Reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra is targeting Friday’s Grade II, $400,000-added La Troienne Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks (GI) undercard at Churchill Downs for her next start, majority owner Jess Jackson said by phone Saturday.
The La Troienne, formerly known as the Louisville Stakes, is a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up. It was on the same racing program in 2009 that Rachel Alexandra scored a record-smashing 20 ¼-length victory in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks.
“Right now we’re pointing there,” Jackson said. “We’d like it to be. Her workout Monday will tell us a lot more. It’ll be light; it’s not going to be a bullet. We want to see that she stays on track and improves every time she goes out and that’s what’s been happening the last two or three times. She’s getting ready.”
Jackson expressed his pleasure with Rachel Alexandra’s progress since her arrival at Churchill Downs from Fair Grounds, the New Orleans track where she finished second to Zardana in her 2010 debut in the New Orleans Ladies.
“She’s happy at Churchill,” Jackson said. “Lexington is her home, but Churchill is her favorite track and she’s surely giving us every sign of being ready to run. She’s going to need another race before she really defines herself the way she did early last year but I think she’s 85 percent to 90, maybe 95, right now.”
Rachel Alexandra galloped 1 ½ miles Saturday morning, according to Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. Regular exercise rider Dominic Terry was aboard.
“It was a very aggressive gallop,” said Blasi, who accompanied Rachel Alexandra to the track aboard his pony.
The 4-year-old filly came onto the sloppy main track with the second set of horses from Asmussen’s barn, as per her usual routine, at about 6:15 a.m. (EDT).
Entries for the La Troienne and other races on Friday’s Kentucky Oaks program will be taken on Tuesday, April 27.
Rachel Alexandra, 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, will bring a career record of 11-3-0 in 15 races with earnings of $2,988,354.