02/13/2014 7:05PM

Fair Grounds: Rachel Alexandra's full sister to debut Sunday

Keeneland photo
Samantha Nicole sold for $700,000 to Stonestreet Stables at the 2012 Keeneland November auction.

NEW ORLEANS – The card Sunday at the Fair Grounds lacks high-level races, but trainer Steve Asmussen will be involved in two rather interesting ones.

In the fourth race, Asmussen will send out Samantha Nicole, a full sister of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, in a maiden race for 3-year-old fillies running a mile and 70 yards.

Rosie Napravnik has the mount on Samantha Nicole, who’ll be making her career debut. She’ll break from post 5 in a field of six.

A daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and the Roar mare Lotta Kim, Samantha Nicole was bred by Dolphus Morrison and is owned by Stonestreet Stable.

After Rachel Alexandra won the Kentucky Oaks in 2009, Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stable and Harold McCormick purchased her from Morrison, who bred her, and Mike Lauffer. Asmussen took over as her trainer from Hal Wiggins. Rachel Alexandra won the Preakness in her first start for her new connections.

Jackson died in 2011, and Barbara Banke, his widow, took over Stonestreet. In 2012, Stonestreet purchased Samantha Nicole for $700,000 at the Keeneland November sale.

Samantha Nicole has worked nine times at the Fair Grounds – six five-furlong works and three half-mile works.

Rachel Alexandra, who won 13 of 19 starts, lost in her debut. She finished sixth in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint for 2-year-old maiden fillies on May 22, 2008, at Churchill Downs.

In the eighth race, Big Sugar Soda, who finished third in the Grade 2 Futurity last year at Belmont Park, appears well spotted by Asmussen in a first-level optional claiming sprint for 3-year-olds. The six-furlong race drew seven 3-year-olds.

Big Sugar Soda will be making his second start this year.

On Jan. 11, he finished third at the same class level as Sunday’s race, 5 1/2 lengths behind winner Kendall’s Boy. Big Soda Sugar has worked three times since then.

The Fair Grounds card begins at 1:25 p.m. Central.