Horseracing

Rachel Alexandra wins Preakness Stakes

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BALTIMORE (AP)

Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes since 1924, holding off a late charge by Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird to capture the middle jewel of the U.S. Triple Crown by a length on Saturday. A rangy bay who is as big as most of the horses she beat, Rachel Alexandra shot to the front and took a sizable lead before Mine That Bird tested her in the straight. The 9-5 favorite beat him by a length in her first race against the boys. Calvin Borel, who rode Mine That Bird in the Derby, validated his switch to Rachel Alexandra by guiding her to a sixth straight victory. Now Borel may get a shot at a personal Triple Crown, if Rachel Alexandra goes on to the Belmont Stakes in three weeks. The 1 1/2-mile (2,400-meter) race is the most grueling of the three. "I'm not worried about nothing," he said. "It's going to take a racehorse to beat her." Musket Man finished third, as he did in the Derby, followed by Flying Private and Big Drama. The only filly in the 13-horse race, Rachel Alexandra covered the 1 3-16th miles (1,900 meters) in 1:55.08. The winner earned $660,000 from the purse of $1.1 million.
Fantastic fillies
Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to win the Preakness since 1924 on Saturday. A list of victorious fillies in Triple Crown races:
Year
Horse
Race
2009
Rachel Alexandra
Preakness Stakes
2007
Rags to Riches
Belmont Stakes
1988
Winning Colors
Kentucky Derby
1980
Genuine Risk
Kentucky Derby
1924
Nellie Morse
Preakness Stakes
1915
Rhine Maiden
Preakness Stakes
1915
Regret
Kentucky Derby
1906
Whimsical
Preakness Stakes
1905
Tanya
Belmont Stakes
1903
Flocarline
Preakness Stakes
1867
Ruthless
Belmont Stakes
Papa Clem was sixth, followed by Terrain, Luv Gov, General Quarters, Friesan Fire, Pioneerof the Nile, Tone It Down and Take the Points. The last filly to win the Preakness was Nellie Morse in 1924. Rachel Alexandra became the second filly to go off as the wagering favorite and win. Whimsical at 8-5 odds was the first, in 1906. Rachel Alexandra stumbled slightly leaving the gate, then stuck her head in front at the first turn and refused to give way. Her first challenge was to get rid of Big Drama, a persistent presence from inside down the backside and into the final turn. Once she shook him loose and opened up the four-length lead at the top of the straight, Mine That Bird made a run at her. "I'm thrilled to death with the race my little horse ran," said Chip Woolley Jr., who trains Mine That Bird. "You have to give that filly credit. She's a great one." She crossed the finish line to the cheers of 77,850 fans — the smallest crowd since 1983 — at Pimlico Racecourse. "Awesome," said Bob Baffert, who trains Pioneerof the Nile. "Rachel Alexandra is amazing. She took the heat and kept on going."
The ending was far different from the last time a filly challenged the boys. Eight Belles finished a gallant second in last year's Kentucky Derby, then broke both front legs while galloping past the finish line and was destroyed on the track. This time, it was all cheers. No tears. Rachel Alexandra, marked by two white spots on her head, wasn't even supposed to be in the Preakness. Her original owners, who named the filly after a 13-year-old granddaughter, didn't nominate her to the Triple Crown races, believing fillies should run only against their own gender. After her stunning victory by 20 1/4 lengths in the Kentucky Oaks, the day before the Derby, Rachel Alexandra was sold to Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson winery, and Harold McCormick. They ponied up $100,000 to buy her a spot in the race, and the gamble paid off. "There was a lot of social criticism and doubt about whether she was capable," Jackson said. "I think I would've taken some heat if she hadn't performed well, so that takes some heat off my shoulders." Borel had total faith in the filly, making the unprecedented decision to dump Mine That Bird after his stunning Derby victory at 50-1 odds. "She's the best horse in the country right now, bar none," he said. Fans hoping for a rematch in the Belmont will have to wait a few days for a decision, although Mine That Bird will definitely run. "I'll depend on her. The horse always tells you if they're ready," Jackson said. "Would we love to run? Yes. Could she win? We think so. We've already shown she can run with colts. It's a question now of her best interest."
The 134th running of the Preakness Stakes
Horse Jockey Wt. PP St 1/4 1/2 3/4 Str. Fin. To $2
Rachel Alexandra Borel 121 13 7 1-hd 1-hd 1-½ 1-4 1-1 3.60
Mine That Bird Smith 126 2 13 13 13 11-3 4-hd 2-½ 13.20
Musket Man Coa 126 3 8 8-½ 8-2 7-1 3-2 3-2½ 22.20
Flying Private Alan Garcia 126 10 11 10-hd 10-hd 10-hd 6-1 4-1½ 50.80
Big Drama Velazquez 126 1 1 2-2 2-1½ 2-1 2-hd 5-2¼ 20.80
Papa Clem Bejarano 126 7 5 6-1 4-hd 4-1 5-1 6-nk 28.20
Terrain Rose 126 6 12 12-4 12-2½ 9-2½ 7-3 7-¾ 51.60
Luv Gov Theriot 126 4 10 11-2½ 11-½ 12-hd 10-3 8-2¼ 48.20
General Quarters Leparoux 126 8 6 7-1½ 7-2 6-1 8-½ 9-7¾ 32.60
Friesan Fire Saez 126 5 3 3-½ 3-1 3-1 9-hd 10-7¼ 18.00
Pioneerof the Nile Gomez 126 9 4 4-½ 5-hd 5-hd 11-7 11-6¼ 12.20
Tone It Down Desormeaux 126 12 9 9-5 9-3 13 12-1½ 12-½ 27.80
Take The Points Prado 126 11 2 5-hd 6-½ 8-hd 13 13 36.00

Time: 23.13, 46.71, 1:11.01, 1:35.82, 1:55.08. Track fast. (sealed).

Pgm Horse Win Place Show
13 Rachel Alexandra 5.60 4.60 3.60
2 Mine That Bird   6.60 4.80
3 Musket Man     5.00

$2 Exacta (13-2) Paid $39.20
$2 Trifecta (13-2-3) Paid $216.20
$2 Superfecta (13-2-3-10) Paid $5,807.60
$2 Super High Five (13-2-3-10-1) Paid $34,003.20
$2 Pick 3 (1/8-3/9-13) Paid $94.80
$2 Pick 4 (4/5/8-1/8-3/9-13) Paid $130.20
$2 Daily Double (B.E. Susan/Preakness - 2-13) Paid $16.80
$2 Daily Double (3-13) Paid $20.00

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