Updated on 08/10/2010 11:45AM

Rachel looks strong in Spa work

Tom Keyser
Rachel Alexandra.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Not many of the handful of backstretch onlookers on an overcast, humid Monday morning at Saratoga had nearly as much energy just before sunrise as Rachel Alexandra displayed.

Preparing for her next start in the $300,000 Personal Ensign Stakes here on Aug. 29, Rachel Alexandra drilled five furlongs in 1:02.38 under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan on the Oklahoma training track. Daily Racing Form timed Rachel Alexandra in fractions of 13.13, 25.44, and 37.57 seconds, and caught her galloping out six furlongs in 1:15.72.

It was her first workout since she won the Lady’s Secret Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 24. Normally, trainer Steve Asmussen gives Rachel Alexandra an easy half-mile breeze in her first work back following a race. But given how the filly had been training the last few days, Asmussen elected to allow her to do more.

“She came out of the race at Monmouth tremendous, with a lot of energy,” Asmussen said. “The cooler weather we’ve had here the last few days, if we would have went [a half-mile] in 52 she’d have been wilder than hell. It was just the last few days how much energy she’s had – time to pick it up.”

Rachel Alexandra, accompanied by a stable pony, came out onto the track at 5:50 a.m. with a surprisingly sparse crowd, some poised with cameras. Rachel Alexandra backed up to the eighth pole before turning around. When assistant trainer Scott Blasi, aboard the stable pony, turned Rachel loose she jumped right into a strong gallop.

“She was very strong,” Asmussen said.

Another reason Asmussen didn’t mind seeing Rachel do a bit more on Monday is that she will be running 1 1/4 miles for the first time in the Personal Ensign.

Rachel Alexandra will work each of the next three Mondays leading up to the Personal Ensign. Among her rivals in the Personal Ensign will be Life At Ten, a winner of six straight races including the Delaware Handicap at the Personal Ensign distance.

On Sunday, Life At Ten worked four furlongs in 49.55 seconds at Belmont Park.
Todd Pletcher is the trainer of Life At Ten. He is also the trainer of Malibu Prayer, who won Sunday’s Grade 1 Ruffian at Saratoga over Unrivaled Belle. Pletcher said Malibu Prayer would be considered for the Personal Ensign, but more likely her next race will come in the Grade 2, $300,000 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park on Aug. 29.