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Fair Grounds Resident Rachel Alexandra Up for Horse of the Year Monday

Superstar filly Rachel Alexandra, undefeated in eight starts as a 3-year-old including an unforgettable win in the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks, could be named Horse of the Year at the annual Eclipse Awards ceremony Monday night in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Currently stabled at Fair Grounds in trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn, Stonestreet Stables’ Rachel Alexandra is one of two finalists for the Horse of the Year honor, along with older mare Zenyatta, who won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park in November to remain undefeated in her own storied career.

ESPN NEWS (Cox Cable channel 36 in New Orleans) will cut in for a live broadcast of the Horse of the Year announcement on Monday night and live coverage of the entire event will air on Television Games Network (TVG, Cox Cable channel 326) as well as many Fox Sports Net affiliates.

The award for Horse of the Year will be announced at about 9:30 p.m. CST.

Rachel Alexandra’s 2009 campaign took off when she easily won the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks. Seven weeks later she became the fourth of the last five Fair Grounds Oaks winners to also win the Grade I Kentucky Oaks, racing’s most prestigious event for 3-year-old fillies. Rachel Alexandra also scored in the Preakness Stakes, middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, and two Grade I events against older males.

Rachel Alexandra has not raced since a hard-fought victory in the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga in September. She arrived at Fair Grounds on Nov. 27 and has been in light training since, jogging one mile and galloping one mile on an almost daily basis, weather and track conditions permitting.

Rachel Alexandra will increase her gallops to a mile and a half beginning Monday, according to assistant trainer Scott Blasi, as she continues to build up to and official breeze “the last week of January or the first week of February.”

An announcement Saturday that Zenyatta will not retire has left the door open for what could be a historic meeting between the two Eclipse Award finalists.