03/08/2009 12:00AM

Old Fashioned works a bullet for Rebel

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Old Fashioned, the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby, tuned up for next weekend's Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel by working five furlongs in a bullet 59 seconds Sunday morning at his Oaklawn Park base. Also on the track was Rachel Alexandra, a leading candidate for the Kentucky Oaks, who breezed in preparation for a start in the Grade 2, $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks.

Old Fashioned went first after the renovation break, and caught some unexpected company to his inside as he was going into the work at the five-furlong pole. He cruised alongside that one through fractions of 11.60 seconds for the opening eighth of a mile and 23.20 for the first quarter. Old Fashioned disposed of the company approaching the quarter pole and found more traffic in the lane, as clockers continued to track him through fractions of 35.60 for three furlongs and 47.20 for the half-mile, then carrying him out six furlongs in 1:12.

Terry Thompson was aboard for the move Sunday.

"We weren't looking to find all that company, but Terry handled it well, he kept him pretty steady, just let him kind of do his work," said Larry Jones, who trains Old Fashioned. "It worked out fine."

Ramon Dominguez has the mount on Old Fashioned in the Rebel, a 1 1/16-mile race to be run at Oaklawn on Saturday. Dominguez, who is based in New York, rode Old Fashioned to victory in last year's Grade 2 Remsen and was also aboard the horse for his win in the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest last month at Oaklawn.

Rachel Alexandra's work had to be delayed for about 10 minutes on Sunday, when an exercise rider was thrown and injured near the finish line at about the same time she was coming onto the track for her breeze. She waited in the paddock until the ambulance crew stabilized the exercise rider and took him to St. Joseph Mercy Center in Hot Springs for a possible broken right leg, according to Oaklawn officials.

Rachel Alexandra emerged from the indoor paddock just after 7:45 a.m., and went through her paces without incident. Under regular rider Calvin Borel, she breezed a half-mile in 49.20 seconds while working off of the rail. Clockers caught her in fractions of 12.40 for her opening eighth of a mile, 25.60 for the first quarter, 37.40 for three furlongs, and galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.40.

"She breezed fine, galloped out really strong, and I think we're on go," said Hal Wiggins, who trains Rachel Alexandra.

Wiggins said she is scheduled to ship to New Orleans on Wednesday.

Rachel Alexandra won last year's Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs, then opened her season with an eight-length romp in the $50,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn on Feb. 15. For the effort, she earned a Beyer Figure of 100.

The temperature was 68 degrees on a humid morning at Oaklawn.