Rags to Riches working out.
Rags to Riches will be only the 22nd filly to ever attempt to win the Belmont Stakes, and the fifth since 1980.
Often, when the first two races of the Triple Crown of Horse Racing have been split between different winners, the Belmont Stakes serves as a Derby/Preakness winner rematch. However, that will not be the case today, because the Derby winner, Street Sense, was not entered in the race. But there is an entrant who is just as interesting: a filly will run in this demanding mile-and-a-half race.
The filly, Rags to Riches, is probably the most talented three-year-old of 2007. Not only has she won four of her five starts, but three of those races were prestigious Grade One Stakes races, which host the most intense competition. Additionally, she has an impeccable pedigree: her father, AP Indy, won the Belmont Stakes in 1992, before he went on to win the Horse of the Year Award; one of her grandfathers, Seattle Slew, won the Belmont (and the Triple Crown) while remaining undefeated; another grandfather, Secretariat, won one of the most astonishing Belmont races ever run (also winning the Triple Crown) and is also arguably one of the best racehorses of the last century; and her half-brother, Jazil, won the Belmont last year. In short, Rags to Riches has the pedigree and she can go the distance.
Desite the fact that fillies are speedy and can match the colts on a stopwatch, no one is quite sure why they somehow consistently fails to beat colts in head-to-head competition.
"Physically, they are totally different," said Dr. George Mundy, a veterinarian and general manager of Adena Springs Farm in Kentucky. "At the top level, especially, colts are usually bigger and stronger. They also have testosterone, which makes them more aggressive. There also is an intimidation factor. There are some fillies and mares out there with he-men characteristics, but they are few and far between."
Out of 21 filles to run in the Belmont Stakes so far, only two filles have ever won. The first, Ruthless, won the first running of this race in 1867, and Tanya won in 1905. Since 1980, four fillies have run in the Belmont, including Kentucky Derby winner, Genuine Risk (second in 1980), Winning Colors (sixth in 1988), My Flag (third in 1996) and Silverbulletday (seventh in 1999).
No one is quite sure why a filly can match a colt's time on a stopwatch, but typically fail to beat colts in head-to-head competition.
"Physically, they are totally different," explained Dr. George Mundy, a veterinarian and general manager of Adena Springs Farm in Kentucky. "At the top level, especially, colts are usually bigger and stronger. They also have testosterone, which makes them more aggressive. There also is an intimidation factor. There are some fillies and mares out there with he-men characteristics, but they are few and far between."
Many people are favorably comparing Rags to Riches to the filly, My Flag.
"They're a lot the same because they'll naturally run that far," said Shug McGaughey, whose filly, My Flag, finished five lengths behind the 1996 winner, Editor's Note. "That was my thinking: she'll run that far, she'll get the distance. If you were trying to make one get the distance I think it would be very difficult."
But her competitors' trainers are impressed with Rags to Riches.
"She adds curiosity," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Curlin, the odds-on favorite. "I think everyone's been impressed with her. I'm very curious to see how she stacks up to what I believe is a group of excellent three-year-old colts."
The filly's trainer also thinks she has an excellent chance to win the race.
"We're in because we think we have a chance to win," said the filly's trainer, Todd Pletcher. Pletcher is 0 for 28 in Triple Crown races but may have his best chance of breaking his streak with this filly. "She's a tremendous moving filly, and she's extremely efficient in her action. She's got great, powerful hindquarters and after watching her gallop around this track, she gallops effortlessly and she gives the impression that she'll stay on forever."
Because Rags to Riches is a filly, she will carry 121 pounds, five pounds less than her male rivals in this race.
And she won!
Congratulations Rags to Riches. Seattle Slew is my favorite race horse and I am glad that you are carrying on his legacy. You go girl!
Great Story!! Go girls!