The $1.1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) is the second leg of the Triple Crown, contested at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on the third Saturday in May. Only 77,850, down significantly from the over 112,000 who came last year, were in attendance on a warm afternoon with temperatures in the high 70's. Clouds passed through the day but light showers did not start to fall until the post parade for the Preakness, ending after the post-race ceremonies.
A field of 13 three-year-olds went to post in the 134th renewal of the 1 3/16 mile classic, but the eyes of the racing world were on 9-5 favorite Rachel Alexandra, the only filly in the race exiting a 20-length romp in the Kentucky Oaks, taking on male competition for the first time, and retaining the services of regular rider Calvin Borel. Pioneerof the Nile, who won four straight in California before finishing second in the Kentucky Derby, was the 6-1 second choice over Kentucky Derby upset winner Mine That Bird at 7-1, who had Mike Smith aboard for the first time, replacing Borel who rode him at Churchill Downs.
Rachel Alexandra leads down the stretch with Mine That Bird on the far outside coming on.
When the gate opened, jockey Calvin Borel hustled Rachel Alexandra to the lead alongside Big Drama who got the inside path. Rachel Alexandra kept her head out in front for the pace duel through fractions of 23.13, 46.71, and 1:11.01 over the fast main track. Entering the stretch, Borel asked Rachel Alexandra and she quickly opened up a 4 length lead over the tiring Big Drama at the 1/8 pole through a mile in 1:35.82. Mine That Bird, who was last through the first 1/2 mile, came out 5 wide into the lane and closed strongly through the stretch but was left with too much ground to make up, as Rachel Alexandra held him off by just 1 dwindling length in a time of 1:55.08. It was another 1/2 length back to 11-1 Musket Man third, while Pioneerof the Nile sat midpack fifth for 6 furlongs but tired late and finished 11th beaten 26 lengths. Rachel Alexandra is the fifth filly to win the Preakness and the first since Nellie Morse in 1924.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show
13 Rachel Alexandra Borel 5.60 4.60 3.60
2 Mine That Bird Smith 6.60 4.80
3 Musket Man Coa 5.00
Winning Time: 1:55.08
$2 Exacta 13-2 39.20
$2 Trifecta 13-2-3 216.20
$1 Superfecta 13-2-3-10 2,903.80
$2 BE Susan-Preakness double 16.60
Left: Rachel Alexandra parades for the fans after winning the Preakness. Jockey Calvin Borel said, "I just knew it was the right decision (to choose to stay with the filly). I mean I'm paid to win and I knew she was going to win. All along I knew she was the best horse to ride all along. Sometimes you have to make a decision, and I had to make that decision, and I just got to thank Mr. Jackson to give me the opportunity to ride the filly."
Right: The trophy presentation with owner Jess Jackson holding up the trophy, jockey Calvin Borel, and trainer Steve Asmussen. Winning owner Jess Jackson said, "She just wants to run. Gender doesn't matter. A thoroughbred wants to run, and if a filly is as good as the colts, they ought to compete. That was my position and that's why we came. Monitored her health very carefully to make sure she was fit and ready. I think she could have been even faster if she had a little more time and she had a turf that didn't break away from her as she was running. But, at the same time, she showed the heart and skill of a champion, so I'm delighted that our decision not vindicated but was correct. I'd love to race in New York. The Belmont is always a consideration for a champion. It will depend on her. The horse always tells you whether they're ready."
Left: Rachel Alexandra heads to the test barn after the Preakness as assistant trainer Scott Blasi waves.
Right: Rachel Alexandra in the post parade. Winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, "Filly broke a little bit to the right early. The second quarter I thought was a little quick. She stayed on well. I think that, you know, the three things that I want to cover is Rachel Alexandra is good enough to win the Preakness and she proved that. (Previous trainer) Hal Wiggins and his staff did an unbelievable job to have her in this sort of shape mentally and physically. I can't say enough about Jess stepping up. Everybody talking about what they thought she was capable of. To step up and put her in this position, it definitely took some guts to do so. She had something to prove, lot of questions. I felt that she proved it emphatically. You mentioned the race didn't unfold exactly as we expected it to. She was still good enough to win a classic. She's a true champion, tremendous talent and be treated with the respect that that deserves."
Left: Rachel Alexandra in second as they pass by for the first time. Winning jockey Calvin Borel said, "She's the best horse in the country right now bar none. I love the colt. The colt ran a super race with me in the Derby and, you know, my filly, she kind of struggled the last quarter of a mile. When she went to reaching like I know she can, the ground was breaking out under her a little bit. When she left the gate, she kind of took a little bad step. Usually I just let the reins back on in and she just cruises. I had to reach and pick up about the 1/4 pole just to support her a little bit, but I think we could have went another round with her. She got so much determination. When you look in the filly's eyes, it's unbelievable. You win."
