NEW YORK - Sheer intimidation may have kept most of Rachel Alexandra's competition away, and a couple of late scratches made the Mother Goose Stakes a three-horse race.
The Preakness winner might as well have been running alone.
Rachel Alexandra romped to a 191/4-length victory Saturday, making a dazzling move on the far turn at Belmont Park and pulling away from Malibu Prayer and Flashing to finish the 11/8-mile race in a stakes record 1:46.33.
"Believe me, she's not normal," jockey Calvin Borel said. "She's unbelievable."
Rachel Alexandra hardly looked like she broke a sweat, strutting through the winner's circle just as she had the paddock. The first filly to win the Preakness since 1924 was the overwhelming 1-9 favorite, and did absolutely nothing to dispute it, paying $2.10 to win.
She's captured seven straight races dating to last year, including her rousing victory against Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird at Pimlico. Malibu Prayer finished second and Flashing was third, although there was no place or show wagering due to the short field.
"I felt she could win by 10 lengths," said co-owner Jess Jackson, who purchased the filly after her 201/4-length win in the Kentucky Oaks. "She's something special, one for the ages. I just hope we have more horses to fill the fields and make it more exciting."
Florida Oaks winner Don't Forget Gil was scratched Saturday morning because of a temperature, and Hopeful Image was held out because of a case of colic, leaving just three in the starting gate.
"We did everything we could to keep her in the race," said Hopeful Image trainer Gerald Procino. "She'll be fine, but the veterinarian advised that we scratch."
It probably wouldn't have made any difference.
Rachel Alexandra looked calm and regal as she pranced toward the track, Borel giving her two pats on the neck. She broke cleanly from the third post and remained about four lengths off the pace along the backstretch at Big Sandy, where it sure didn't look like she was running for the first time.
Chewing up the deep racing surface, Rachel Alexandra split her only challengers around the final bend and surged down the front straightaway. Borel never needed to urge her, settling back as one of the most dominant fillies to come along in years proved her brilliance once more.
"You don't know where the bottom is yet. He didn't ask her to run," Jackson said. "He was just sitting there. I'm amazed at her beauty combined with her speed."
A crowd of 13,352 showed up to see Rachel Alexandra, even with the Yankees and Mets playing their Subway Series a few miles away at Citi Field.
Pink bracelets bearing the filly's name were given away to the first 10,000 through the turnstiles in support of Jackson's decision to donate part of Rachel Alexandra's future earnings to the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation.
Women were also admitted free on a day that belonged to horse racing's current glamor girl.
"I was very relaxed where she was, just that beautiful stride. She looked great," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "She deserves all the attention and affection."
Jackson hasn't said where he'll run Rachel Alexandra next, but it appears she came out of the race in perfect health. He's mentioned as candidates the Delaware Handicap on July 19, the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 2 and the Travers on Aug. 29 - all races against the boys.
She also could run against fillies in the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 25 at Belmont.
Regardless of where she goes, fans are already clamoring for a matchup against champion mare Zenyatta, the best in the West who claimed her 11th straight victory just minutes after the Mother Goose in the $300,00 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park.
Jackson has said Rachel Alexandra won't run in the Breeders' Cup on Santa Anita's synthetic track this fall, and Zenyatta has campaigned almost exclusively over those surfaces in California. One of their connections would have to budge for the matchup to happen.
"That'd be delightful, the two best fillies in a decade or so," Jackson said, "but I'd like it to be a full field so they really have a challenge."