06/13/2010 11:00PM

Connections plan Rachel's route to BC


Rachel Alexandra emerged from her easy victory in the Fleur de Lis Handicap in good shape, while the connections of the 2009 Horse of the Year mull her next start en route to their stated long-term goal, the Nov. 5-6 Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by Calvin Borel, Rachel Alexandra won the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis on Saturday at Churchill by 10 1/2 lengths, her first victory after starting the season with back-to-back losses.

"It was a very humid, oppressive type of afternoon," said Steve Asmussen, who trains the 4-year-old Rachel Alexandra for the Stonestreet Stables of Jess Jackson and partner Harold McCormick. "We ll see if she shows any residual effect from the weather when she goes back to the track."

Rachel Alexandra was not put to an all-out drive when she finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.72, earning a 108 Beyer Speed Figure. By contrast, Blame won the Stephen Foster Handicap later in the day with a scorching stretch run, going in 1:49.37 and getting a 102 Beyer.

Jackson waited until the day of entry to reveal that Rachel Alexandra would run in the Fleur de Lis. No announcement on her next race has been made, although obvious options are the Grade 1 filly-and-mare races at Saratoga the Aug. 1 Ruffian Handicap and/or the Aug. 29 Personal Ensign.

Asmussen typically ships his best horses from Churchill to Saratoga about a week to 10 days before the meet starts. Opening day at Saratoga is July 23.

Standard procedure for Asmussen is to work his best horses nine days after a race, meaning Rachel Alexandra would work at Churchill next Monday.