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Clear Sailing to Test Rachel

Fair Grounds Race Course
Photo: CDI

Will Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra enjoy clear sailing in Fair Grounds’ upcoming $200,000 New Orleans Ladies March 13 when she makes her first start of the 2010 racing season?

 

Not necessarily. Among those possible to challenge “Rachel” in the inaugural running of the 1 1/16-mile test for older fillies and mares is a filly named Clear Sailing, trained by Glenn Delahoussaye and owned by Keith and Ginger Myers of Coteau Grove Farms.


Clear Sailing, a 4-year-old daughter of 2003 Florida Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, is an undefeated three-for-three this season at Fair Grounds, with her most recent tally coming in the $60,000 Pelleteri Stakes at the 1 1/16-mile distance on Feb. 13.

 

“She’s doing great,” said Delahoussaye of Clear Sailing Monday morning while speaking over the phone from his headquarters at the Evangeline Training Center. “She’s going to work Wednesday and we’ll see how she works and how she comes out of it and take things from there. We’re working her Wednesday with the intention of running her in the New Orleans Ladies.

 

“The way I see it, right now we’ve got two options,” said Delahoussaye. “She’s already nominated to the (Grade III) Azeri at Oaklawn (March 6) and also the New Orleans Ladies, but the New Orleans Ladies fits our schedule a little better. Right now we’re trying to keep our filly’s races at least a month apart, because my owners have this dream of winning a stakes races at Churchill Downs during Kentucky Derby week. The New Orleans Ladies would keep us on a schedule for Churchill’s (Grade II) La Troienne Stakes on Kentucky Oaks Day. That’s our long term goal.

 

“Now, I don’t think there’s any trainer in the world who’s insane enough to say he’s looking forward to running his horse against Rachel Alexandra,” said Delahoussaye, “but for me this race is not about whether it’s ‘Rachel’ or ‘not Rachel’ in there against our horse. The New Orleans Ladies fits the progression about where I wanted to be at this point in time when I set up the whole progression plan for our filly a long time ago when I was keeping that Kentucky Derby week goal in mind.”

 

New Orleans Ladies Probables


Nominations for the New Orleans Ladies closed Saturday with 16 fillies and mares on the list. Of those, seven are considered probable with a few others still mulling it over. In addition to Rachel Alexandra and Clear Sailing, the probables, according to stakes coordinator Scott Jones among other sources, include the Brazilian-bred Grade II Bayakoa Handicap winner Zardana, owned by Arnold Zetcher and trained by John Shirreffs, the conditioner of Zenyatta; Gold Mark Farm’s Double Espresso, winner of Fair Grounds’six-furlong Pan Zareta Stakes Feb. 20; Robert Adams’ Unforgotten, second in Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Daily Racing Form Distaff  Dec. 19; Jim Tafel’s Fighter Wing, second by a neck to Clear Sailing in the Pelleteri; and Steve Asmussen’s Pleasantly Blessed, second in Sam Houston’s $50,000 Jersey Lilly Jan. 30.


Monday’s Rachel Alexandra Report


Stonestreet Stable’s Rachel Alexandra received her usual glowing report from Fair Grounds clocker Billy Pettingill Monday morning, one day prior to her scheduled Tuesday work in preparation for Fair Grounds’ upcoming inaugural running of the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies March 13.

 

“She came out on the track about 6:20 this morning,” said Pettingill, “and she really took over the bit. She was really rolling when she came by us. She was very happy doing her thing out there. It’s a good thing she’s working tomorrow (Tuesday).

 

“I’ve noticed over the last several mornings they’ve had a figure 8 (bridle) on her as part of her equipment,” said Pettingill. “They say it helps to relax her. They say she seems to be more settled when she has it on.”



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