11/24/2009 12:00AM

Rachel Alexandra back in training

Tom Keyser
Rachel Alexandra, shown en route to victory in the Woodward under Calvin Borel, will ship to Fair Grounds after the Churchill meeting concludes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Rachel Alexandra, the superstar filly who has been taking it easy on the Churchill Downs backstretch for the last seven weeks, has returned to the racetrack for the first time since arriving here Oct. 7 from Saratoga.

Owned primarily by the Stonestreet Stables of Jess Jackson and trained by Steve Asmussen, Rachel Alexandra jogged a very easy mile Monday and Tuesday, both times going late in the morning when traffic is very light on the main track.

"She was ready to get out there and do something, finally," said assistant trainer Scott Blasi. "She's put on a lot of weight, looks beautiful, traveling great. We just wanted to get her back out there a few days because she's so familiar and comfortable with the track here at Churchill."

Blasi said Rachel Alexandra will ship to Fair Grounds in New Orleans after the Churchill meet concludes on Saturday, "although we haven't made a final decision on exactly what day."

Jackson and Asmussen have said they intend to race Rachel Alexandra as a 4-year-old, with a more serious training regimen to begin sometime after she arrives at Fair Grounds, where Asmussen's top horses are stabled every winter.

Tuesday morning, with Dominic Terry up and while accompanied by a stable pony ridden by Blasi, Rachel Alexandra came out onto the 5 1/2-furlong gap Tuesday at about 9:30 a.m. She proceeded to jog once around the one-mile track, staying on the outer perimeter until exiting the same gap she entered. Blasi said the filly likely will continue to have the same sort of easy training schedule until leaving here.

Rachel Alexandra had done little more than graze and stand in her stall until about 10 days ago, when she began walking under tack on the shed row each morning.

Rachel Alexandra won all eight of her races this year and is the subject of tremendous debate about whether she or Zenyatta deserves the 2009 Horse of the Year Award, which will be announced Jan. 18 at the annual Eclipse Awards dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Rachel Alexandra defeated male rivals three times this year in winning the Preakness, Haskell Invitational, and Woodward Stakes. Following her last start of the year, the Sept. 5 Woodward at Saratoga, she remained stabled at Saratoga until shipping to Churchill.