'Earnest' Discussions on Rachel's Next Start

(Edited NYRA release)

Rachel Alexandra breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.37 on a foggy Monday morning on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Race Course, after which trainer Steve Asmussen said discussions would begin "in earnest" on where the filly would make her next start.

Owned by Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick, Rachel Alexandra is nominated to four grade I races at Saratoga -- two against females and two against males: the $600,000 Alabama for 3-year-old fillies Aug. 22, the $1 million Shadwell Travers against 3-year-old colts and geldings on Aug. 29, the $400,000 Personal Ensign against fillies and mares on Aug. 30, and the $500,000 Woodward against older males on Sept. 5.

"There are no races eliminated," said Asmussen, who will also nominate the filly, who is 7-for-7 this year, to the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) on Sept. 7. "I will text (message) Jess as to how the work went, he’ll call me, and we’ll discuss what we’re going to do. We’ll digest where we’re at and try to do the best thing for Rachel."

With exercise rider Dominic Terry aboard, Rachel Alexandra went to the track shortly before 6 a.m. for the work, the fastest of 18 at the distance. Watching through the mist, along with dozens of fans and members of the media, was her regular jockey, Calvin Borel, who stood with Asmussen along the rail.

"She looked beautiful coming down the lane," said Asmussen. "I saw her approaching the eighth pole and past the wire down to the turn. And the words (that) came out of Dominic’s mouth: ‘Never better.’"

If she does not run in Saturday’s 1¼-mile Alabama, said Asmussen, Rachel Alexandra will work again next week, also on the training track.

"There are no plans to work her on the main track," said the trainer. "She won at Monmouth Park (Haskell Invitational) training here and for the Mother Goose (at Belmont Park) training here."