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Mar 12, 2010

Rachel Alexandra debuts in New Orleans Ladies

By: Sports Network

New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Rachel Alexandra, 2009 Horse of the Year, is set make her 2010 debut this Saturday at the Fair Grounds in the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies. The 1 1/16-mile test has attracted four females to take on the four-year-old filly.

Owned by Jess Jackson and Hal McCormick, Rachel Alexandra has drawn post two with Calvin Borel once again in the saddle. The filly is trained by Eclipse Award winning trainer Steve Asmussen.

"It was just an easy half," Asmussen said about Monday's final workout before Saturday. "It's hard to compare her to anybody else so we just gave her an easy half and let him get along with her and it looked like she went beautiful. She's a beautiful mover. That's how she runs and that's what makes her special. She went over the racetrack very well, it was in great shape this morning. That's all we could hope for. She got the breeze in, did very well, looked good."

Rachel went undefeated in 2009 in eight starts with earnings of better than $2.7 million. Following wins in the Martha Washington, Fair Grounds Oaks and Fantasy Stakes, she won the Kentucky Oaks by more than 20-lengths.

The filly then went on to victories in the Preakness, Mother Goose, Haskell Invitational and Woodward.

Rachel Alexandra will follow her start Saturday with an ultimate showdown versus Zenyatta. The two female thoroughbreds are to finally meet at Oaklawn Park in the $5 million Apple Blossom Invitational on Friday, April 9.

Zenyatta is based at Hollywood Park where she has been working out. Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta will start in the $250,000 Santa Margarita Invitational on Saturday.

Zenyatta's trainer John Shirreffs will bring Bayakoa Handicap winner Zardana to the Fair Grounds for the race from California. The six-year-old mare will be ridden by David Flores from post three.

Zardana is the winner of seven of 18 lifetime starts for owner Arnold Zetcher. For her career she has earnings of $308,421 and is coming off a fourth-place finish to St Trinians in the Santa Maria Handicap.

Here is the complete field for the New Orleans Ladies in post position order: Fighter Wing, Corey Lanerie, 117; Rachel Alexandra, Calvin Borel, 123; Zardana, David Flores, 121; Unforgotten, Miguel Mena, 117 and Clear Sailing, Shane Sellers, 117.

The New Orleans Ladies has an approximate post-time of 6:15 p.m. (et).

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