Brisnet Handicappers Edge Fair Grounds notes 2/20/10.
Rachel Alexandra turns in sharp five-furlong breeze
Rachel Alexandra has three more scheduled works before the March 13 Ladies Classic (Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography)
Horse of the Year RACHEL ALEXANDRA (Medaglia d'Oro) continued to work forwardly Thursday morning in advance of the March 13 New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds, breezing five furlongs on a fast main track in 1:00 1/5 with regular exercise rider Dominic Terry aboard. The four-year-old filly broke off rather keen from the five-eighths pole but settled into herself around the far turn, working through fractions of :12, :23 4/5, :35 3/5 and :47 3/5. The final time made it the second-fastest five-furlong move of 19 on the morning.
"I think we've got a little Goldilocks going on," trainer Steve Asmussen said after the work, referring to the young girl in the fairy tale who needs a few tries to find the middle ground that is just right. "The racetrack was wet last week, and a little slow, and we were being careful. I thought she was overly aggressive today, a little quick, so hopefully we'll level off."
In her previous work last Friday, Rachel Alexandra breezed five furlongs in 1:03 4/5 over a sloppy track on a wet morning when only one other horse recorded a timed workout.
"I think with not letting her do too much last week it made her very keen," Asmussen said. "I think she wants to be in a rhythm. Hopefully the weather will be as good as it was this morning and fairly consistent, and then I think we'll be exactly where we want to be. She was just very aggressive all week and worked good today. She was off strong. From a timing standpoint there's still time to get exactly where want to be."
Rachel Alexandra continues to move forward in advance of her four-year-old bow (Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography)
Rachel Alexandra has breezed every six days since her first workout of the calendar year on January 31. If that pattern continues, she will have three more official works before the New Orleans Ladies, a $200,000 race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Twenty-seven days after that, on April 9, Rachel Alexandra plans to meet champion older mare Zenyatta for what would be a $5 million purse in the Apple Blossom (G1) at Oaklawn Park.
As per her usual routine, Rachel Alexandra came to the track with Asmussen's second set of horses, entering from the half-mile gap at 6:40 a.m. (CDT), accompanied by assistant trainer Scott Blasi astride his pony. Asmussen also was on horseback to observe the work.
Rachel Alexandra and Terry, along with Blasi and his pony, backtracked more than a half-mile "the wrong way," clockwise, past the eighth-pole in the Fair Grounds stretch. Turning back with the traffic, Blasi stayed with Rachel Alexandra and Terry before sending them on their way near the finish line. Filly and exercise rider galloped into the backstretch before Terry picked up the pace coming to the five-eighths marker.
Rachel Alexandra worked to the finish line before galloping out an extra one-eighth of a mile in :14 1/5 for a six-furlong gallop-out time of 1:14 2/5.
A full field of 12 will travel 1 1/16 miles on the Fair Grounds dirt in Saturday's $300,000 Risen Star S. (G2) and we'll side with Champagne S. (G1) runner-up DISCREETLY MINE (Mineshaft). A runaway winner in his third career try, the well-bred bay finished second in both the Futurity S. (G2) and Champagne prior to a troubled fourth in the six-furlong Spectacular Bid S. in his three-year-old bow. The swift colt should be forwardly placed throughout under Javier Castellano.
DROSSELMEYER (Distorted Humor) looked the part in posting a lifetime best 105 BRIS Speed figure in an allowance win at Gulfstream Park most recently and could take this race with any improvement. The well-bred chestnut has never finished worse than third in his career and is well liked by his pilot, Kent Desormeaux. We have a fear that the he'll be overbet in here and is worth taking a stand against in his graded debut.
Lecomte S. (G3) third LETSGETITONMON (Maria's Mon) has posted 112 and 113 BRIS Late Pace numbers in his two local tries for Steve Asmussen, showing much improved form since switching to the dirt. The rising gray has little early foot and will likely need a strong pace to help set up his rally, but we feel inclined to use him in the exotics at a fair price. Shaun Bridgmohan has the assignment.
TEMPTED TO TAPIT (Tapit) added blinkers for his last and rolled home an 11 1/2-length maiden winner for trainer Steve Klesaris, earning a whopping 103 BRIS Speed number in the process. The gelded gray has improved with each start and wouldn't totally surprise us in here, but the fact that his latest came in the mud over an oval that can be especially speed favoring at times leads us elsewhere. We will toss the Kentucky-bred in the multi-race tickets, though.
HOTEP (A.P. Indy) was done no favors by drawing widest of all in here for trainer Mark Frostad, but we'll still give the bay consideration under Robby Albarado. A maiden winner at first asking, the well-bred bay has trained well in advance of this, is seemingly improving with every start and has enough tactical speed to be within reach turning for home. STAY PUT (Broken Vow) has won two in succession, earning 101 and 114 BRIS Late Pace figures, for conditioner Steve Margolis. The Kentucky-bred colt is devoid of early speed and will likely have to weave his way through numerous horses in the lane, so we'll keep him on the bottom in the gimmicks.
