07/12/2009 11:00PM

Rachel works, moves closer to start

Tom Keyser
An announcement could come later Monday regarding the next start for Rachel Alexandra, who worked out at Saratoga on Monday morning.

Rachel Alexandra on Monday moved closer to her next start with a five-furlong drill in 1:01.38 on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga, but as of Monday afternoon, no official announcement had been made on when she would next race.

Jess Jackson, the majority owner of Rachel Alexandra, prefers to make the announcements about where she will race, similar to the policy he had in place when campaigning Curlin last year. So even though trainer Steve Asmussen and his top assistant, Scott Blasi, are more than willing to discuss how Rachel Alexandra is doing, they refrain from discussing where and when she will race.

A Jackson spokesperson indicated last week that an announcement could come as early as Monday regarding Rachel Alexandra's next start. The spokesperson could not be reached via e-mail Monday.

Rachel Alexandra's time was the fastest of 21 at the distance.

In her last three starts, she has captured the Kentucky Oaks, Preakness Stakes, and Mother Goose Stakes. Among the possibilities for her next race are this Sunday's Grade 2, $1 million Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park, in which she would face older rivals for the first time, and the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Aug. 2, in which she would again face males as she did in the Preakness.

Rachel Alexandra also is eligible for the Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park on July 25, which is exclusively for 3-year-old fillies, but the purse of that race pales in comparison to the Delaware Handicap and Haskell.

Stakes races at Saratoga, such as the Alabama and Travers, also are possibilities, though a start in the Delaware Handicap or Haskell could enable her to run twice before the end of August. Entries for the Delaware Handicap are scheduled to be taken Wednesday.

"I think [a decision] to eliminate the Delaware Handicap will have to be made today or tomorrow from a timing standpoint," Asmussen said Monday morning. "Her being a 3-year-old filly that has success outside of her division just gives [us] that many more options."

Asmussen said Rachel Alexandra is "doing great."

"She was unbelievably light on her feet today and she felt great about doing it," he said after her workout. "It was about as easy as she could do it. It was exactly what I was hoping to see."

Asmussen also worked Dwyer Stakes winner Kensei for Jackson on Monday. He went a half-mile in 51.33 seconds, also on the Oklahoma training track.