07/14/2009 12:00AM

Rachel Alexandra bound for Haskell

Michael Amoruso
Rachel Alexandra won her last start in the
Grade 1 Mother Goose at Belmont Park on June 27 by 19 1/4 lengths.

Rachel Alexandra will make her next start in the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park on Aug. 2, her connections announced Tuesday.

The Haskell will be Rachel Alexandra's second start against males. She won the Preakness on May 16, in between two one-sided triumphs against her own sex in the Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose.

Owner Jess Jackson had several options for his star 3-year-old filly's next start. Along with the Haskell, those included Sunday's $1 million Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park and the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park on July 25, which is restricted to 3-year-old fillies but offers a purse of only $300,000.

"Rachel Alexandra is progressing well after her stakes record victory in the Mother Goose," Jackson said in a release. "She's in top condition. If this preparation continues, our target is to race in the Haskell Invitational in about three weeks. We are all looking forward to seeing this great athlete perform again against both colts and fillies."

Among the 3-year-olds who have been under consideration for the Haskell are Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird, Munnings, Papa Clem, Big Drama, and Atomic Rain. But the announcement that Rachel Alexandra would point for the Haskell has already altered the plans of one of her potential rivals.

"If she goes to the Haskell, then Big Drama will run in the West Virginia Derby," trainer David Fawkes said shortly after hearing the news. "With her running style, which is similar to our colt's, we'd prefer to go to West Virginia. We still could run Duke of Mischief in the Haskell, assuming he's invited."

Trainer Todd Pletcher reiterated, however, that Jackson's decision would not affect his choice of the Haskell for Munnings's next start.

"This doesn't affect our plans," said Pletcher. "If we're happy with our horse, then that's the race we'd like to try."

Rachel Alexandra worked five furlongs in 1:01.38 over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga on Monday, after which trainer Steve Asmussen said, "She's doing great."

"Her being a 3-year-old filly that has success outside of her division just gives us that many more options," Asmussen said after her work.