A field of only four or five opponents is shaping up to face Golden Rod (gr. II) winner Rachel Alexandra in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), which is scheduled for March 14 at Fair Grounds.
The Hal Wiggins-trained Rachel Alexandra scored a dominant eight-length victory in Oaklawn Park’s Martha Washington in the first outing of her 3-year-old season. She is expected to be one of the favorites in next week’s Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool, which is scheduled for March 12-15.
Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen saddled the top two finishers in the recent Silverbulletday (gr. III) at Fair Grounds in War Echo and Four Gifts, but the winner has since moved to the sidelines with an injury. Asmussen expects to run Four Gifts in the Fair Grounds Oaks, and could enter Hightap in the race.
Flying Spur and War Tigress are also expected to run, while trainer Ken McPeek has indicated that he could send either Our Dahlia, Striking Dancer or Best Lass to New Orleans for the race.
In Florida, Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) winner Laragh started a journey toward the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) with a three-furlong work earlier this week at Palm Meadows training center. She covered the distance in :36.45 for trainer John Terranova.
Terranova said there is no definite target for the first start of the year for the filly, who finished third to Maram in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
“She looks great,” said Terranova. “Our main goal is the Kentucky Oaks, so a race like the Ashland (at Keeneland) could be a good spot to bring her back."