02/11/2009 12:00AM

Rachel Alexandra gets final tune-up


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Rachel Alexandra, a top candidate for the Kentucky Oaks, is set to make her 3-year-old debut this weekend after breezing a half-mile in 49.80 seconds Wednesday morning at Oaklawn Park. She is scheduled to run Sunday in the $50,000 Martha Washington, a one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies that serves as the local stepping-stone to the Grade 2, $250,000 Fantasy on April 5.

Rachel Alexandra worked right after the renovation break on a windy morning in which temperatures were in the 50s and the track was listed as fast. She went into her work at the half-mile pole, while situated a few paths off the rail by jockey Calvin Borel. Clockers carried Rachel Alexandra through an opening eighth of a mile in 12.60 seconds, a first quarter in 25.80, and then caught her galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.

"I think we're ready," trainer Hal Wiggins said. "It's time to run her. So, we'll saddle up and see what happens."

Wiggins has been looking forward to Rachel Alexandra's debut. She closed out her 2-year-old season Nov. 29 with a smashing win in the Grade 2 Golden Rod, a 1 1/16-mile race for which she earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

Borel has the mount in the Martha Washington, which could draw a full field when entries are taken Friday. Last year, Oaklawn split the race into two divisions. Others considered probable include Affirmed Truth, Afleet Deceit, Be Fair, Hello Again, Lake Lugano, My Spanx, and Peach Brew.

The Martha Washington is one of three stakes to be run over the holiday weekend. The action begins Saturday with the $50,000 Pippin, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares led by Maren's Meadow. Sunday is the Martha Washington, while the holiday Monday card features the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest showdown between 3-year-old colts Old Fashioned and Silver City.

Superior Storm eyes graded stakes

Superior Storm could make her graded stakes debut next month at Oaklawn. The filly, who won her eighth Louisiana-bred stakes race in last Saturday night's $150,000 Louisiana Premier Night Distaff at Delta Downs, is being seriously considered for a start in the Grade 3, $175,000 Azeri Breeders' Cup for fillies and mares on March 8, trainer Rick Jackson said.

"We sort of want to see how she lines up against some of these open-company horses because during this summer we might want to try something a little different," he said. "I mean, we're still going to run in the Louisiana-bred races, but at the same time we want to look at some other options, too. If we get in a spot where some of those [statebred] races don't go, we have to look at other things. She's doing awful good, and I just sort of want to see where we're at."

Superior Storm has never been beaten in a Louisiana-bred stakes and she holds the unique distinction of being the only horse to have won a stakes on each of the statebred championship cards held throughout the year at Louisiana's four tracks. Her success has led to more than $500,000 in career earnings for the filly, who is just 4.

Jackson said the Azeri also is appealing since Superior Storm is based at Oaklawn. If she passes on the stakes, Jackson said a return to Delta for the $75,000 Magnolia for Louisiana-bred fillies at mares on March 6 is also an option.

Big maiden winner for Robertson

Trainer Mac Robertson unveiled an impressive 3-year-old last Saturday at Oaklawn in Hamazing Destiny, a son of Salt Lake who rolled to a 10 1/2-length win in a maiden special weight at six furlongs. He covered the distance in 1:10.44 to earn a 94 Beyer. Robertson said Hamazing Destiny will likely make his next start in the $50,000 Mountain Valley for 3-year-olds at six furlongs on Feb. 28 at Oaklawn.

"If he'd wow us again, we'd look to stretch him out," he said.

Others under consideration for the Mountain Valley include recent allowance winner Dance Caller and Bertsgoldenmissile, a stakes winner last year at Louisiana Downs.

Razorback possible for Jonesboro

Jonesboro, who missed last weekend's $100,000 Essex at Oaklawn because he did not work to satisfaction for the race, has trained well of late and has a couple of options for his next start, trainer Randy Morse said.

Morse said the horse will be considered for the $75,000 Gulf Coast Classic at Delta Downs on Feb. 28, or he could just train up to the Grade 3, $150,000 Razorback Handicap at his Oaklawn base on March 7. Jonesboro is the defending champ in the Razorback.

* Glenda Morse, the mother of Randy Morse and the wife of longtime trainer Willard Morse, died Tuesday night in El Paso, Texas, due to complications from diabetes. She was 73. Morse, who at one time trained on her own before working within her husband's stable, is survived by Willard, to whom she was married for 50 years, and their four children, Ricky, Randy, Anita, and Ron. Burial is scheduled for Saturday.