RACHEL IS TOO GREAT
Gut wrenching win in Preakness,
Bird a tough 2nd
(Preakness photo by Terence Dulay)
-To most onlookers yesterday, the battle down the Pimlico backstretch between BIG DRAMA and RACHEL ALEXANDRA seemed to be impossibly fast for the superstar filly who was coming back on 2 weeks rest from her 20 length win in the Kentucky Oaks.
And then the Bird Watchers spotted the move – a blur started up on the right hand side of the TV screens and everyone shouted, ‘here he comes’.
But he went wide and could not catch up this time, losing by just a length to the filly and matching up his 105 Beyer Figure from his Kentucky Derby win.
and now RACHEL can be considered one of the greatest fillies of all time.
Curiously, a great majority of folks at Woodbine poo-pooed the chances of the filly, who seemingly looked unbeatable against an average group of sophomore colts.
Indeed, with a pair of matching 108 Beyer Figures and her incredible strength through the stretch, the daughter of Medaglia D’Oro held on bravely as her rider Calvin Borel did his usual pumping and finger waving at the wire. Much was made about the crowd size, the smallest in years but hey, 77,000 at a track – that does not seem too bad.
The TORONTO STAR had some colour from the aftershock at the track following the Bird’s brave flight (read more below).
MONEY COMES TO MONEY – Have $10 million or so? Buy the best racehorse in the world – give it to a new trainer and the trainer just has to watch the money roll in! Wow, how abot the luck of Steve Asmussen (arm around woman) as owner Jess Jackson supplied him with another star. Jackson hoists the Preakness trophy. The win was dedicated to Cancer research. CindY Pierson Dulay photo.
BALTIMORE SUN REPORTS ON THE PREAKNESS
by Ken Murray
Rachel Alexandra stumbled at the start and struggled down the stretch, but the heralded filly was still good enough to beat surging Mine That Bird to the wire in the 134th Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.
The stirring, one-length victory proved to be vindication for all concerned – for owner Jess Jackson, who opted to send the 3-year-old filly against the boys; for Calvin Borel, who became the first jockey to abandon a Kentucky Derby winner for another Preakness horse; and for Mine That Bird, the smallish gelding with the giant finishing kick.
It was a historic race, the first Preakness victory by a filly since 1924 when Nellie Morse won, and the first time since 1906 that a filly (Whimsical) won here as a favorite. On top of that, Borel was the first rider to win the Derby and Preakness on different horses.
Woodbine draws Bird watchers
SPECIAL TO THE STAR
– Celebration and heartbreak ruled the horsepeople and fans at Woodbine yesterday as Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, Canada’s champion 2-year-old of last year, ran a fast-closing second to super filly Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico racecourse in Baltimore.
“It’s nice to know that (the Derby win) wasn’t a fluke,” said Dave Cotey, the Woodbine owner/trainer who originally bought the 3-year-old gelding for $9,500 two years ago. “He’s proven that he’s the real deal.”
Read the rest at www.thestar.com
IN THE GROOVE
Awesome Rhythm wins again, 81 Beyer Figure
– The best 3-year-old on the grounds at Woodbine right now could be AWESOME RHYTHM who doubled up his stakes scores yesterday with a romping win in the Marine Stakes at 1 1.16 miles. The Kentucky bred by Toccet (the 3yos are his first crop) made a flasHy and happy appearance in post parade, with his ears pricked, relAxed nicely in last place down the backstretch behind fractions of 25 and 48 4/5 (strong winds made for the slow first 2 furlongs) and then started to rev up around the turn while several paths off the rail.
Many in the small field rallied wide and too soon – American invader COLONEL RUTLEDGE swept up 4 wide late on the turn but stalled in the strtech, HIS GREATNESS was always in a stalking position and was in the battle off the turn but weakened and BEAR’S ROCKET also made a 3 wide bid but he came up empty. The winner scored in 1:45.25
Awesome Rhytm was originally an $8,000 Keeneland Movember weanling, then a $10,000 Keeneland Sept. yearling before finally trading handings once more at the April 2yo sale in Ocala. Dominic Triumbari bought him for $20,000. “Actually, Dom did the buying over the phone, he liked his pedigree page and bought him,” said trainer John Ross. “I suggested after his 2yo season (he was a maiden winner from 5 starts) that he take him to Payson Park so he could grow and develop. For me, when you have the right tools, it’s easy.”
Ross is being modest, his team had to work hard to gate school the colt who had trouble in that area and they also spent a lot of time taking him to the paddock to settle him down. The colt is out of the Storm Boot mare Galoshes.
His next target is the Victoria Park Stakes on June 7.
MORE from Saturday at Woodbine
STIRRUP EXCITEMENT died on the track yesterday in the day’s final race. The grey 4-year-old colt, who had a last minute rider change from Ray Sabourin to Dean Deverell, broke down on the turn and fell to the ground. He was put down on the track.
The colt won 2 of 18 races and $58,165 and was maing his first Woodbine start since arriving from Florida for owner Vincent Andrisani and trainer Dominic Polsinelli. The colt was a $32,500 claim last fall by Peter Walder and then lost for $10,000 a few races later to trainer Tommy Schell.
Check tomorrow’s THOROUGHBLOG for more updates on Saturday’s races and stuff from today – the LA LORGNETTE STAKES could sort out the Woodbine Oaks picture this afternoon.