Tuesday, May 12, 2009

'Rachel' Works Sharply, No Decision Yet

Possible Preakness (gr. I) candidate Rachel Alexandra, a record-smashing 20 1/4-length winner of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), tuned up for a possible bid in the second leg of the Triple Crown with an easy four-furlong work on May 10 at Churchill Downs.

The 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro , working for the first time for new trainer Steve Asmussen, covered the half-mile distance over a fast track in :48.40. Exercise rider Dominic Terry was in the saddle as Rachel Alexandra turned out fractional times of :12.40 and :24.40 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02. The move ranked 13th among 81 works at the distance.

“I thought it went beautiful,” Asmussen said. “I’m surprised the racetrack dried out so well considering they cancelled (races) two days ago.

“She’s a beautiful filly. I think she’s doing extremely well. Every sight of her has been impressive and I’m just very happy to get this light move in this morning under very good conditions.”

Rachel Alexandra was transferred from the care of trainer Hal Wiggins to Asmussen when the filly was purchased for an undisclosed price early last week by Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Farm and Harold McCormick. Jackson had indicated that the filly would be made a supplemental entry to the Preakness if she continued to do well in her new barn. But Asmussen said a decision on Rachel Alexandra’s Preakenss bid had yet to be made.

“That’s Mr. Jackson’s discretion – whatever timetable he wants to be on,” said Asmussen. “We’re just very fortunate to have her in our care and we’ll just communicate what we think we’re seeing. The filly has proven what a tremendous mare she is. Mr. Wiggins has done a remarkable job with an amazing filly and we’re just very fortunate to be around her.”

Rachel Alexandra’s win in the Kentucky Oaks was her fifth consecutive victory – all in stakes competition – and lifted her career earnings to $958,354. Her career record stands at 7-2-0 in 10 races.

In other Preakness news, unbeaten Derby Trial (gr. III) winner Hull tuned up for a possible run with a sharp five furlong work over a fast track at Churchill.

Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, Team Valor International and Gary Barber’s 3-year-old son of 1994 Horse of the Year Holy Bull covered the distance in :59.40. Jockey Miguel Mena was aboard for the bullet move that was the best of 35 at the distance.

The Dale Romans-trained colt covered the distance in fractions of :23.20 and :35.20 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.80.

“He worked really good – I had him in :59-flat,” Romans said. “It looked like he was doing it easy.”

Romans said there’s no final decision at this point on whether Hull will run in second the Preakness, which is on May 16 at Pimlico. He said the status of Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra, who could be made a supplemental entry to the race, would be part of the discussion.

“It makes it a tougher decision to go,” Romans said. “We’re going to sit down and talk about it on Tuesday and see if we want to go up there and run against her. Right now, I think we’re still gonna go, but we’ll see what happens. She changes the dynamics of the whole race.”

Hull figures to be prominent from the start if he runs in the Preakness, but Romans said Rachel Alexandra would figure to be close by at all points of the race.

“She’s true speed that keeps on going,” he said. “She’s real quality. I don’t know it’s going to be (good) for a filly to come back in two weeks – I think it’s harder for the fillies than it is for the colts. But I’m sure if Steve (Asmussen) takes her over there, then she’s ready to go.”

Adele Dilschneider’s Terrain also tuned up for a probable run in the Preakness by working five furlongs in company with Map of the World in 1:02.60, 19th fastest of 35 at the distance.

With jockey Jamie Theriot up, Terrain broke off about two lengths behind Map of the World with Julien Leparoux up. Terrain drew even at the eighth pole and finished on even terms.

“I had worked a few horses earlier in the morning and the track was fast. I didn’t want any lights out work,” trainer Al Stall Jr. said. “He is ready to run. He got dialed in today. I told Jamie just to sit behind him and when he chirped to him, he was right on him and they finished heads up. Jamie was happy with him.”

Stall has not named a rider for Terrain for the Preakness.

Copyright © 2009 Blood-Horse Publications. All rights reserved internationally.

No comments:

Thoroughbred News | BloodHorse.com