Trainer Mark Casse's two contenders for the Gr. II $200,000 Rachel Alexandra – Wonder Gadot and Heavenly Love – turned in half-mile works over the Fair Grounds main track on Friday morning, which were their final serious preparations for the mile-and-a-sixteenth event.
Casse's assistant trainer David Carroll sent Wonder Gadot to the track first set. The last out runner-up to Stronger Than Ever in the Silverbulletday Stakes recorded her four furlong work in :48.40. Heavenly Love, fifth in the Silverbulletday Stakes, worked in company with Malibu Bonnie and logged her half-mile in :47.60.
“Both train very forwardly,” Carroll said. “Wonder Gadot is a more aggressive filly in the morning time. Heavenly Love just goes out there and is more laid back so that's why we kind of feel that she needed that last race, whereas with Wonder Gadot we want to keep her where she's at. She's fit and ready.”
The Silverbulletday was the first start of the year for both fillies, who also faced off in the Gr. I Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar. Wonder Gadot was sixth but raced once more last year when taking the Gr. II Demoiselle at Aqueduct on Dec. 2. Heavenly Love was 11th and did not race again until the Silverbulletday.
“Heavenly Love worked extremely well,” Carroll said. “We felt that she may have needed that last race but she's trained forwardly since then. She looks great and her last two works have been very good. We'll go in there with no excuses. It's a tough race, but we're looking forward to it.”
Other notable works on Friday morning include Craig Aguilar's Ebben, who is entered in the Gr. II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes. The son of Trappe Shot drilled a half-mile in :47.20 – the fastest of 108 works at the distance – for trainer Steve Margolis,. Also working towards the Risen Star was Valene Farms LLC's Givemeaminit who worked a half-mile in :49.00 for trainer Dallas Stewart.
Trainer Bret Calhoun sent out Craig D. Upham's Texas-bred Patrona Margarita for her final drill in preparation for the Rachel Alexandra Stakes. The 3-year-old daughter of Special Rate worked a half-mile in :48.20. The Silverbulletday winner Stronger Than Ever went five furlongs in 1:02.40. Fern Circle Stables' Kenny McPeek-trainee has opted to bypass the Rachel Alexandra and will instead target the Gr. III $200,000 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Mar. 4.
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