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Tight schedule adds a hurdle for Rachel

As any handicapper knows by now, Daily Racing Form keeps detailed trainer statistics. First-time starters, claimers, blinkers on, so on and so forth. The shorthand for one category is +180 Days - that is, win percentage with horses returning from a layoff of a half-year or longer. Steve Asmussen bats .170 in +180 Days, a good, solid mark.

Just last weekend, on March 7, an Asmussen-trained filly named Songtress made her first start in more than 20 months and won an allowance race by almost three lengths. This weekend, the spotlight shines ever so brightly on Asmussen's skill at readying a horse after a long layoff, with Rachel Alexandra set to make her first start since the Sept. 5 Woodward Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds in the New Orleans Ladies. Read More


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