Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra Sharp in Five-Furlong Work at Churchill Downs

May 24, 2010 John Asher

RACHEL ALEXANDRA STRONG IN FIVE-FURLONG WORK — Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick’s reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra picked up the pace of her training on Monday with a sharp five-furlong workout at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Steve Asmussen’s 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro cruised through the distance over a “fast” track in 1:00.40, which was the second fastest move of 14 at the distance.  Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan was in the saddle as the 2009 Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) and Preakness (GI) winner covered the distance in fractional times of :12.20, :24.20, :36.20 and :48.40 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.80 and seven furlongs in 1:26.

“She looked great and galloped out super,” Asmussen said.  “She’s doing well.  It was just very nice.  It was nice and smooth, covered ground well and was out very strong.”

Asmussen said again that “all options are open” regarding the next start for Rachel Alexandra, who is winless in her only starts of 2010 following perfect eight-race campaign in her championship year.  She finished second to Zardana in the New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds, then lost by a head to Unrivaled Belle in the $400,000 La Troienne (GII) at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Oaks Day card on April 30.

Monday’s work was the third since her setback in the La Troienne, but was considerably quicker than those earlier efforts.  She had breezed furlongs in :52 over a fast track on May 10 and followed that with a five-furlong move over a sloppy track on May 17 in 1:04.20.

Among those on hand to observe the work was Barbara Banke, the wife of Stonestreet Farm's Jess Jackson.

Rachel Alexandra’s career record stands at 11-4-0 in 16 races in which she has earned $3,074,050.

BELMONT HOPE STATELY VICTOR SET FOR TUESDAY WORK – Thomas and Jack Conway’s Stately Victor, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass (GI) at Keeneland and eighth to Super Saver in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), is scheduled to prep on Tuesday at the Trackside Louisville training center for an expected start in the Belmont Stakes (GI) on June 5.

The Mike Maker-trained son of Ghostzapper is scheduled work at the Poplar Level Road facility at 6:20 a.m. (EDT).

EMMY DARLING PREPS FOR CHURCHILL’S WINNING COLORS – It was an active morning of training on the traditional dirt surface at Churchill Downs with notable works on Monday including a strong move by Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Emmy Darling.

An allowance winner earlier in the Churchill Downs meet, the John Sadler trainee tuned up for a run in the $100,000-added Winning Colors (GIII) on next Monday’s Memorial Day card with a six-furlong work in 1:12 under veteran jockey Larry Melancon.

Also working on Monday was Stonestreet Stables and Gulf Coast Farm’s Kensei, prepping for a run in the Metropolitan Handicap (GI) at Belmont Park, breezed four furlongs in :49.40 for Asmussen.  Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Title, who lost her rider during a mishap in Pimlico’s Black-Eyed Susan (GII), breezed four furlongs in :50.20 for trainer Dallas Stewart.  Westrock Stable’s Northern Giant, last of 12 behind Lookin At Lucky in the Preakness, breezed four furlongs in :49.60 for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Trainer David Carroll sent four-time Churchill Downs stakes winner Acoma out for a half-mile move in :48.60.  A winner on both dirt and turf at the Louisville track, Helen Alexander and Helen Groves’ 5-year-old daughter of Empire Maker will make her 2010 debut in the Early Times Mint Julep (GIII) on June 12.

 Turfiste fired the day’s “but” move at five furlongs as she worked the distance in a swift 1:00 – two ticks faster than Rachel Alexandra’s move.  Thiskyhasnolimit, the Asmussen-trained winner of the $100,000 Matt Winn in his 2010 bow, breezed four furlongs in 48.80.  War Echo breezed five furlongs in 1:01.80, while Selva cruised five furlongs in :50.40.    

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