Well, well, well. Rachel Alexandra will go in the 134th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on Saturday. She will more than likely be the heavy favorite in the wake of her crushing win in the Kentucky Oaks on May 1 and the fact that the Derby field really didn't acquit themselves very well the following day.
The owners of Mine That Bird and Pioneerof The Nile were trying to do some shifty maneuvering to try and keep the best three-year-old in the country out of the race, but they backed off. Rachel Alexandra has to supplement for $100,000 to get into the Preakness and any supplement gets second consideration behind any horse previously nominated for the Triple Crown. The other connections were considering entering (and then scratching) lesser horses (one of which I believe is a maiden) to keep the filly out. Thankfully, they thought better of that plan and she is a go and I think that is a good thing. One thing any competitor should want to do is beat the best.
In my opinion, Rachel Alexandra is the best three-year-old in the country (male or female) and she should be in the sport's showcase events. Let's see how she does against the boys. Don't forget it was only two years ago that Rags To Riches topped Curlin to become the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in over a century.
As for Mine That Bird, the connections wanted to keep the filly out, but they also wanted to maintain Calvin Borel in the saddle. They are now going to their second choice, but I have the feeling they will still get a good ride. I also have the feeling they will still get a good price. Mine That Bird should be no less than 10-1 on Saturday. He might be the longest-priced Derby winner ever to run in the Preakness.
It's going to be a fascinating week.
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone...GOODBYE!