03/09/2010 12:00AM

All systems go following Rachel's final work


Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra came out of her Monday workout at Fair Grounds in fine shape and walked trainer Steve Asmussen's shed row on Tuesday morning.

"She walked the barn," said Asmussen. "She's happy. We're happy."

The day of rest came after Rachel Alexandra worked a half-mile in 49 seconds Monday. It was her seventh work since Jan. 31, and her final serious exercise before she makes her first start in six months in Saturday's $200,000 New Orleans Ladies. Rachel Alexandra has not started since beating males in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Sept. 5.

The inaugural running of the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies has drawn only four opponents for Rachel Alexandra. She will break from post 2, between the two quickest horses in the five-horse field, the California shipper Zardana in post 3 and Fighter Wing, who drew the rail.

The 1 1/16-mile race was created in hopes that Rachel Alexandra would begin her 4-year-old campaign at the Fair Grounds, where she has been headquartered since the end of November.

The New Orleans Ladies is being used to prepare Rachel Alexandra for the April 9 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park and her highly anticipated meeting with the undefeated Zenyatta.