BALTIMORE (AP) - Girls rule!
The best 3-year-old in the land just happens to be a filly named
Jockey Calvin Borel all but guaranteed victory in the Preakness
Stakes and, boy, did she deliver, becoming the first filly in 85
years to win the second leg of the Triple Crown.
A rangy bay who is as big as most of the horses she beat, Rachel
Alexandra shot to the front and took a sizable lead before Mine
That Bird tested her in the stretch. The 9-5 favorite beat him by a
length in her first race against the boys.
Saturday's win also validated Borel's decision to climb off
Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and stay on as her regular
Now Borel may get a shot at a personal Triple Crown, if Rachel
Alexandra goes on to the Belmont Stakes in three weeks. The 1½-mile
race is the most grueling of the three.
"I'm not worried about nothing," he said. "It's going to take
a racehorse to beat her."
Rachel Alexandra had already beaten up on her own gender,
winning her five previous races by a combined 43½ lengths.
Musket Man finished third, as he did in the Derby, followed by
Flying Private and Big Drama.
Rachel Alexandra covered 1 3-16 miles in 1:55.08 and became the
first horse to win at Pimlico from the No. 13 post on the far
outside. She paid $5.60, $4.60 and $3.60. Mine That Bird returned
$6.60 and $4.80, while Musket Man paid $5 to show.
The winner earned $660,000 from the purse of $1.1 million.
Papa Clem was sixth, followed by Terrain, Luv Gov, General
Quarters, Friesan Fire, Pioneerof the Nile, Tone It Down and Take
The last filly to win the Preakness was Nellie Morse in 1924.
Rachel Alexandra became the second filly to go off as the wagering
favorite and win. Whimsical at 8-5 odds was the first, in 1906.
The ending was far different from the last time a filly
challenged the boys. Eight Belles finished a gallant second in last
year's Kentucky Derby, then broke both front legs while galloping
past the finish line and was destroyed on the track.
This time, it was all cheers. No tears.
Rachel Alexandra, marked by two white spots on her head, wasn't
even supposed to be in the Preakness. Her original owners, who
named the filly after a 13-year-old granddaughter, didn't nominate
her to the Triple Crown races, believing fillies should run only
against their own gender.
After her stunning victory by 20¼ lengths in the Kentucky Oaks,
the day before the Derby, Rachel Alexandra was sold to Jess
Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson winery, and Harold McCormick.
They ponied up $100,000 to buy her a spot in the race, and the
gamble paid off.
"There was a lot of social criticism and doubt about whether
she was capable," Jackson said. "I think I would've taken some
heat if she hadn't performed well, so that takes some heat off my
Borel had total faith in the filly, making the unprecedented
decision to dump Mine That Bird after his stunning Derby victory at
"She's the best horse in the country right now, bar none," he