'Rachel' has first work since Haskell

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- A decision on where leading Horse of the Year contender Rachel Alexandra will make her next start won't be announced for at least another week. On Tuesday, however, the superstar filly gave an early indication that she will be ready to run whenever and wherever owner Jess Jackson and trainer Steve Asmussen wish.

In her first work since defeating the boys in the $1.25 million Haskell Invitational on Aug. 2, Rachel Alexandra worked four furlongs in 50.72 seconds Tuesday over the Oklahoma training track. Under regular exercise rider Dominic Terry, Rachel Alexandra went her first quarter in 26.22 seconds and her last quarter in 24.50 while galloping out five furlongs in 1:04.47 and pulling up six furlongs in 1:20.18.

"I was very pleased, she went great as usual, she gave me goose bumps just like she does every week," Terry said.

Terry said Rachel Alexandra's energy level was "higher than normal. She went real smooth, galloped out really strong, better than ever, really. I say that same thing every week, but honestly she gets better every week."

Trainer Steve Asmussen reiterated that Rachel Alexandra would be nominated to four races at Saratoga -- the $600,000 Alabama on Aug. 22, the $1 million Travers on Aug. 29, the $300,000 Personal Ensign on Aug. 30, and the $500,000 Woodward on Sept. 5 - and the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 7.

Asmussen did indicate that part of the decision on where Rachel Alexandra runs will be predicated on where he and Jackson opt to run Kensei, the Jim Dandy winner, who will also be nominated to the Travers, Woodward, and Pennsylvania Derby.

Both Rachel Alexandra and Kensei are scheduled to work next Monday and a decision could be made soon after those moves are evaluated.

Asmussen said that in discussions he has had with Jackson, he is led to believe that Rachel Alexandra and Kensi will not run in the same race.

Rachel Alexandra worked at 6 a.m. on the Oklahoma track with an ever-growing legion of fans and media following her from the barn to the track. Conditions Tuesday morning were cloudy and humid, but dry as forecasted showers never materialized.

"I thought the weather was the big concern this morning," Asmussen said. "She's looked beautiful all week. I feel very good about where she's at."