09/05/2009 11:00PM

Hot Dixie Chick holds up her end


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - So what does one do for an encore after winning the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes with a 3-year-old filly? How about win another Grade 1 at Saratoga.

That's what the connections of Woodward winner Rachel Alexandra did Sunday at the Spa as trainer Steve Asmussen and owners Barbara Banke and Jess Jackson watched Hot Dixie Chick cut the corner deftly turning for home under Robby Albarado and draw off to a 1 1/4-length victory in the Beautician finished second in the seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies, 8 1/2 lengths clear of the pace-setting Bickersons, who was third.

It was the third consecutive victory for Hot Dixie Chick, who began the meet with a 6 1/4-length triumph in the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes on opening day. While Jackson is listed as the primary owner of Rachel Alexandra, his wife, Barbara Banke, who races under the name Grace Stables, owns Hot Dixie Chick.

The two horses happen to be stabled next to each in Asmussen's barn, but it's not because of their common ownership.

"She's got a tremendous demeanor," Asmussen said of Hot Dixie Chick. "Her demeanor is why she's stabled next to Rachel. You don't want anything that's going to bother Rachel; she's the perfect one to put there. I don't think you could have a better indication than how she acts in her stall than that."

Breaking from the rail under Robby Albarado, Hot Dixie Chick chased the speedy Bickersons through an opening quarter of 22.77 seconds. Entering the far turn, Albarado sat chilly on Hot Dixie Chick while Bickersons opened up again after a half-mile in 45.19 seconds.

Albarado still had plenty of horse underneath him, and turning for home, he shot Hot Dixie Chick through the inside of Bickersons and they were able to outfoot Beautician to the wire for the victory. Hot Dixie Chick, a daughter of Dixie Union, covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.28, the fastest of 16 Spinaways run at this distance. She returned $2.60 as the 3-10 favorite, the same price Rachel went off in the Woodward.

"Robby looked very confident," said Asmussen, who won the 2001 Spinaway with Cashier's Dream. "I think he eased her back out of there, felt like he had a lot of horse."

For the second straight race, Beautician was second to Hot Dixie Chick. Only this time, the margin was 1 1/4 lengths as compared with 6 1/4 lengths in the Schuylerville. McPeek has said all along he's looking forward to stretching the filly out in distance.

"Ran super, a really good filly that beat us," McPeek said. "We're exactly where we want to be. We got a couple of big ones coming up - Alcibiades, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies."