02/03/2009 12:00AM

Old Fashioned arrives for Southwest


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Old Fashioned rolled into the Oaklawn Park backstretch at 1:55 p.m. Tuesday, and Rachel Alexandra had a significant work here Sunday, signs that the track's first two major stakes for 3-year-olds are right around the corner.

Old Fashioned, an early favorite for the Kentucky Derby, is targeting the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest on Feb. 16. Rachel Alexandra, one of the top candidates for the Kentucky Oaks, put in a five-furlong drill in preparation for the $50,000 Martha Washington on Feb. 15.

Old Fashioned vanned up from New Orleans, with his trainer, Larry Jones, at the wheel. The horse's arrival was delayed a day, mostly because of some wet roads in Louisiana on Monday.

"He's precious cargo," said Jones, who wanted the best travel conditions possible for the nine-hour haul to Hot Springs.

Old Fashioned could have a breeze here Thursday, depending on the weather, Jones said.

Rick Porter, who owns the undefeated horse, said that Ramon Dominguez has the mount for the Southwest. Dominguez rode Old Fashioned to victory in the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct in his last start Nov. 29.

Stiff work for Rachel Alexandra

On Sunday morning, trainer Hal Wiggins put a strong mile into Rachel Alexandra, beginning with a quick-paced gallop that led into a five-furlong work. Clockers timed the filly, who was ridden by exercise rider Rudy Gallegos Jr., in 1:04.20. The purpose of the exercise was to help Wiggins gauge where he stands fitness-wise with Rachel Alexandra, who next weekend will be making her first start since her Nov. 29 win in the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill.

"It needed to be a little serious type of work, and that's what it was," Wiggins said. "It was just what we wanted and just what she needed."

Rachel Alexandra came onto the track at 7:15 a.m. Sunday, with temperatures in the high 40s. She loosened up by backtracking to the eighth pole, then turned around and began to gallop at a little faster than a two-minute mile pace passing the finish line the first time. Rachel Alexandra then started her work at the five-furlong pole, with clockers catching her in fractions of 12.80 seconds for the opening eighth, 25.20 for her first quarter, 38.20 for three furlongs, and 51.20 for a half-mile. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:19.

"She didn't get too tired, but I guess that's because she's really fit enough right now," Wiggins said. "I think we're just about where we need to be with her."

Wiggins plans to work Rachel Alexandra again next Tuesday or Wednesday. Calvin Borel has the mount in the Martha Washington. The one-mile race is a stepping-stone to the Grade 2, $250,000 Fantasy here April 5.

Trainer's daughter wins $1M for ad

Jayme Herbert, the daughter of Oaklawn-based trainer Burl McBride, and her husband, Joe Herbert, and his brother Dave produced what was voted the most popular commercial of this year's Super Bowl and for their efforts won a $1 million prize. The commercial featured two office workers, a crystal ball, and a Doritos snack machine.

"The first minute and a half of the game, they played it," McBride said.

The Herberts earned $100,000 just for having the commercial air. A later vote among fans ranked the commercial the most popular, which earned them the $1 million. McBride said Jayme and Joe had entered their commercial through a contest sponsored by Doritos.

Jayme is a school principal in Indiana, but graduated from Lake Hamilton High School in Hot Springs. Joe is a computer specialist, and for last year's Super Bowl won $10,000 for another commercial he produced for the Doritos contest, McBride said. McBride said he believed it cost the three about $2,000 to make the commercial.

"You wouldn't believe all the excitement this has caused," said McBride, who later this meet expects Jayme and Joe to come to the races at Oaklawn.

Jonesboro to miss Essex

Jonesboro, one of the most accomplished older horses on the grounds, will miss the $100,000 Essex here Saturday, according to trainer Randy Morse. Jonesboro, who won the race in 2007, finished second in the allowance prep Jan. 28, but did not work to satisfaction last Saturday, when he went five furlongs in 1:03.20.

"He didn't breeze like himself and came back and his feet were really tender," Morse said.

Morse said he has not made next-race plans for Jonesboro. The horse is a multiple graded stakes winner of $890,575 and would have been one of the top choices Saturday.

Oaklawn stakes coordinator Craig Lytel has eight early probables for the 1 1/16-mile Essex: Brothers Nicholas, Going Ballistic, Golden Yank, Prom Shoes, Shim's Pride, Solar Flare, Spotsgone, and Telling. Golden Yank is highweighted at 119.