With jockey Shaun Bridgmohan in the irons, reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra continued preparations for the Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, breezing a strong six furlongs in 1:12.96 shortly after 6 a.m. over the Oklahoma training track the morning of Aug. 9.
“I thought it was very good,” said trainer Steve Asmussen of the move, the second of four scheduled for Rachel leading up to the 1 1/4-mile Personal Ensign Aug. 29. “Shaun did a great job with her," he added in a statement. "She was very strong to the pole, broke off at the three-quarters. Her first eighth of a mile was excellent, to get her to settle down. She came home the last quarter in :23 and change, which is what we were looking at, and galloped out strong.”
The Personal Ensign will be Rachel Alexandra’s first start at 1 1/4 miles, and also her first start in a grade 1 race this year. With a record of 2-2-0 from four starts as a 4-year-old, the Stonestreet Stables color-bearer finished second in the New Orleans Ladies and the La Troienne (gr. II), and won her last two starts, the Fleur de Lis (gr. II) and the Lady’s Secret.
In the Personal Ensign, Rachel will be returning to the site of one of her most thrilling victories. Last year at Saratoga, she completed a perfect 8-for-8 season with a historic win over older males and became the first filly to win the Woodward (gr. I).
Fans of Rachel Alexandra can follow the 4-year-old filly as she readies for the Personal Ensign on her website, Rachel’s Sandbox.