01/02/2010 12:00AM

Rachel targets February work


NEW ORLEANS - After getting New Year's Day off, Rachel Alexandra went back to the track Saturday, resuming her routine of jogging a mile and then galloping a mile over the Fair Grounds main track.

The series of gallops is designed to lead to workouts in early February, training for a not-yet-decided 2010 campaign for Rachel.

"With the cool weather today and the off day yesterday, she felt very good," trainer Steve Asmussen said Saturday. "She's traveling great and did exceptional."

Off since her victory in the Grade 1 Woodward on Sept. 5, Rachel Alexandra has been starting back slowly. She began with slow jogs in the mornings - traveling the wrong way on the outer part of the track - and has progressed into the routine of jogging a mile followed by galloping a mile.

The steady routine was interrupted in December by torrential rains in the middle of the month and the holidays at the end of the month.

"With the holidays behind us, we hope the weather will allow us to continue uninterrupted," Asmussen said. "Conservatively, we are looking to the first of February to work."

Considered one of the favorites for Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra won the Fair Grounds Oaks last March, the Kentucky Oaks, Preakness, Mother Goose, and Haskell Invitational. After the hard-fought victory in the Woodward, Rachel was given time off to refresh for a 2010 campaign.

Asmussen has put another of his standout fillies, 3-year-old Hot Dixie Chick, into the same cautious progression as Rachel.

"They went under tack at the same time, and she has as many gallops and jogs as Rachel," Asmussen said. "I think turning 3 is a big thing for her, and we'll have to see what she needs."

Hot Dixie Chick followed a victory in the Grade 3 Schuylerville with a win in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga in September. She has been off since then.

Euroears back on work tab

Euroears, off since his impressive return in the Thanksgiving Day Handicap, is back in training at Fair Grounds, working a half-mile in 49.40 seconds on Saturday.

"Everything went just like we wanted," trainer Bret Calhoun said. "He went the half-mile and did it easy."

One of the stars of the 2008 stakes series at Fair Grounds and still a perfect 5 for 5 over the Fair Grounds main track, Euroears had a difficult time away from Fair Grounds as he recovered from a leg fracture.

After a couple of clunkers last fall, Euroears ran back to his old form in the Thanksgiving Handicap at Fair Grounds, winning by 1 1/2 lengths.

That race was encouraging enough that Euroears was under consideration for Saturday's Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park, but his connections decided to save him for other targets.

"We just backed off him a little bit," Calhoun said. "It's early in the year for him, and there are lot of races for him later in the spring."

Calhoun said that Euroears was still under consideration for the Gaudin here on Jan. 23 and was possible for the Colonel Power here on Feb. 20.