Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra breezed four furlongs Feb. 6 at the Fair Grounds. The Steve Asmussen-trained 4-year-old filly got her half-mile in :50 3/5 and it was the 51st fastest move of 76 horses that worked that distance on a busy morning in New Orleans.
It was her second work in the span of a week, having logged a :52 half-mile at Fair Grounds Jan. 31.
Regular exercise rider Dominic Terry was aboard the filly, who was accompanied by assistant trainer Scott Blasi on his pony while trainer Steve Asmussen looked on from horseback.
Rachel Alexandra entered the track from the half-mile gap at 6:31 a.m. Following the same routine as in her first work of the year Jan. 31, she backtracked more than a half-mile “the wrong way,” clockwise, into the Fair Grounds stretch. Turning back with the traffic, Rachel Alexandra galloped a few paths toward the center of the track into the backstretch before Terry eased her to the rail and picked up speed approaching the half-mile marker.
Rachel Alexandra worked to the finish line before galloping out the extra one-eighth of a mile in an easy :13 2/5.
The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro is owned by Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick. She was recently named Horse of the Year and was an unanimous selection for champion 3-year-old female off her three big wins over males in the BlackBerry Preakness, Haskell Invitational, and Woodward Stakes (all gr. I).
“She’s very special,” said Asmussen back at his barn shortly afterward. “I thought she looked beautiful. She went :50 3/5 today off of her :52 the other day. I think that’s pretty much the progression that we’re expecting.”
Earlier in the week, Charles Cella of Oaklawn Park said he would put up $5 million for the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) should both Rachel Alexandra and Jerry and Ann Moss' two-time Eclipse Award winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Zenyatta were to both start in the April 3 race in Hot Springs, Ark.
Asked whether Rachel Alexandra could be ready for a race in the next two months, Asmussen reiterated that they would “do what’s right by her.” This morning’s work, he said, was simply “the next step in the process.”