02/23/2012 2:01PM

Fair Grounds: Rachel Alexandra may set up for Summer Applause

Lou Hodges Jr.
Believe You Can (left), with Rosie Napravnik, up defeats Summer Applause in the Silverbulletday Stakes.

NEW ORLEANS – When Applauding was scratched from last month’s Silverbulletday Stakes, it left Believe You Can as the lone front-runner, and she seized the opportunity. Here it is five weeks later, and again, for the Grade 3, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds, Applauding will be scratched, removing one potential speed horse from the lineup.

But the complexion of the Rachel Alexandra still could be different for Believe You Can. Recent maiden winner Avie’s Sense, and the unbeaten Table Three Ten, both add significant potential speed to the Rachel Alexandra. That could boost the chances of Summer Applause, who got caught in the unenviable position of trying to chase Believe You Can in the Silverbulletday, and never caught up.

[MORE: PPs and video previews for the Saturday card at Fair Grounds]

“I think the race comes up good for us. There’s other speed, so there won’t be a horse loose on the lead,” said Bret Calhoun, who trains Summer Applause. “We could have gone with Believe You Can last time, but I didn’t want my filly to develop that style. As the distances increase, she needs to stalk and pounce.”

Summer Applause gets a bit more distance to work with in the Rachel Alexandra, whose 1 1/16 miles is 40 yards farther than the Silverbulletday.

Believe You Can ran the fastest race of her life in the Silverbulletday, which trainer Larry Jones said indicates she is simply getting better, and that the pace situation last time was a happy coincidence. The Silverbulletday was her first try around two turns.

“I think she got a lot out of that race,” Jones said. “She’s a lot more relaxed going into this race. Hopefully she learned something last time. If somebody else wants to go, we can sit off them. This filly is very intelligent.”

Believe You Can carries top weight of 122 pounds, four more than Summer Applause, and six more than her other rivals.

Seven were entered in the Rachel Alexandra, but six remain following the scratch of Applauding.

Table Three Ten is an intriguing newcomer. She has won both her starts, including a debut maiden win at Fair Grounds in November for trainer Mike Stidham that spurred a private sale to Team Valor International. In her lone start since, for new trainer Graham Motion, Table Three Ten won a first-level allowance at Gulfstream. Motion opted for the Rachel Alexandra instead of the seemingly tougher Davona Dale on Saturday at Gulfstream.

“She’s done well. Her works are not spectacular, but certainly her last race was a good effort,” Motion said Thursday morning from south Florida. “That seemed like the logical spot to go, knowing she had done well there already.”

Inny Minnie will try to improve off a third-place finish in the Silverbulletday.

“I really like her. She’s a solid filly,” said her trainer, Steve Margolis. “Her last race was good. She’s moving the right way. I couldn’t ask her to be doing any better training-wise. She’s had three sharp works over the track since her last race. I expect a big effort.”

Annaclone, whose lone win in seven starts was against maiden-claimers, completes the field.

Rachel Alexandra S. (G3), Post Time: 2:58 CT Saturday

Purse: $200,000; 1 1/16 mile





ML Odds


Believe You Can

J. Jones

R. Napravnik



Avie's Sense

J. Carroll

J. Graham



Inny Minnie

S. Margolis

S. Bridgmohan



Table Three Ten

H. Motion

J. Castellano



Summer Applause

W. Calhoun

R. Albarado



Applauding (SCR)

A. Stall, Jr.

S. Sellers




B. Flint

M. Mena