Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra was back at work Wednesday morning at Fair Grounds, where she breezed six furlongs in 1:14, her longest work of 2010, and another significant step toward her intended comeback race on March 13 in New Orleans.
On a drizzly, chill morning, but over a track rated "fast," Rachel Alexandra was put through her paces in a solo drill under regular exercise rider Dominic Terry. Her work was one of only two six-furlong drills recorded Wednesday, and was more than three seconds faster than the other such work. The Fair Grounds track surface produced tepid times throughout the morning: The fastest half-mile work of the day was 48.20 seconds, with the average work somewhere around 50 seconds.
Trainer Steve Asmussen described the work as "super," and said Rachel Alexandra worked in a more settled manner than she had last Thursday. That morning, Rachel was headstrong breaking off for her breeze, and she finished at a slower pace than the one at which she had begun. Thursday, Rachel's opening furlong was timed in 13 seconds, and she clicked off splits of 25.20 for her first quarter, 37.60 for three furlongs, 49.80 for a half-mile, and 1:02 for five furlongs. Track clockers caught Rachel galloping out seven furlongs in 1:27.
"She went off the right way today, and Dominic did a great job with her," said Asmussen. "I think this was a lot smoother work, a lot easier on her. She was a lot more aggressive from the pole last week; this was much smoother from the pole."
Rachel Alexandra now has posted five timed workouts in preparation for her seasonal debut next month, the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies, a prep for the Apple Blossom Invitational on April 9 at Oaklawn. Asmussen plans to work her an even stronger six furlongs on Tuesday morning before coming back with an easier drill the Monday before she starts in New Orleans.
Rachel Alexandra hasn't raced since winning the Woodward Stakes on Sept. 5 at Saratoga. She won all eight of her starts in 2009, capturing five straight Grade 1 stakes at five different venues to finish off her campaign.