Rachel Alexandra Odds-On in Fair Grounds Oaks
NEW ORLEANS, La. (March 9, 2009) - L and M Partners' Rachel Alexandra looms as the 4-5 morning line choice when facing five rivals in the 43rd running of the $400,000 Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Fair Grounds.
Rachel Alexandra, who first garnered national attention as a 2-year-old filly with her front-running 4 3/4-length victory in the Grade II Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs Nov. 29, bold-faced those credentials with a facile eight-length tally in the Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 15 at Oaklawn Park.
Bred in Kentucky by Dolphus Morrison, one of the owners in Rachel Alexandra's partnership, the precocious female superstar is a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro out of the Roar mare Lotta Kim, who won the Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds in 2004.
In the Martha Washington, Rachel Alexandra prompted the pace before taking command entering the lane and drew off the rest of the way.
Rachel Alexandra, trained by veteran conditioner Hal Wiggins, breezed a half-mile at Oaklawn on Sunday in 49.20.
Louisiana native Calvin Borel, who piloted Street Sense to victory in the 2007 Kentucky Derby, will journey from his longtime winter headquarters in Arkansas to ride Rachel Alexandra in the Oaks.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Four Gifts, runner-up in the Grade III Silverbulletday Stakes here last month, is the strong 5-2 second choice in the morning line.
Conditioned by Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen, Four Gifts was also third in the Tiffany Lass Stakes Jan. 10 and won the Grade III Delta Princess Dec. 5 at Delta Downs.
Six-time Fair Grounds leading rider Robby Albarado, who despite his many local accolades has never won a Fair Grounds Oaks, is named to ride Four Gifts, who breezed a half-mile in 50.20 here Monday.
Three of the last four winners of the Fair Grounds Oaks have gone on to capture the Kentucky Oaks, including 2008 winner Proud Spell, who used the Fair Grounds Oaks as a springboard to an Eclipse Award-winning campaign.
From the rail out, with jockeys and morning line odds, the Fair Grounds Oaks field consists of Our Dahlia, Kent Desormeaux, 10-1; Four Gifts, Albarado, 5-2; Rachel Alexandra, Borel, 4-5; African Skies, Edgar Prado, 6-1; Flying Spur, Patrick Valenzuela, 12-1; and War Tigress, James Graham, 10-1.
First post on Saturday is 12:35 p.m. CDT. The Oaks is the sixth race on a 12-race program and kicks off an all-graded stakes Pick 4 with a $100,000 guaranteed pool. In total, there are six stakes on Louisiana Derby Day presented by Budweiser.
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation's third-oldest Thoroughbred racing facility, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and nine off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. Fair Grounds' 137th Thoroughbred season will run from Nov. 14, 2008, through March 29, 2009, and its inaugural Quarter Horse meet was conducted from Aug. 20-24, 2008. Information about Fair Grounds can be found on the Internet at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.