Stronger Than Ever to sit out Rachel Alexandra

Horse Racing

Stronger Than Ever, the 3-year-old filly who scored an upset victory Jan. 13 in the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds, won’t start in the Grade 2, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Feb. 17.

Stronger Than Ever, aided by a fast pace, closed from last to win the Silverbulletday by a neck at odds of 33-1, but she has not worked since that start, and trainer Ken McPeek said he is passing the Rachel Alexandra.

“Everything’s fine, but we’re just being patient with her,” McPeek said. “She had a long ship, and we ran her back pretty quick again. It’s early in the season, and I just felt like she needed a little more time.”

Stronger Than Ever had been based in Kentucky when she shipped to Remington Park and finished third Dec. 17 in the $100,000 Trapeze Stakes.

Stronger Than Ever remains based at Fair Grounds, and plans call for her to race next either in the Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn or in the Fair Grounds Oaks.

Meanwhile, trainer Mark Casse said he’ll run both his Silverbulletday starters, Wonder Gadot and Heavenly Love, in the Rachel Alexandra. Wonder Gadot, winner of the Grade 2 Demoiselle in her 2-year-old finale, dueled on a hot pace in the Silverbulletday and did well to finish second. Heavenly Love, who won the Grade 1 Alcibiades last fall at Keeneland, had trouble in the Silverbulletday that didn’t fully account for her modest fifth-place finish.

The Rachel Alexandra favorite figures to be Monomoy Girl, who took her first loss when defeated by a neck in her 2-year-old finale in the Grade 2 Golden Rod on Nov. 25 at Churchill. Monomoy Girl, who won her first three starts, worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 on Monday for trainer Brad Cox.

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