(edited press release)
L and M Partners’ Rachel Alexandra looms as the 4-5 morning line choice when facing five rivals in the 43rd running of the $400,000 grade II Fair Grounds Oaks for 3-year-old fillies March 14 at Fair Grounds.
Rachel Alexandra, who first garnered national attention as a 2-year-old with her front-running 4 3/4-length victory in the grade II Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs, bold-faced those credentials with a facile eight-length tally in the Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 15 at Oaklawn Park.
Bred in Kentucky by Dolphus Morrison, one of the owners in Rachel Alexandra’s partnership, the precocious female superstar is a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro out of the Roar mare Lotta Kim, who won the Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds in 2004.
In the Martha Washington, Rachel Alexandra prompted the pace before taking command entering the lane, and drew off the rest of the way.
Rachel Alexandra, trained by veteran conditioner Hal Wiggins, breezed a half-mile at Oaklawn on Sunday in 49 1/5.
Louisiana native Calvin Borel will journey from his longtime winter headquarters in Arkansas to ride Rachel Alexandra in the Oaks.
Conditioned by Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen, Four Gifts was also third in the Tiffany Lass Stakes Jan. 10, and won the grade III Delta Princess Dec. 5 at Delta Downs.
Six-time Fair Grounds leading rider Robby Albarado, who despite his many local accolades has never won a Fair Grounds Oaks, is named to ride Four Gifts, who breezed a half-mile in 50 1/5 March 9.
Three of the last four winners of the Fair Grounds Oaks have gone on to capture the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), including 2008 winner Proud Spell, who used the Fair Grounds Oaks as a springboard to an Eclipse Award-winning campaign.
Fair Grounds Oaks, grade II, $400,000, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-old fillies, weight 121 pounds
(Post position—Name, jockey, morning line odds)
1--Our Dahlia, Kent Desormeaux, 10-1
2--Four Gifts, Robby Albarado, 5-2
3--Rachel Alexandra, Calvin Borel, 4-5
4--African Skies, Edgar Prado, 6-1
5--Flying Spur, Patrick Valenzuela, 12-1
6--War Tigress, James Graham, 10-1