02/15/2009 1:00AM

Rachel Alexandra romps by eight lengths


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Rachel Alexandra enhanced her reputation as one of the nation's top 3-year-old fillies on Sunday, when she waltzed home by eight lengths in the $50,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park. It was her first start since a powerful win in the Grade 2 Golden Rod last November at Churchill Downs, and she covered the one mile in a meet-best time of 1:36.40.

"You couldn't imagine how much horse I had under me," said Calvin Borel, who rode Rachel Alexandra. "She's impressive. She reminds me of Halo America. She puts you in the game early and it doesn't matter how fast you want to go."

Borel asked little of Rachel Alexandra in the final 100 yards of the Martha Washington, as she won under a hand ride. She broke well in the race and assumed a stalking position just off Affirmed Truth, who was up by a length through fractions of 23.04 seconds for the opening quarter and 47.02 for the half-mile. Rachel Alexandra drew even with the leader approaching the quarter pole, quickly disposed of her after six furlongs in 1:11.99, cruised home, and then galloped out strongly.

Rachel Alexandra ($2.80) has two options for her next start, according to her trainer, Hal Wiggins. He said he and owners Dolphus Morrison and Mike Lauffer are discussing running next in either the Grade 2, $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 14, or the Grade 3, $100,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn on March 15. Rachel Alexandra is based at Oaklawn. Her spring goal is the Kentucky Oaks.

Rachel Alexandra has now won 4 of 7 starts and $231,440. Her time in the Martha Washington was a stakes record for the race, lowering the mark of 1:38.80 set by Devil House in 2007. Last year, future Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles was a 13 1/2 length winner of a division of the Martha Washington.