RANDOM MOVE (Empire Maker) dropped into the maiden claiming ranks last out and responded with a 2 1/4-length win, while being claimed in the process. The bay is bred to run all day and has improved his BRIS Speed numbers with every start, but we'll look elsewhere. MOUNTAIN JUSTICE (Afleet Alex) will make his dirt debut in here for conditioner Andrew McKeever, and while we don't think he's an automatic toss in this test, we're not backing him. NORTHERN GIANT (Giant's Causeway) romped by 11 1/4-lengths in his recent maiden but looks like he needs more time to develop in order to win a race of this nature. The blue-blooded WORLDLY (A.P. Indy) was an even fifth in the Lecomte last out and will likely need a career showing to make a big challenge against this group.
Lecomte upsetter RON THE GREEK (Full Mandate) is another one-run closer in a field full of them and we're taking a stand against the bay colt, who fired a bullet six furlongs in advance of this start. BRAVO WHISKEY (Smart Strike) impressed with a six-length debut win for trainer Neil Howard, but the chestnut has failed to hit the board in two subsequent efforts. The sophomore is bred to run long and he is capable of improvement, but picking him in this one seems like a stretch.
Although we were mystified by the lackluster effort turned in by QUIET TEMPER (Quiet American) in the January 23 Tiffany Lass S. at Fair Grounds, we'll look for her to rebound in Saturday's $150,000 Silverbulletday S. (G3) back at the historic New Orleans oval. At her best, the Dale Romans filly rates a slight edge over DEVIL MAY CARE (Malibu Moon), on account of her abundant experience going two turns, her recency advantage, and her likely better odds.
Quiet Temper finished runner-up in three tough maiden races going one turn, but really blossomed when stretching out in the Delta Princess S. (G3). Making her two-turn debut in that spot, the well-bred bay simply demolished the field by 7 3/4 lengths. Almost exactly one month later, Quiet Temper toyed with her opponents in a January 3 allowance/optional claimer at Fair Grounds, defeating subsequent Tiffany Lass runner-up BELLA MEDAGLIA (Medaglia d'Oro) while still in a canter. We never saw that Quiet Temper in the Tiffany Lass. Perhaps she didn't get enough out of that effortless score in her previous start; conversely, maybe she didn't thrive on the three-week turnaround; or possibly she just had a bad day at the office when fading to a poor fifth. Robby Albarado is sticking with Quiet Temper here, and so will we. The bay figures to save ground from her rail post before kicking on strongly for home.
Frizette S. (G1) heroine Devil May Care has long been highly regarded by trainer Todd Pletcher. A half-sister to U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) and Super Derby (G2) hero Regal Ransom (Distorted Humor), the bay should have no difficulty with the 1 1/16-mile trip in theory. In practice, however, she could be vulnerable in making her first start off a three-month layoff at this distance, especially down the lengthy Fair Grounds stretch. Indeed, Devil May Care showed plenty of speed en route to her 4 3/4-length debut maiden score sprinting at Saratoga, and she just held on by a diminishing head in the Frizette over Belmont's one-turn mile. She tried two turns, and synthetic, for the first time in the November 6 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita, where she lagged uncharacteristically farther off the pace, was steadied in traffic in midstretch, and checked in 11th. We strongly suspect that Devil May Care will prefer being back on dirt here, and we respect her as a long-term Kentucky Oaks (G1) prospect, but will try to beat her off the shelf with new rider Javier Castellano.
AGE OF HUMOR (Distorted Humor) already owns a stakes victory over two turns, accomplished in wire-to-wire fashion in the January 9 Busanda S. at Aqueduct. Since then, she has been sold for $350,000 at Keeneland January and transferred to Mike Maker. Age of Humor has been training sharply for her new conditioner, including a bullet five furlongs at Gulfstream Park last Sunday, and we like the fact that Kent Desormeaux takes the call. While the Silverbulletday is her stiffest test of class to date, note that her Aqueduct form was flattered when Busanda runner-up Fuzzy Britches (Pollard's Vision) came back to capture the Dearly Precious S. Age of Humor has the look of a very live longshot at 15-1 on the morning line.
Bella Medaglia is a hard-trying filly who impressed us with her never-say-die attitude versus Quiet Temper two back. The Glenn Delahoussaye trainee once again ran her heart out when second in the Tiffany Lass, beaten all of a half-length by JODY SLEW (Slew City Slew). Bella Medaglia deserves respect for having finished in the top two in all four of her starts, but things are going to get tougher from this point forward. Jody Slew upset the Tiffany Lass at 23-1 in her first start for the Bret Calhoun barn. Little in her past performances would have suggested that she was capable of springing such a surprise, although she did turn in a solid third-place effort in the grassy Caressing H. in her only prior attempt at two turns. We suspect that Jody Slew benefited from a hot pace in the Tiffany Lass, and unless a similar meltdown occurs Saturday, she'll be hard pressed to duplicate that performance.
ELUSIVE JOZI (Johannesburg) weakened to fourth after rattling off those testing early fractions in the Tiffany Lass. The Ralph Nicks pupil might fare better with a stalking trip, but with her speed-laden pedigree, we don't see how the extra yardage of the Silverbulletday helps her cause. THE RUMOR'S TRUE (Kafwain) is a three-time stakes winner against lesser, notably in the 1 1/16-mile Happy Ticket S. that had been rained off the turf at Louisiana Downs last September. She has kept mostly to Louisiana-bred company ever since, and the one time she did venture outside of its friendly confines, she was far up the track behind Quiet Temper in the Delta Princess.
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