08/16/2010 12:31PM

Rachel works toward Personal Ensign

Barbara D. Livingston
Rachel Alexandra, under Shaun Bridgmohan, breezes on Saratoga's main track Monday morning.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Rachel Alexandra visited Saratoga’s main track Monday morning for the first time since her historic victory in last fall’s Woodward Stakes, breezing a steady six furlongs in 1:13.20, while galloping out 1 1/8 miles in 1:54.09.

It appeared to be her sharpest move to date this year as she prepares for a start in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes here on Aug. 29, her first race at 1 1/4 miles.

Until Monday, Rachel Alexandra had trained exclusively over the Oklahoma training track. The move to the main track for a workout less than two weeks from a race followed a similar pattern trainer Steve Asmussen used with Curlin prior to the 2008 Woodward and Rachel Alexandra for last year’s Woodward. Last year, Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to defeat males in the Woodward.

Monday, Rachel Alexandra, under Shaun Bridgmohan, entered the track via the quarter pole gap at 6:17 a.m. Eastern, accompanied by assistant trainer Scott Blasi aboard a stable pony. Blasi turned Rachel loose just before the finish line and her aggressive nature took over as she galloped into and around the clubhouse turn.

Bridgmohan did a nice job getting Rachel to settle into the work as she broke off at the six-furlong pole and went an opening eighth of a mile in 12.80 seconds. She continued on through a quarter in 24.88, three furlongs in 36.68, a half-mile in 49.07, and she came home in 24.13 seconds with Bridgmohan urging her slightly.

Rachel Alexandra was not done. She galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.63, a mile in 1:39.15, and 1 1/8 miles in 1:54.09.

“I thought she went really well,” said Asmussen, who caught Rachel Alexandra’s final quarter in less than 24 seconds. “I thought Shaun did a great job with her away from the pole. [She] settled in nicely, nice solid, strong work with a very big gallop out; ideal for the mile and a quarter that she’s pointed towards.”

Asmussen said he was eager to see what Rachel Alexandra’s energy level would be on Tuesday, but added, “I was very pleased with how strong of a move it was but she did not seem exhausted.”

Asmussen said he felt Monday’s move was better than the six-furlong work in 1:11.84 Rachel Alexandra put in over a muddy main track before last year’s Woodward.

“I do feel she’s a lot more relaxed in the middle of her works than she was last year,” Asmussen said. “I remember our work for the Woodward – a lot of it had to do with my nerves and everybody around us because of the condition of the racetrack – there was a lot of pressure on it. … It didn’t happen as smoothly as today did.”

The New York Racing Association released its initial list of 14 invitees for the race. Those expected to face Rachel Alexandra include Delaware Handicap one-two finishers Life At Ten and Miss Singhsix, Classofsixtythree, and possibly Milwaukee Appeal and Persistently.

On Monday, at Calder, Miss Singhsix worked four furlongs in 50.60 seconds from the gate.

On Sunday, Life At Ten, a winner of six consecutive races, worked five furlongs in 1:01.83 in company with the filly Awesome Maria. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.35 and pulled up seven furlongs in 1:30.29.