Courtesy of Rob Fundter, The Amateur Capper
has been the best horse on the track in each of her four starts this year. The compelling question in the 134th
Preakness Stakes is whether the filly is more horse than her male
counterparts. Pimlico morning line maker
FRANK CARULLI believes she is, installing her as the 8-5 favorite, despite the
presence of the top four Kentucky Derby finishers.
Her dominance of
the 3y.o. filly division in 2009 culminated with a win in the Kentucky Oaks on
May 1. Her 20 ¼ length win compelled
JESS JACKSON to purchase the likely champion for an undisclosed sum (believed
to be in the $10 million range) just five days later. RACHEL has been supplemented to the Triple
Crown series for $100,000 making her eligible for the Preakness Stakes this
There was much
controversy after her new connections confirmed RACHEL ALEXANDRA would be
running in the Preakness. Connections of
the Derby winner MINE THAT BIRD and runner-up PIONEEROF THE NILE were
reportedly conspiring to keep the filly from running, but came to their senses
before entries were taken.
will be heavily supported on the third Saturday in May, in large part because
she is the fairer of the equine genders.
This sentiment could drive her starting odds even lower than listed
despite her. For those enthusiasts who
will be placing a wager on the Preakness Stakes, she may not hold enough
value. Here are some critical points
about RACHEL to consider:
1. UNDEFEATED AROUND TWO TURNS.
RACHEL is not
the only entrant with that distinction:
BIG DRAMA has won his two tries around two turns and enters today off a
fast win in the G.2 Swale S. at Gulfstream Park.
2. UNDEFEATED WITH CALVIN BOREL
was forced to pick between the Kentucky Derby winner MINE THAT BIRD and RACHEL
ALEXANDRA. Borel has been quoted as
saying the filly's the best horse he's ever ridden. That's big praise considering he piloted
juvenile champion STREET SENSE to '05 Champion 2y.o. and a Derby win and a
narrow Preakness defeat just two years ago.
3. WINS ON FAST OR WET DIRT
Grounds Oaks win on a sloppy/sealed track was easy, nearly on a par with
Louisiana Derby hero FRIESAN FIRE, who'd completed his race in "driving"
4. HASN'T FACED SPRINTER-QUALITY SPEED
In BIG DRAMA,
RACHEL will be forced to chase a pace similar to the one that sapped her late
energy as a two year old.
5. DIDN'T RUN IN THE DERBY
only two horses have won the Preakness without starting in the Derby. BERNARDINI posted a big 12-1 upset in 2006
when BARBARO sustained a life-ending (eventually) leg injury. The other was 6-1 RED BULLET in 2000.
assigned to each of these points will help you determine whether RACHEL ALEXANDRA
can defeat the boys this Saturday.
Who do I
On a fast
track, PIONEEROF THE NILE was my Derby selection and his 2nd in the
Derby did nothing to diminish his standing in my eyes. BIG DRAMA is perfectly spotted to use his ample
speed to establish a lead and the tight, minimally banked Pimlico turns will
help him negotiate the longest race of his career. Like eventual champion sprinter CHEROKEE RUN,
I would not be surprised to see BIG DRAMA hang on for a share. PAPA CLEM can improve on his Derby 4th.
track become "off", MINE THAT BIRD and RACHEL ALEXANDRA will become major