Rachel Alexandra to skip Belmont

Despite blowing the horse racing world away with her performance at the 2009 Preakness, filly Rachel Alexandra will skip the Belmont Stakes this year due to fatigue

As a result, Calvin Borel, who rode Mine That Bird to victory in the Kentucky Derby and Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness, will once again be aboard Mine That Bird in the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown.

Though it was widely thought that Rachel Alexandra would not run in the Belmont, owner Jess Jackson fueled hopes that she would run by not announcing a decision last Monday after the filly had her first work back from the race. But on Friday, Jackson ended speculation by saying he believes the filly would benefit from more time between races.

“We know the media and many fans would have liked to see her run in the Belmont Stakes – we feel the same,” Jackson said in a press release. “But all of us sincerely interested in the horse must agree that we only want to see her run when it is best for her. While she is in great shape, having strong works, and recovering well from her amazing performances, we feel Rachel deserves a well-earned vacation. Since March 14, Rachel has won four graded races with just two weeks’ rest between her last two victories. We will always put her long-term well-being first. And, of course, we want to run her when she is fresh.”

They have to do what’s best for the horse, but man, what a blow to horse racing. Rachel Alexandra became only the fifth filly to win the Preakness and had finished first in each of the five races she ran in this year. She brought some excitement to racing this year (even though she didn’t compete in the Kentucky Derby and won’t compete in the Belmont) and it’s a shame she won’t run in the third leg of the Triple Crown.

That said, Borel’s story is intriguing on its own. He won riding Mine That Bird (a 50/1 long shot) at the Kentucky Derby and then again on Rachael Alexandra in the Preakness. Now he’ll hop back on Mine That Bird for the Belmont and try to win his own version of the Triple Crown. I haven’t seen any odds yet, but I’d be willing to bet that Mine That Bird will be the favorite to win the Belmont since he was victorious at the Kentucky Derby and finished second to Rachael Alexandra in the Preakness.

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