Rachel Alexandra to Skip Belmont
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 5/29/2009 5:39:32 PM
Last Updated: 6/1/2009 2:47:48 PM

Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra will not run in the Belmont.
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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Rachel Alexandra will not be running in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Jess Jackson, the co-owner of the filly announced May 29.

Jackson said in a statement that Rachel Alexandra, who won both the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), deserves a vacation.

The move clears the way for jockey Calvin Borel to return to Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird in the Belmont.

Borel will be trying for a personal Triple Crown, as he won the Derby aboard Mine That Bird and the Preakness with Rachel Alexandra.

"We know the media and many fans would have liked to see (Rachel Alexandra) run in the Belmont Stakes—we feel the same," said Jackson in a statement on behalf of his Stonestreet Stables and co-owner Harold McCormick. "But all of us sincerely interested in the horse must agree that we only want to see her run when it is best for her. While she is in great shape, having strong works, and recovering well from her amazing performances, we feel Rachel deserves a well-earned vacation. 

"Since March 14, Rachel has won four graded races with just two weeks rest between her last two victories.  We will always put her long-term well being first. And, of course, we want to run her when she is fresh. Rachel, her owners, her trainers and her fans can continue to anticipate an exciting campaign. All major races will be considered as we look to the rest of Rachel’s racing career.”

Said Borel, who will attempt to become the first jockey in history to win the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont aboard different horses: “Now that this decision is made, I am excited to come to New York and ride Mine That Bird in the Belmont Stakes. I would like to thank (trainer) Chip Woolley, and (owners) Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach for being so gracious and allowing us to wait for this decision. We also thank Mr. Jackson for letting everyone know earlier than anticipated about the decision whether to run Rachel Alexandra.”

Mine That Bird currently is training at Churchill Downs, and is scheduled to breeze there June 1, before flying to New York June 3 as he attempts to become the 12th horse in history to win the Derby and the Belmont. Thunder Gulch   in 1995 was the last horse to win both races.


 



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