Rachel Alexandra in Final Woodward Tuneup
(Edited NYRA release)
Rachel Alexandra, whose eight-race win streak includes four grade I stakes, turned in her final preparation for the Sept. 5 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) when she breezed four furlongs at Saratoga on the morning of Aug. 31.
The workout over the Oklahoma training track in :49.09 was the 15th fastest among 44 horses working the distance.
The Woodward at 1 1/8 miles will mark Rachel Alexandra’s first effort against older males. The 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro has already shown her dominance over the 3-year-old male class with impressive victories in the BlackBerry Preakness Stakes and Haskell Invitational, both grade I.
Trained by Steve Asmussen for Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stable and Harold McCormick, Rachel Alexandra has won 10 of 13 career starts and earned $2,498,354.
Clockers for The New York Racing Association, Inc. caught the 3-year-old filly going the first quarter in 25.53 and galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.23 under exercise rider Dominic Terry.
"She was very happy, came back very loose," said trainer Steve Asmussen. "If she’s happy, we’re happy. It was a nice, cool, crisp morning, and the racetrack was in great shape. She was extremely impressive. We were teasing about it, (about) making a training video and putting it in everyone else’s stall to say, ‘Try to do it like this.’ It’s great to have an opportunity to run her on the stage that is Saratoga, one I think she is deserving of. To run her in a race that Curlin was fortunate enough to win last year, we realize what a tall order it is for her. Most likely Saturday, it will take a career effort for her."
A throng of onlookers, some wearing Rachel Alexandra T-shirts and caps, was on hand for the work, among them Barbara Banke, wife of Stonestreet Stable owner Jess Jackson.
"She did it so easily," said Banke. "It looks like she’s just loping along, and [later] you see how fast she did it."
Rachel Alexandra, who has not lost since November 29, 2008, is scheduled to school at Saratoga Thursday afternoon during the fifth race, a session which should be well-attended.
"I think she knows she’s a star," said Asmussen. "I think she accepts the pressure that’s put on her, and she thrives on it."
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