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Rachel Alexandra Works Four Furlongs in :50 3/5
Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra breezed four furlongs Saturday morning in :50 3/5 and galloped out five-eighths of a mile in 1:04, according to Fair Grounds clockers. Regular exercise rider Dominic Terry was aboard the 4-year-old filly, who was accompanied to the track by assistant trainer Scott Blasi on his pony while trainer Steve Asmussen also kept a watchful eye out from horseback.
Rachel Alexandra entered the track from the half-mile gap at 6:31 a.m. Following the same routine as in her first official work of the year on Sunday, she backtracked more than a half-mile “the wrong way,” clockwise, into the Fair Grounds stretch. Turning back with the traffic, Rachel Alexandra galloped a few paths toward the center of the track into the backstretch before Terry eased her to the rail and picked up speed approaching the half-mile marker.
Rachel Alexandra worked to the finish line before galloping out the extra one-eighth of a mile in an easy :13 2/5. She continued to jog down the backstretch to the start of the far turn and playfully reared up twice after being rejoined by Blasi and his pony to lead her off the track.
“She’s very special,” said Asmussen back at his barn shortly afterward. “I thought she looked beautiful. She went :50 3/5 today off of her :52 the other day. I think that’s pretty much the progression that we’re expecting.”
Asked whether Rachel Alexandra could be ready for a race in the next two months, Asmussen reiterated that they would “do what’s right by her.” This morning’s work, he said, was simply “the next step in the process.”
Rachel Alexandra established herself as one of the all-time great fillies last year with historic wins in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks and Grade I Preakness Stakes, as well as six other stakes races, including the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks. Her three Grade I victories against male horses—in the Preakness, the Haskell Invitational and the Woodward—helped to establish a new standard for excellence by a female racehorse in the modern era.