The soap opera that is Thoroughbred horse racing heats up this week as we near Saturday's Preakness Stakes...
Turns out that the owners of the filly Rachel Alexandra - who turned in a commanding win at the Kentucky Oaks as her owners didn't want to run her in the Derby (where she belonged!) - suddenly want to enter her in the Preakness, despite her lack of advance nomination.
This has caused a panic for several reasons, few of which are legitimate.
Seems there was a sudden flood of entrants (capped at fourteen) specifically designed to keep Rachel Alexandra out, as at this point she would have to put up $100, 000 extra just for consideration as a starter. Some owners commented a filly has no place racing with colts, and cited the Eight Belles tragedy as some sort of proof. So they began nominating other horses from their stables that were eligible - despite the fact that they have never won a race! Insane. Why are they so afraid of her? Are they really worried she'll break a leg in front of their horse and cause an accident? Or are they fearful of her speed? Why would they want Borel on Mine That Bird again?
Adding to the drama is the fact that Mine That Bird's super-jockey Calvin Borel would never have been on Mine That Bird had Rachel Alexandra raced in the Derby - he would have been on Rachel Alexandra. He's previously gone on record promising to ride her in every race and feels she is the superior pick!
Borel has already agreed to ride Rachel Alexandra for the rest of the
year. The duo are unbeaten in five starts since he took over as her jockey last
fall, including a 20 1/4-length win in the Oaks on May 1.
Allen said Mike Smith, who won the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Giacomo, will ride Mine That Bird if Borel is on Rachel Alexandra.
"That's a pretty good backup plan," he said with a laugh. "We're not crying in our beer right now."