There will be no Triple Crown winner in 2009, but there is a possibility of a showdown in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) between the winners of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Blackberry Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Derby winner and Preakness runner-up Mine That Bird is confirmed for the race, while Kentucky Oaks and Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra is a possibility.
Both Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra were headed back to Churchill Downs following the Preakness. Steve Asmussen, who trains Rachel Alexandra for Jess Jackson and Harold McCormick, is stabled at the track. Mine That Bird is the only horse trainer Chip Woolley has at Churchill, but he was anxious to continue training at the track where he and his gelding had scored their biggest victory. Mine That Bird races for Mark Allen's Double Eagle Ranch and Dr. Leonard Blach's Buena Suerte Equine. Woolley is based at Sunland Park in New Mexico.
On May 17, the day after Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to win the Kentucky Oaks and Preakness, the New York Racing Association listed 10 3-year-olds as possible for the final leg of the Triple Crown. No horse has swept the trio of races since Affirmed in 1978.
In addition to Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra, two others from the Preakness are on NYRA’s list, both trained by D. Wayne Lukas. Flying Private ran fourth in the Preakness and Luv Gov finished eighth
There also are four possible runners that ran in the Derby and skipped the Preakness: Chocolate Candy (5th); Dunkirk (11th); Summer Bird (6th); and Mr. Hot Stuff (15th).
In addition, listed as possible are Charitable Man, who won the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) May 9, and Miner's Escape, who won the Federico Tesio Stakes May 2.