The Daily Gazette
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Final tuneup for Rachel

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- On a picture-perfect fall-like morning, Rachel Alexandra put in a final tuneup for her history-making attempt in Saturday's Grade I $750,000 Woodward at Saratoga Race Course.

Going out shortly before 6 a.m., Rachel Alexandra went an easy half-mile in :49.09 over the Oklahoma training track under regular exercise rider Dominic Terry.

New York Racing Association clockers caught the 3-year-old Medaglia d'Oro filly in :25.53 for her first quarter-mile, and galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.23.

"It feels great to get that breeze in today under such nice circumstances," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "Cool morning. The track's in great shape. I can't say enough about the job they've done on the racetrack this summer.

"She looked very happy. She came back very loose, and she moved through the stretch very impressively. If she's happy, we're happy."

It was the eighth work in Saratoga for Rachel Alexandra and her fourth since beating males for the second time this year in the $1.25 million Haskell Invitational.

Last week, Rachel Alexandra worked over Saratoga's main track because of inclement weather which hit the area over the weekend. Her Aug. 17 breeze at Oklahoma was shrouded in fog.

"Two weeks ago, it was so foggy that you could barely see, and last week with the weather and trying to find the best circumstances for her," Asmussen said. "The sun came out yesterday and we had a little breeze. What a relief."

The Haskell extended her winning streak to eight races, including the Preakness and record-setting rommps in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks and Grade I Mother Goose against her own kind.

"She's very special," Asmussen said. "She's extremely exciting. She jusst has a tremendous amount of presence with her. Somebody asked me this morning if she knew she was a star. I very much believe that she does. I think she accepts the pressure that's put on her, the attention that she gets, and I think she's really thrived under it."

Rachel Alexandra will walk on Tuesday, return to the track on Wednesday and school in the Saratoga paddock during Thursday's races.

No filly has ever won the 1 1/8-mile Woodward, to be run for the 56th time and fourth at Saratoga after being moved from Belmont Park's fall meet.

"I think she is a tremendous talent," Asmussen said. "A very special filly. It's a wonderful opportunity to run her iin the Woodward at Saratoga. I honestly hope that it is just another significant achievement on an already impressive resume when it's all said and done."

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