WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Rachel Alexandra: In or Out of the Preakness?

Rachel Alexandra looks ready to challenge
the boys in the Preakness.
Owner Jess Jackson, however, isn't sure his superstar filly will
get the chance.
Jackson declared the Kentucky Oaks winner primed for the second
jewel of the Triple Crown following an easy four furlong workout on
Sunday at Churchill Downs.
Rachel Alexandra covered the half-mile in 48.40 seconds under
exercise rider Dominic Terry, a work trainer Steve Asmussen called
"beautiful."
It was all the evidence Jackson needed to send the 3-year-old
filly, who he purchased last week for an undisclosed sum, to
Pimlico for the 1-3/16th mile race.
The process of getting a horse into a Triple Crown race,
however, could leave Rachel Alexandra on the outside looking in
when the field heads to the starting gate on Saturday afternoon.
"Since it's Mother's Day, I wish I could announce to all
mothers everywhere that this incredible filly is entered to take on
the boys," Jackson said in a statement. "But Triple Crown rules
may prevent us from sending her to Pimlico."
The Preakness is limited to 14 horses, with preference given to
horses pre-nominated to the Triple Crown. While Jackson is willing
to pay the $100,000 supplemental fee required to make Rachel
Alexandra eligible for the race, she may get bumped if 14 horses
already nominated to the series are entered.
Pimlico officials estimated Saturday that 13 horses, including
Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and runner-up Pioneerof the
Nile, were going to be entered, leaving one spot open for Rachel
Alexandra.
Mine That Bird co-owner Mark Allen, however, told the
Thoroughbred Times he's considering entering another of his horses,
Indy Express, into the Preakness to keep Rachel Alexandra from
running.
Allen said his motives are professional, not personal.
Jockey Calvin Borel, who guided the 50-1 long shot gelding to a
stunning 6¾-length win in the Run for the Roses, has already agreed
to pilot Rachel Alexandra for the rest of the year. Borel went
along for the ride as Rachel Alexandra won the Oaks by a record 20¼
lengths May 1.
"I just want my rider back," Allen told the publication.
Mine That Bird trainer Bennie Woolley Jr. has selected a backup
rider just in case, but plans on naming Borel the jockey during the
Preakness draw on Wednesday.
Pimlico oddsmaker Frank Carulli said he would make Rachel
Alexandra the morning line favorite if she enters. Nellie Morse in
1924 was the last filly to win the Preakness.
Genuine Risk in 1980 and Winning Colors in 1988, who both came
to Baltimore as Kentucky Derby winners, went off as the betting
favorites in the Preakness but didn't win.
The most recent filly to go against the boys was Excellent
Meeting in 1999. She finished last after being pulled up by jockey
Kent Desormeaux.
Jackson, who owned 2007 Preakness winner Curlin, remains
optimistic his stables' newest star will get a chance to run.
"I want the fans to know we are prepared to enter her and I am
hopeful that her entry will be accepted," Jackson said. "I know
we all want the thrill of seeing her race next weekend."
The last filly to enter a Triple Crown race was Eight Belles,
who broke both of her front legs moments after finishing second to
Big Brown in the 2008 Kentucky Derby.


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