09/04/2009 11:00PM

Hot Dixie Chick fast as they come

Tod Marks
Hot Dixie Chick, a dominant winner on opening day at Saratoga in the Schuylerville, will break from the rail again under Robby Albarado in Sunday's Spinaway.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Steve Asmussen has been around some extremely fast 2-year-olds in his career, with arguably the most notable one being Cashier's Dream, who won the Grade 1 Spinaway here by six lengths in 2001.

When the Spinaway is run for the 118th time Sunday at Saratoga, Asmussen will send out the freakishly fast Hot Dixie Chick, whom the trainer likens to Cashier's Dream.

"They both set track records at Churchill before they came up here," said Asmussen, who trains Hot Dixie Chick for Barbara Banke, wife of Jess Jackson, the owner of Rachel Alexandra.

Off her track-record performance in a five-furlong maiden race at Churchill Downs, Hot Dixie Chick rolled to a 6 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Schuylerville here on opening day. Breaking from the 1 hole, jockey Robby Albarado was able to get Hot Dixie Chick outside of the speedy maiden Stormandaprayer, before Hot Dixie Chick took command turning for home and drew clear in the stretch.

"The way she handled the Schuylerville gives Robby a tremendous amount of confidence on what to do with her from the 1 hole," said Asmussen, whose filly will break from the rail again Sunday. "She's fast, she's going to be there. Last time we didn't see the maiden being in front, but you never know what happens in a race.''

Though the Spinaway drew a field of nine, surprisingly there isn't as much speed entered as one would expect for a juvenile fillies stakes race going seven furlongs.

Bickersons, trained by Kelly Breen, looks like the next quickest filly from the gate. She is coming off a front-running maiden win going five furlongs at Monmouth Park on July 17.

Worstcasescenario won the Grade 2 Adirondack laying just off an extremely fast pace. Though she is entered in the Spinaway, trainer Rick Violette indicated Friday morning that he would most likely scratch Worstcasescenario to await the Matron at Belmont on Sept. 19. Violette still has the New York-bred maiden winner Opus A to run in the Spinaway.

Beautician and Sassy Image appear to be the most logical challengers to Hot Dixie Chick in the Spinaway. Beautician finished second to Hot Dixie Chick in the Schuylerville with a troubled trip, then missed the Adirondack due to a bout of colic. While trainer Ken McPeek doesn't think the trouble in the Schuylerville cost Beautician the win, he does feel that, in general, his horses have improved second time over the track.

"I think a lot of our horses came up here and needed a race over the track,'' McPeek said. "We came up late and struggled fitness-wise over it. She's another one that got quite a bit out of the race and should move forward.''

Sassy Image finished third to Beautician in a maiden race at Churchill before winning her second start by 5 3/4 lengths on June 21. She finished a clear second to Worstcasescenario in the Adirondack, despite having to rally five wide in the stretch.

"The further the better with her,'' trainer Dale Romans said. "Hopefully, they'll go out there and go fast and we can pick up the pieces.''

Magic Appeal, third in the Adirondack, and maiden winners Sky Fever and Snap Happy complete the field.

The Spinaway is race 10 on an 11-race card that also includes the Saranac for 3-year-olds on the turf and the Commentator for New York-breds at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. The recently retired Commentator, the two-time Whitney Handicap winner, will lead the post parade for that race.