Majority owner Jess Jackson told Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots officials Rachel Alexandra is being pointed toward the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles March 13.
“That is our intended goal,” Jackson said Feb. 11. “I believe she’s on schedule, and she’ll get the prep race before she goes on to Oaklawn. There are other tracks that have offered to have us go, but right now we’d rather stay here.”
Jackson earlier in the day said he has agreed to run Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the $5-million Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I), which Oaklawn Park agree to move from April 3 to April 9. It appears the six extra days have made a difference. Zenyatta also is expected for that event.
Rachel Alexandra is stabled at Fair Grounds with trainer Steve Asmussen.
“We’re obviously thrilled by the news that Rachel Alexandra, already a legend based on her accomplishments last year, intends to make her 2010 debut at Fair Grounds,” Fair Grounds vice president and general manager Eric Halstrom said in a statement. “We are already working to make sure March 13 will be a special day befitting of racing royalty.”
“I’d really like to have more than just nominal competition in the race,” Jackson said. “Assuming it’s a fair race, I don’t expect Rachel to have any trouble, but at the same time, regardless of whether they’re superstars or not, it embellishes the track’s reputation and Rachel’s reputation to have the best possible competition.”
On the morning of Feb. 12, the five-time grade I winner turned in her third work since returning to training this year. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro went five furlongs over the sloppy Fair Grounds strip and was clocked at 1:03.80 with exercise rider Dominic Terry aboard. Rain and significant wind were present during the drill.
“We worked a couple of horses Thursday and the track was sealed very well, so we went ahead with her work this morning,” said Scott Blasi, assistant to Asmussen. “She galloped out well. We wanted to keep her in her rhythm. We wanted to stay in our routine. I was very happy with how she was moving.”