle, who’s placed three times against New York-bred stakes company, and Vahva, a distant third to Pretty Mischievous as the favorite in the Untapable after stumbling at the start.

But all eyes will be on Hoosier Philly, who perhaps could wheel back in the Louisiana Derby (G2) if she guarantees herself a spot in the Oaks with a convincing win in the Rachel Alexandra.

“We’re not looking at anything other than this race right now,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “We’re going to look out for her and do what’s in her best interest in each race. Right now, it’s the Rachel Alexandra, how she runs, and how she comes out of it.”