Trainer Steve Asmussen still thinks the world of Rachel Alexandra, even if she isn't as quick as she was last year.
The superstar filly lost her second straight race Friday, by a head to Unrivaled Belle in her return to Churchill Downs for the $400,000 La Troienne Stakes.
"We need to pet on her, let her realize who she is - that she's still the 2009 Horse of the Year - and we're very proud of her for that," Asmussen said. "But on a racing standpoint, to win you've got to go faster."
Rachel Alexandra lost again as the heavy favorite. This time, she was sent off at 1-5 odds by a crowd who cheered her introduction as she bucked in the post parade.
She was upset as the 1-20 favorite in her season debut in New Orleans last month, causing co-owner Jess Jackson to pull her out of a highly touted matchup with female rival Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park.
"The defeat last time put a whole lot more pressure on this one," Asmussen said.
A year ago to the day, Rachel Alexandra won the Kentucky Oaks by an astonishing 20 1/4 lengths, then went on to beat the boys in the Preakness Stakes and win her next four starts. She was voted Horse of the Year over Zenyatta, who is 16-0.
KENTUCKY OAKS: Blind Luck tracked down Evening Jewel in the final yards to win the $500,000 Grade I race.
The heavy 6-5 favorite trailed early before roaring down the stretch to catch Evening Jewel at the wire in the 11/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.
It was the third victory in the filly version of the Kentucky Derby for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Blind Luck, ridden by jockey Rafael Bejarano, paid $4.60, $3.60 and $2.80 while covering the distance in 1:50.70.