Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra had her furthest workout this season Feb. 24 in advance of the March 13 New Orleans Ladies Stakes, breezing a business-like six furlongs in 1:14 over a fast main track at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots with regular exercise rider Dominic Terry aboard.
The 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro accomplished the time through fractions of :13, :25 1/5, :37 3/5, :49 4/5, and 1:02. A stout gallop-out around the clubhouse turn was caught by Fair Grounds clockers in :13, for a seven-furlong gallop-out time of 1:27.
Rachel Alexandra’s two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen, who observed from horseback, called the work “ideal” and “way easier” than her last move Feb. 18, when she went five furlongs, breezing, in 1:01 1/5, but was noticeably keen early on.
Asmussen said in a release that the Feb. 24 work was just what they were looking for as Rachel Alexandra prepares not only for the New Orleans Ladies, but also the Apple Blossom (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park April 9, where a date with champion older female Zenyatta would be worth a $5 million purse.
Rachel Alexandra and Terry stepped onto the track from the half-mile gap at 6:15 a.m., accompanied by assistant trainer Scott Blasi aboard his pony. Unlike past works when Rachel Alexandra would walk or jog “the wrong way,” clockwise, before starting her serious exercise, she took a right-hand turn onto the track and jogged around the far turn toward the finish line. Asmussen said that minor change was because Rachel was going further today.
“Got into it,” Asmussen said in a statement. “It’s time to do something.”
As with previous works, Blasi stayed with Rachel Alexandra aboard his pony through the stretch before sending the filly and Terry off approaching the clubhouse turn. Rachel worked from the three-quarters pole to the finish line.
Asmussen complimented Terry’s execution of the Feb. 24 plan, and the exercise rider could be seen smiling as Rachel Alexandra pulled up on the backstretch.
“Dom split off ‘the right way’ with her, galloped her around the pole, and let her work,” Asmussen said. “Dom did it to a ‘T’ and if I wanted something different I should have asked him."