And so the racing world waits anxiously for Jess Jackson to announce his decision regarding Rachel Alexandra's Belmont Stakes status. Notice it says announce his decision, not waits for him to decide.
Preakness Stakes winner Rachel Alexandra worked a half-mile in :50 1/5 over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs early May 25. Co-owner Jess Jackson explained that the filly is doing well but that no decision has been made over whether she will contest the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
Thanks to Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra, respectively, both Birdstone and Medaglia d'Oro have achieved the distinction of becoming Classic sires with their first crops. But how much of a boost will it really give them?
It was a day for racing royalty at Churchill Downs on May 20 as Blackberry Preakness (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra returned to track for a gallop, and Mine That Bird, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and a fast-closing runner-up in the Preakness, continued to show his spirit during his first gallop since the race.
NBC's ratings for the May 16 BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I) rose substantially, scoring the highest numbers for the program's race portion in the past five years.
After two days off and a 9 1/2-hour van ride from Baltimore, Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird returned to the track at Churchill Downs for a light jog Tuesday, May 19. Meanwhile, Rachel Alexandra walked under Asmussen's shedrow on her second day back at Churchill.
Rachel Carson, author of "Silent Spring," wrote: "One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again'?"
Wagering was up on several segments of the Preakness day card, according to data released May 18 by Maryland Jockey Club officials, fueled in part by the showdown between Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) victress Rachel Alexandra.
One day after combining to win the BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I), trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Calvin Borel were enthusiastic in their praise of the Rachel Alexandra.
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).
Rachel Alexandra's star turn in the Blackberry Preakness Stakes (gr. I) drove TV ratings of the race to their highest overnight ratings in five years.
Calvin Borel made the right choice and history was made May 16 at Pimlico, when for the first time the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner not only ran in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) but won the race in convincing fashion. Rachel Alexandra finished first and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands winner Mine That Bird was second.
With slightly more than two hours until post for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, the filly Rachel Alexandra is the 2-1 favorite. Four other horses are single-digit odds.
As of about 6:45 a.m. EDT, every horse was on the grounds at Pimlico Race Course for the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.
How much did the addition of the filly Rachel Alexandra mean to the dynamics of the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I)? According to the patrons at Pimlico Race Course the day before the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, it meant everything.
If the payoffs for the daily double involving the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) and Preakness (gr. I) are any indication, the filly Rachel Alexandra will be the big favorite for the middle leg of the Triple Crown.
It has long been the tradition for starters in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) to saddle on the turf course at Pimlico Race Course, but more than half of this year's field -- including morning-line favorite Rachel Alexandra and Pioneerof the Nile -- will be saddled indoors, Maryland Jockey Club paddock judge Mario Verge said May 15.
With all the rain recently in Kentucky, and with a minor business matter requiring him to be out of town over the weekend, Calvin Borel had an important project to finish before leaving town. The morning of May 15 he was mowing his grass.
There was little new activity Thursday morning, although Pioneerof the Nile did have his first feel of the Pimlico track. Rachel Alexandra went unseen, walking the shed at around 4:30, but did show up for all to see in the afternoon, schooling in the paddock before the fourth race.
A field of 13 is set to line the gates at Pimlico Race Course May 16 for the 1 3/16-mile classic. It is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing Preakness Stakes in recent memory.
Rachel Alexandra, the impressive Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner and 8-5 morning-line favorite for the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), walked the shedrow at Pimlico Race Course the morning of May 14 and was expected to school in the paddock later in the day, according to assistant trainer Scott Blasi.
Insight into the pedigrees of this year's Preakness contenders is only a click away. This easy-to-read report includes pedigree analyses from Alan Porter, Avalyn Hunter, and Tom Hall. Order your copy today and separate the contenders from the pretenders.
Horse owner and breeder Jess Jackson said May 13 that entering super filly Rachel Alexandra against males in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) is not a battle of the sexes but rather a sporting gesture designed to have the best horses racing against each other.
Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra drew post 13 and was installed as the solid 8-5 morning-line favorite for the $1-million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 16 at Pimlico.
The exodus of Churchill Downs-based contenders for 134th running of the $1-million Preakness (gr. I) was completed May 13 when major contenders Rachel Alexandra and Pioneerof the Nile stepped onto separate vans around 12:30 p.m. EDT for the short trip to Louisville International Airport for their flight to Baltimore.
A few minutes after 9 a.m. EDT on May 12, Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine's Mine That Bird rolled out of the Churchill Downs barn area headed for Baltimore and the second leg of racing's Triple Crown.
