07/30/2010 12:11PM

Rachel Alexandra headed for Personal Ensign next

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Rachel Alexandra begins her winning move past Queen Martha in the Lady's Secret at Monmouth.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - As expected, reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra will make her next start in the Grade 1, $300,000 Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 29, owner Jess Jackson confirmed in a press release Friday.

"Rachel feels very much at home among the great Saratoga fans," Jackson said. "It’s an historic race, named after a great champion. The timing is right for Rachel. She’s been coming back into her stride and this will help her prepare for the rest of her campaign and the Breeders’ Cup later this year."

The Personal Ensign will mark Rachel Alexandra’s first start at 1 1/4 miles. Last year, she won the Preakness at 1 3/16 miles.

Trainer Steve Asmussen previously said he was looking forward to running Rachel Alexandra at 1 1-4 miles. In Friday’s press release, Asmussen said he is also looking forward to running her back at Saratoga, where last year she electrified a large crowd by winning the Grade 1 Woodward against males. This will be Rachel Alexandra’s first Grade 1 start since then.

"The whole team is excited to have Rachel back at Saratoga preparing for this Grade 1 race," Asmussen said. "We all love the track and the fans at Saratoga, perhaps none more than Rachel herself."

After losing her first two starts this year, Rachel Alexandra won the Fleur de Lis at Churchill in June and then took the Lady’s Secret Stakes last weekend at Monmouth Park.

She is expected to have her first work since the Lady’s Secret on Monday at Saratoga.

Naturally, New York Racing Association officials were delighted to hear that Rachel would run at Saratoga.

"Obviously that’s wonderful, wonderful news," said Hal Handel, NYRA’s executive vice-president and Chief Operating Officer. "Thrilled. Delighted. Great news."

While NYRA officials have reached out to the connections of the undefeated Zenyatta, she is not expected to run in the Personal Ensign. Instead, Zenyatta will most likely make her next start in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch at Del Mar next Saturday.   One horse that will take on Rachel Alexandra is Life at Ten, who has won six consecutive races including the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps and, most recently, the Delaware Handicap at 1 1/4 miles.   "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Rachel Alexandra and I think her last two races were better than the general public does," said Todd Pletcher, trainer of Life at Ten. "I think she’ll be extremely tough to beat, but it’s the right place for our mare."