08/20/2012 4:18PM

Saratoga: Risky Rachel cruises home in Union Avenue

Barbara D. Livingston
Risky Rachel, under Javier Castellano, wins by 3 1/2 lengths in the Union Avenue.

SARATOGA SPRIONGS, N.Y. - The confidence trainer Juan Coronel and the betting public expressed in Risky Rachel was justified and rewarded Monday as the 5-year-old mare cruised to a 3 1/2-length victory as the 3-5 favorite in the $100,000 Union Avenue Stakes at Saratoga.

Willet, making her first start since last December, rallied for second, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Paper Plane. Final Mesa, Lady Vi, and Superior Sarah completed the order of finish. Funky Munky Mama was scratched.

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The win was the seventh from 16 career starts for Risky Rachel, but it also snapped a three-race losing streak.

Entering the Union Avenue, Coronel expressed tremendous confidence in Risky Rachel because she was cutting back to her preferred six-furlong distance, was drawn to the outside and had Javier Castellano on her back.

Breaking from post 5 in the six-horse field, Risky Rachel stalked Final Mesa through an opening quarter-mile in 22.75 seconds, crept alongside midway around the turn, and drew off in the stretch. Risky Rachel, a daughter of Limehouse owned and bred by Sanford Bacon, covered six furlongs in 1:09.02 and paid $3.40.

"Last time, there was too much speed in the beginning," Coronel said, referring to Risky Rachel's second-place finish in the Fleet Indian Stakes here on Aug. 1. "That cost us the race. In the beginning, it was difficult because there were a couple of horses with a lot of speed. Javier knows the filly, too. He broke good. He's a great rider. He did very well."