Rachel Alexandra may return to races Friday

Jess Jackson, owner of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, said Saturday his star 4-year-old filly might run in Friday’s $400,000 Grade 2 La Troienne Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs.

Rachel Alexandra, who went 8-0 last year and beat males three times, has not raced since finishing second to Zardana in the New Orleans Ladies at the Fair Grounds on March 13. After that race, Jackson said the Medaglia d’Oro filly was not 100 percent and would not meet Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom Invitational at Oaklawn Park on April 9 as planned.

Jackson said a final decision will be made about the La Troienne after Rachel Alexandra works Monday morning at Churchill Downs, the track where she scored a record 20 1/4-length victory in last year’s $500,000 Kentucky Oaks.

“Right now we’re pointing there,” Jackson said. “Her workout Monday will tell us a lot more. It’ll be light; it’s not going to be a bullet. We want to see that she stays on track and improves every time she goes out and that’s what’s been happening the last two or three times. She’s getting ready.”

Zardana, trained by John Shirreffs, who also conditions Zenyatta, is scheduled to run in the La Troienne, setting up a rematch against Rachel Alexandra in the 1 1/16-mile race on dirt for older fillies and mares.

Jackson said he’s been pleased with Rachel Alexandra’s progress since she arrived at Churchill Downs from the Fair Grounds.

“She’s happy at Churchill,” he said. “Lexington is her home, but Churchill is her favorite track and she’s surely giving us every sign of being ready to run. She’s going to need another race before she really defines herself the way she did early last year but I think she’s 85 percent to 90, maybe 95, right now.”

Rachel Alexandra has won 11 of 15 starts in her career, compared to Zenyatta’s mark of 16-0. Still no word about a potential showdown between the two most popular horses in training today.

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