Right: Rachel Alexandra walks over to be saddled for the Preakness. She was saddled in the regular indoor paddock then walked out to the turf course saddle area.
Left: Second place finisher Mine That Bird in the post parade. His trainer Chip Woolley said, "I'm thrilled to death with the race my little horse ran. Everything was going according to Hoyle, until the turn when he was fanned a little wide. I thought we had a chance at the 1/8 pole. But you have to give that filly credit. She's a great one. The Belmont is next for us."
Right: Mine That Bird in last as they pass by the first time. His jockey Mike Smith said, "He's a tough little dude. He worked his way through there and kept on trying. If we could have gone another 1/16 mile, I think he would have tackled her. On the backstretch, I tried to duck back in, but there was a lot of traffic. I had to do what I had to do. Honestly, he's one of the best I've been on. He's very balanced. (Rachel Alexandra) beat the greatest colts in the country today. You have to take your hat off to her. I thought she'd come back to me, but she kept on going."
Third place finisher Musket Man in the post parade. His trainer Derek Ryan said, "I saw (Rachel Alexandra) breezing at Churchill before the Oaks and I knew she was a super star. My horse ran well, but we got beat by a great one. She's a filly for the ages."
His jockey Eibar Coa said, "No complaints at all. I had a good trip, except at one point at the 5/16 pole. I had to stop riding for three jumps. I think that cost me second place."
Triple Crown quick links:
Oxbow upsets in the Preakness - Oxbow led the entire way in the Preakness Stakes (G1) on Saturday at Pimlico with Itsmyluckyday second and Mylute third. Heavy favorite Orb made a mild move to finish fourth. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Preakness undercard stakes results - There were 7 other stakes on the card, highlighted by the Dixie Stakes (G2) won by Skyring and the Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (G3) won by Summer Applause. Get the results, charts, and photos for 6 of the races here.
Fiftyshadesofhay wins the Black-Eyed Susan - Fiftyshadesofhay just got up to win the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) on Friday at Pimlico by a neck over Marathon Lady with favorite Emollient 6th. On the undercard, Last Gunfighter won the Pimlico Special (G3). Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Analyzing the Preakness Stakes Contenders for 2013 - My annual analysis using popular angles and statistical trends to see who best matches the profile of a Preakness winner. The big surprise is that Kentucky Derby winner Orb is not in the top group!
Orb wins the Kentucky Derby - Orb was far back early but took the lead in the stretch and drew off to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) by 2 1/2 lengths over longshot Golden Soul and Revolutionary. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
More Kentucky Derby Photos - More photos from the day including more of Orb, the trophy, the roses, Martina McBride, and lots of mud.
Kentucky Derby undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Derby day including the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) won by 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan and the Humana Distaff Stakes (G1) won by Aubby K. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Princess of Sylmar upsets in the Kentucky Oaks - She rallied from far back to win the Kentucky Oaks by a half length over Beholder and Unlimited Budget, while favorite Dreaming of Julia was fourth. Get the results, chart, and photos here.
Kentucky Oaks undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Oaks day including the La Troienne Stakes (G2) won by Authenticity and the Alysheba Stakes (G3) won by Take Charge Indy. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Kentucky Oaks Entries - A field of 11 fillies will go, with Gulfstream Oaks winner Dreaming of Julia favorite at 3-1 from post 8. Get the post positions, odds, and free past performances here.
Top Kentucky Derby Contenders - my list of the top horses headed to the Derby with profiles for each with photos, stats, and link to more info like past performances and pedigree.
Analyzing the top 2013 Kentucky Derby contenders - My annual analysis of the top contenders to try and select a winner by matching each to the profile of a Kentucky Derby winner using many of the more popular angles and statistical trends. This year there were is a 3-way tie for the top spot: Goldencents, Normandy Invasion, and Overanalyze.
2013 Kentucky Derby And Oaks Security - New enhanced stricter rules will be enforced this year. Be sure to read the rules as many have changed and more things are banned. There will still be magnetic wand searches of all patrons and many things are no longer allowed. Check here to make sure you don't bring anything they will confiscate.
Review: Triple Crown Handicapper 2013 - by Jim Mazur. Includes lots of stats for all 3 races and explains how to use a system of statistically derived negative angles to eliminate the "bad" picks.
Review: Kentucky Derby Greatest Moments - Commemorative DVD from Churchill Downs with video from 27 different runnings along with interviews, photos, and historical info. Definitely recommended for any racing fan!
Review: Churchill Downs - America's Most Historic Racetrack by Kimberly Gatto. An entertaining and informative account of the history of the track and it's most famous race, the Kentucky Derby, with lots of photos. Definitely recommended.