Rachel Alexandra has pulled the (lucky?) 13th post and been declared an early Preakness favorite! All eyes will be on this filly who has so much to prove, and I really hope she annihilates the field, just like in the Oaks. Turns out an owner change is what precipitated the new direction, and I for one am all for it - I'd love to see a stretch run with Mine That Bird, or any other colt that thinks she's a pretender.
A hoof beat away from the track record - listen for Calvin's declaration "She's the best horse I've ever been on".
Filly Could Liven Up Preakness Field
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By Andrew BeyerSpecial to The Washington Post Thursday, May 7, 2009; 8:53 AM
The outlook for the 134th Preakness may have changed radically after prominent owner Jess Jackson announced the purchase of Rachel Alexandra.
The 3-year-old filly dazzled the racing world with her 20 1/4 -length victory in the Kentucky Oaks, and it was arguably a better performance than Mine that Bird delivered when he won the Derby the next day. Rachel Alexandra's veteran trainer Hal Wiggins immediately scotched any speculation that the filly might challenge colts in the Preakness.
But yesterday Jackson's Stonestreet Farm issued a news release saying that the owner had purchased the filly.
"She is fast, strong and durable -- the trait we should be breeding into all future generations of racehorses," Jackson said, adding that he intends to breed Rachel Alexandra to Curlin -- his now-retired champion, the winner of the 2007 Preakness -- when her racing career is over.
However, it is her near-term plans that pique the racing world. Rachel Alexandra was not nominated for the Preakness, but she could be supplemented to the race for a fee of $100,000 -- a pittance to the billionaire Jackson. Not only does he have the money, he may have the will. He never shied from challenges with Curlin. Instead of retiring him at 3, he campaigned the colt as a 4-year-old, racing him in Dubai and trying him on both grass and synthetic surfaces.
He has not yet given any indication of his plans for Rachel Alexandra -- the filly is being transferred today to the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen -- but if she runs at Pimlico on May 16 her presence will inject new excitement into the race. And she would probably be the favorite.