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Sep 03, 2010

Rachel Alexandra in good shape after Personal Ensign loss


Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - Defending Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra came out of Sunday's upset loss in the Personal Ensign Stakes in good condition and will return to training on Wednesday.

Trainer Steve Asmussen said that he and majority owner Jess Jackson will talk about the filly's future following her gallop on Wednesday morning.

"How she comes back to the track is our focus now," said Asmussen. "You don't want to lose, you're not planning on losing, but you can remember what she's won and what she's done for us. My feelings for her today are the same as my feelings for her the day after the Woodward or Preakness.

"I think there's a great amount of pride in her and belief in herself. She has a tremendous amount of strength in her, and it's been called upon before and it will be called upon again."

The Personal Ensign was Rachel's first career start at 1 1/4-miles. She set the pace with Delaware Handicap champ Life At Ten right behind. The other three females were more than 10-lengths behind on the backstretch.

Sent off as the 2-5 favorite, Rachel put away Life At Ten on the final turn and had a clear lead at the top of the stretch. Persistently, 21-1 at post- time, came charging down the stretch to catch the favorite near the finish and win by a length.

Trainer Shug McGaughey said Monday that Persistently also came out of the race in good condition.

"She's doing well, I'm tired, but she seemed to come back fine," said the Hall of Fame trainer who also conditioned Personal Ensign. "A lot of times it doesn't hit them until a couple of days later, but she cooled out great. We've retooled (her schedule) to point for the Beldame ($350,000 1 1/8-miles at Belmont Park on Saturday, October 2); that's our next stop."

Life At Ten, the 9-5 second pick to Rachel, is also fine and could be entered in the Beldame versus Persistently.

"She was tired, no doubt about it," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "In that situation, if you're going to try to win, and no one else has any speed - if our objective was to be Grade 1-placed or to secure second, we would have approached it maybe a little differently. We wanted to try to win, and ultimately got tired doing that.

"I don't think we'll need to run her at 1 1/4-miles again."

Pletcher indicated that Life At Ten will be pointed toward the 1 1/8-mile Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic at Churchill Downs on November 5.

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