John Hendrickson, husband and racing and breeding manager for Marylou Whitney, said neither he nor Marylou have ever spoken to Ahmed Zayat, and although they plan on running Luv Gov in the Preakness (gr. I) at the request of trainer D. Wayne Lukas, they would withdraw him if it meant excluding Rachel Alexandra.
After being besieged with unfavorable comments regarding his earlier decision to enter enough horses to prevent Rachel Alexandra from running in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Ahmed Zayat, owner of Pioneerof the Nile, said on TVG that he has decided to reconsider and will not enter any other horses.
Possible Preakness (gr. I) candidate Rachel Alexandra, a record-smashing 20 1/4-length winner of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), tuned up for a possible bid in the second leg of the Triple Crown with an easy four-furlong work on May 10 at Churchill Downs.
The prospective field for the May 16 Preakness (gr. I) received a boost in star power when assistant trainer Scott Blasi informed Maryland Jockey Club director of horsemen's relations Phoebe Hayes that Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra is scheduled to fly to Baltimore May 13 for the May 16 $1 million classic. A decision on whether she actually gets on the plane will not be made until the filly works.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said May 9 that Susan Magnier's Dunkirk, 11th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), is under consideration for the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 6.
Stonestreet Stables and partner Harold T. McCormick announced May 8 that Calvin Borel has agreed to ride Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra for the current racing season.
A decision as to whether Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra will be supplemented into the field for the $1 million Preakness (gr. I) could be made May 10 or 11 after the filly works for her new trainer, Steve Asmussen.
Join Calvin Borel as he talks about his Derby winning ride aboard Mine That Bird, Rachel Alexandra's Kentucky Oaks, and more. Transcript also available.
Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables and Harold T. McCormick have purchased spectacular Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra from Dolphus Morrison and Mike Lauffer.
The morning after it was announced that powerhouse filly Rachel Alexandra had been sold to Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables and Harold T. McCormick, trainer Hal Wiggins went about his business as usual, in spite of the empty stall where the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner used to reside.
The best story of Kentucky Derby weekend was 7-year old Rachel Mattson and Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra.
Belmont Park on June 6 is the next objective for Rachel Alexandra, the spectacular 20 1/4-length winner of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), but not for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Instead, trainer Hal Wiggins has the $300,000 Acorn (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on his radar.
Those who believe Rachel Alexandra could have won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) have evidence to back up their belief after she won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 1 at Churchill Downs in spectacular fashion.
The song says the sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home, but there is no sun shining Kentucky Oaks morning, and the weather is the big topic of conversation.
In the opinion of her breeder and co-owner, Dolphus Morrison, Kentucky Oaks morning-line favorite Rachel Alexandra "could have been competitive" in the Run for the Roses, but he said he "didn't have a fleeting thought" of running her against the boys.
Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds is looking forward to simply enjoying the ride in the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). And even though the pressure will be high on his filly Justwhistledixie, who will try to measure up against the heavy morning line favorite Rachel Alexandra, Finley is refusing to let himself get anxious about something he can't control.
Prior to the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) post position draw the morning of April 28, Mike Rutherford, owner/breeder of Flying Spur, and Michael Lauffer, co-owner of Rachel Alexandra, discussed the chances of their fillies in the 1 1/8-mile, $500,000 race May 1.
In the past 25 years the female stars of Thoroughbred racing have taken many different avenues to reach the stage of their greatest victory in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
Though her work was a bit fast for his taste, trainer Hal Wiggins was more than satisfied when his filly Rachel Alexandra made it back to the barn in good shape after zipping through a half-mile in :46 2/5 at Churchill Downs the morning of April 27.
L and M Partner's Rachel Alexandra, who figures to be the favorite for the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Rudy Gallegos shortly before 7 a.m. April 25 at Churchill Downs.
L and M Partners' Rachel Alexandra continued to show her readiness for the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) by galloping a mile and a half under stout restraint from exercise rider Rudy Gallegos at Churchill Downs April 22.
Trainer Hal Wiggins was looking for an easy work April 16 at Churchill Downs for L & M Racing's Rachel Alexandra, the likely favorite for the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs May 1.
David Lanzman and IEAH Stables' I Want Revenge, the possible favorite for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), turned in his first serious training move since his arrival at Churchill Downs when he worked an easy half-mile over a muddy track on April 14.
HRTV's weekly series analyzing the pursuit of the Triple Crown. This week's edition includes previews of the Arkansas Derby and Blues Grass Stakes, and recaps of the Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, and Illinois Derby.
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