May 19, 2022

Needs Supervision faces deeper field in Rachel Alexandra

Needs Supervision winning the 27th running of the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds (c) Hodges Photography/Amanda Hodges Weir

Needs Supervision made a smooth transition to stakes company in the Silverbulletday last month, stretching her win skein to three, and she’ll try to carry her momentum forward against a talented cast of rivals in Saturday’s $200,000 Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds.

The second of three qualifiers in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series, the 1 1/16-mile Rachel Alexandra offers a combined 85 points to the top four finishers (50-20-10-5 scale).

Needs Supervision broke her maiden when making her second career start at Laurel Park in early November and came back three weeks later to crush entry-level allowance foes at Churchill Downs, scoring by five lengths at 37-1. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Paynter added Lasix for her first two-turn attempt and rallied from just off the pace to win the Silverbulletday going away by about a length. Joe Rocco Jr. retains the mount for Jeremiah O’Dwyer.

A total of 10 were entered but Chasing Yesterday isn’t expected to ship from Southern California after receiving the outermost post. A half-sister to 2015 American Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, the Grade 1-winning filly was installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite.

Serengeti Empress promises to show speed from post 3 and could prove tough to catch in her first appearance since a seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). The Alternation filly has run her best races on the front end, winning the Pocahontas (G2) and Ellis Park Debutante by double-digit margins in wire-to-wire style, and has finished up the track in two stakes attempts when she didn’t show the way. Tom Amoss tasks new pilot James Graham with hustling the dark bay filly from the starting gate.

Grade 2 winner Positive Spirit will also open her three-year-old season. A maiden winner at Churchill Downs two back, the Rodolphe Brisset-trained daughter of Pionnerof the Nile was last seen posting a 10-length tally in the Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct. Manny Franco will be to ride.

Molto Bella rebounded from a fourth in the Demoiselle in the January 19 Gasparilla at Tampa Bay Downs, convincingly posting a mild upset for Ian Wilkes, and the Violence filly registered a field-best last-out 92 BRIS Speed rating for the 6 ½-length decision. Julien Leparoux will take over the reins on the chestnut.

Golden Rod (G2) upsetter Liora will try to rebound from a disappointing fourth in the Silverbulletday. Channing Hill will be up for Wayne Catalano. Grade 3 winner Oxy Lady will look to make an impact in her first attempt since a fourth in the Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos in mid-December. Jack Sisterson has tabbed new jock Adam Beschizza.

Bell’s the One, who is unbeaten from three starts for Neil Pessin, will be tested for class and distance after capturing the six-furlong Letellier Memorial last month. Silverbulletday runner-up Eres Tu and last-out allowance winner Street Band complete the field.