Rachel Alexandra wins 134th Preakness

Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes in 85 years, beating out Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, who made a late charge from last place but finished second.

Calvin Borel became the first jockey to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown on different horses. He rode Mine That Bird to victory in the Kentucky Derby, but switched horses so he could ride Rachael Alexandra, who was an 8/5 favorite coming into the Preakness.

Borel said after the race that the 3-year old filly struggled with the surface, but was quick to note that Rachael Alexandra was the greatest horse he’s ever been on in his life.

Owners from different horses knew the threat Rachael Alexandra was coming into the Preakness, because some contemplated entering more horses in order to keep her out from the 13-horse field. One of those owners was Mine That Bird’s Mark Allen, who thought about entering colt Indy Express to take up a spot in effort to keep Rachael Alexandra out, but eventually said that he wouldn’t.

Rachael Alexandra has now eight of her last 10 races and it’ll be interesting to see if she runs in the Belmont Stakes on June 6, which is third and final leg of the Triple Crown.

A $2 bet on Rachael Alexandra paid $5.60 and her final margin of victory over Mine That Bird was a length. Musket Man, who had 10/1 odds to win, finished third. (Musket Man finished third at the Kentucky Derby, too.)

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Couch Potato Alert: 5/15

It has been over 30 years, but is this finally the year that we’ll have another Triple Crown winner? Mine That Bird carries the hopes of the entire horse racing community into the Preakness on Saturday, as this sport desperately needs a feel-good story.

Sunday going to be a special day for all couch potatoes. We have an original six matchup in the NHL Western Conference final and not one but two Game 7’s in the NBA playoffs. Enjoy!

All times ET…

NBA Playoffs
Sun, 3:30 PM: Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers (ABC)
Sun, 8 PM: Orlando Magic @ Boston Celtics (TNT)

NHL Playoffs
Sun, 3 PM: Chicago Blackhawks @ Detroit Red Wings (NBC)

Sat, 4:10 PM: New York Mets @ San Francisco Giants (Fox)
Sun., 1 PM: Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees (TBS)
Sun., 8 PM: New York Mets @ San Francisco Giants (ESPN)

Horse Racing
Sat, 4:30 PM: The Preakness Stakes (NBC)

Spot open for favorite Rachel Alexandra to run at Preakness

A spot has opened for odds favorite Rachel Alexandra to run in the 134th running of the Preakness Stakes, ironically thanks to the owner of Triple Crown contender Mine That Bird.

Mine That Bird owner Mark Allen said Monday he wouldn’t enter colt Indy Express into the second jewel of the Triple Crown. That clears the way for the Kentucky Oaks winner to enter the field of 14 for Saturday’s race at Pimlico.

Allen had considered entering Indy Express — winless in nine career starts — over the weekend to take a spot from Rachel Alexandra, but he reconsidered after talking to Mine That Bird trainer Bennie Woolley Jr. and co-owner Leonard Blach.

The race is limited to 14 starters, with preference given to those already pre-nominated to the Triple Crown.

Good for Allen. He would have been vilified had he entered a winless Indy Express just so that Rachel Alexandra (Mine That Bird’s chief competition) couldn’t run in the Preakness.

Rachel Alexandra has been flawless so far in 2009, winning seven of her last nine races. She would add a little excitement to the Preakness, especially after Mine That Bird won the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago despite being a 50/1 long shot.

Mine That Bird will run in Preakness Stakes

Despite reports that stated he could miss the second leg of the Triple Crown, 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird will run in the 134th running of the Preakness Stakes on May 16.

Trainer Chip Woolley had wavered because the mile-and-three-sixteenths Preakness at Pimlico racecourse on May 16 is the shortest of the Triple Crown races and Mine That Bird performs better at longer distances.

“You cannot have a Triple Crown winner without having the Derby winner in the Preakness,” Woolley told the Pimlico racecourse website (www.pimlico.com).

“That played into our decision but the horse looks super. I have never been to Baltimore, but it looks like I won’t be able to say that in a few days.”

Kentucky-bred Mine that Bird, a 50-1 longshot ridden by Calvin Borel, won the Derby Saturday by 6 3/4 lengths, one of the biggest upsets in America’s most celebrated race.

The sport of horse racing would have taken a huge hit had Woolley pulled Mine That Bird from the Preakness Stakes – especially considering how much of a long shot winner Mine That Bird was at the Kentucky Derby.

The Triple Crown is such a rare feat in sports and just like Big Brown last year, it’s fun to get behind a horse that’s in the running for it. Hopefully Woolley doesn’t pull an about-face and pull Mine That Bird leading up to the Preakness.

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