03/08/2010 12:00AM

Rachel cruises through final workout

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NEW ORLEANS - Rachel Alexandra put in her final work Monday in preparation for her return to racing in Saturday's New Orleans Ladies, going a half-mile in 49 seconds at the Fair Grounds.

"It was just an easy half, to get along with her," said trainer Steve Asmussen. "She traveled well. She's a beautiful mover. How she runs is what makes her special."

Rachel Alexandra arrived at the track at 6:19, accompanied by assistant Scott Blasi on pony, and walked the wrong way around the track before turning and being let loose.

With regular rider Dominic Terry aboard, Rachel Alexandra jogged toward the half-mile pole, turning slightly, before Terry let her begin to work in earnest. Her splits were 25.20, 37.20 and then a last furlong in 11.80. She galloped out in 1:01.80.

It was her seventh work since Jan. 31 for the 2009 Horse of the Year, who is using the New Orleans Ladies as a prep race for her anticipated meeting with Zenyatta in the April 9 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn.

With the work sequence finished, thoughts turned to Monday's draw for the New Orleans Ladies.

"It comes into play as it has, to this point, in all of her races," said Asmussen. "We'll worry about that later, though. She got the breeze in, did well, looked good."