Friday, May 8, 2009

Borel's bet: He chooses filly for the Preakness

So it is confirmed:
Rachel Alexandra's new connections, primarily Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables, will send the Kentucky Oaks-winning filly to take on the boys in the May 16 Preakness Stakes.

And Calvin Borel, the jockey who pulled off the Oaks-Derby double at Churchill May 1 and 2 has taken off Derby champion Mine That Bird to ride the filly.

It's a good decision for Borel, albeit with some risk. If Rachel Alexandra can beat colts in a Triple Crown race, it will go down as one of the most memorable renewals of the Preakness. And obviously Borel thinks the filly has as much or better chance to win than Mine That Bird, who was a surprise Derby victor (largely due to a spectacular ride by Borel) at 50-1 odds.

If Mine That Bird somehow wins the Preakness -- possible, though he's looking now at being at best third- or fourth-favored in the race (behind Rachel Alexandra, probably Pioneerof The Nile and perhaps a horse like Musket Man) -- then it will be under some other jockey. And that jockey will have a shot at a share of the highly improbable glory when the gelding heads to New York, where his sire, Birdstone, robbed Smarty Jones of a Triple Crown with a late run in the 2004 Belmont Stakes.

Good luck to Rachel Alexandra. May she acquit herself well at Pimlico, and most importantly, may everyone come home safe and sound.


  1. Hi Glenn!
    I'm actually a good bit disgusted by all this. I was utterly amazed by Rachel Alexandra and her Oaks win. The filly reminds me of Secretariat. She probably has a triple size ticker in that chest of hers.
    That said, I find it beyond distateful that she is running in the Preakness.
    I'll admit, as a trainer, I would be the first one to want to enter a filly with the boys if she were that good. BUT we're not talking any ole graded stakes race her.
    There is a Triple Crown for fillies.
    The Preakness is part of the TC for BOYS.
    She didn't run in the Derby.
    Jackson and that other new trainer (sorry, no respect for him and his needling ways) are just being greedy. In the process, they try to turn this around and say: Oh, she's so great, we just want her to have a chance to prove herself.. yadah yadah yadah.
    There is always a jerk hiding somewhere who acts not in the best interest of the business but their own. Always.
    The only reason they are putting her in is because they are convinced she will win (which she probably will) but no one is thinking about the historical significance of this race and the series it is a part of.
    I don't want to see a filly in the Triple Crown under these circumstances. If she had run and won the Derby, it'd be one thing, but she didn't.
    I am so sick of seeing this whole mentality of trying to spoil it for every TC contender we've had in years and the bottom line is that I, for one, would like to see a TC winner again in my lifetime.
    I don't want to see Jackson and his trainer "make their point". I know that filly can beat any boy out there. But she's not part of what is supposed to be a series to showcase the best 3 year old male horse. She's a filly. End of story.

    Yeah, so while some folks are thinking, "Great! Let the filly win the race!", all I can think is, "Great! Another greedy ass who is so utterly full of himself that he can't just step back and do the right thing for the industry."

    BIG BIG surprise there! (Sarcasm intended).

    And as far as Borel- well, he obviously feels she is the most amazing horse he's ever been on, so taking the ride on her is understandable. But he must know that Mine That Bird stands a good chance of not performing the same way.

    I've been reading about Zayat and Allen and Whitney trying to block Rachel from the Preakness and I wish they would.

    She's got no business in the Preakness (based on the above standpoint I just explained). She needs to go win the filly Triple Crown, where she belongs.

  2. Interesting. Because of the historical nature of the race, a filly shouldn't try and shouldn't win?

    There hasn't been one to win it since Nellie Morse in 1924. (Though a dozen hit the board between 1895 and 1924; seems people didn't used to be so set against running fillies vs. colts.) So if Rachel does win, I'd say that's pretty historic.

    And if Mine That Bird isn't good enough to beat Rachel in the Preakness, why is that just a case of her spoiling a Triple Crown? What if he's 10th? Or what if she runs back at Belmont and beats him again?

    I want to see the best 3-year-olds in the race. She's one of the best 3-year-olds, regardless of gender. Her alternative is a G2 race vs. a G1. Why should she be punished for a lack of testicles? After all, he doesn't have any either. :-)

  3. As a P.S., considering one knock against her is she didn't run in the Derby, should that have eliminated Bernardini or Red Bullet from Preakness entry? What about Deputed Testamony or Aloma's Ruler?

    Or Codex in 1980, who didn't run in the Derby but relegated Derby-winning filly Genuine Risk to second in the Preakness? Genuine Risk won the Derby and was second in both Preakness and Belmont, beaten each time by non-Derby starters (Temperence Hill got her in New York).

    The Preakness is often 50 percent filled with "new-shooters." So this time one of them's a filly. I'm surprised that's such a big deal.


I welcome comments, including criticism and debate. But jerks and the vulgar will not be tolerated.