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2009 Preakness favorite Rachel Alexandra arrives
at Pimlico late Wednesday afternoon
• Preakness results and photos
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• Wednesday Preakness Photos
Preakness Thursday Photos

Date: 05/14/2009

Thursday morning was very different from the day before with dark cloudy skies, light rain, and cool temperatures. It was still pretty busy with 10 of the 13 Preakness horses already at Pimlico and eight of them were on the track for a gallop. On Wednesday afternoon Rachel Alexandra, Pioneerof the Nile, and Terrain arrived at Pimlico and those photos will be included here as well. The traditional Alibi Breakfast was also this morning and can be seen here.

Unfortunately the weather doesn't look took good for Friday and Saturday, with rain and/or thunderstorms currently predicted for both days and the temperature warming up to the 80's for Preakness day. You can get the latest forecasts here.

Rachel Alexandra arrived on a flight from Louisville and was vanned over from the airport, getting to the track about 4:30pm on Wednesday. unfortunately, she did not come out of the barn on Thursday morning.

Assistant trainer Scott Blasi said, "She ate up great. The main thing is just keeping her happy. We'll take her over to the paddock and that will be her exercise today. She'll gallop tomorrow." Blasi said it is standard procedure in the Asmussen operation to have horses school in the paddock at a new track. Unless they ask to use the indoor paddock, Preakness horses are saddled on the turf course in front of the grandstand. "It's just for her to relax and be comfortable where she's at," Blasi said. "It's something we always do with our horses. She's shipped before and run. We don't want her to be nervous or unaware of where she is."


Mine That Bird galloped his customary two miles under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa Thursday at Pimlico in preparation for Saturday's Preakness Stakes.

"The track looks super to me," trainer Chip Woolley said. "It looks like it could be a little laboring, but overall, it looks good to me. It looks like a little moisture is just the ticket for it."

Pioneerof the Nile was shipped from Louisville to Pimlico Wednesday afternoon. Trainer Bob Baffert, back at the Preakness after a 5 year absence, sent him out to gallop over the track Thursday morning. The colt was scheduled to school in the paddock before the first race.

"The horse went well today," Baffert said. "The track is nice. We've got to keep the weather. I still want to see what my horse does on dirt. I've seen him on sticky mud. I want to see what he does on dirt. He went well today. He looked good out there."

Friesan Fire galloped on the main track under trainer Larry Jones. Jones said, "Hopefully, he's going to rebound. He wasn't the Derby favorite for no reason. Hopefully, he had the credentials to earn that spot. Hopefully, he's going to live up to it and do what he's supposed to do. Everything went well for him. I think it was just a sign of how well he is doing physically and health-wise. I think it was just that he's extremely healthy that got him to heal up (from the cuts to his legs) this fast."

Papa Clem galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Emundo Cedeno. Trainer Gary Stute said, "We'll probably blow him out 1/8 mile, let him gallop to the 1/8 pole (on Friday) and then let him roll. The other day (1:05 for 5/8) he was a little lackadaisical down the lane. I want him to know when he hits that 1/8 pole it means business. Even if I run second to (Rachel Alexandra) and win the Belmont that's the good thing about her being a filly I should still get 3-year-old of the year, 3-year-old colt."

Terrain galloped 1 1/2 miles on Thursday morning after arriving at Pimlico Wednesday afternoon. Trainer Al Stall Jr. said, "The most important thing for him is that he's getting back on a preferred surface. He's the tale of two horses, if you look at his "Poly" (form) and if you look at his dirt (form). It's unbelievable. He's last, second last (early) in every "Poly" race and on the dirt, he's in the bridle wanting to rock, so we're looking forward to getting him back on his preferred surface."

Right: We caught Terrain as he was coming back from the track Friday morning just after we arrived around 8:30am.

Big Drama jogged a mile and galloped a mile under exercise rider Celia Fawkes, wife of trainer David Fawkes. Owner-breeder Harold Queen said, "He has always been laid back. A lot of horses have talent, but the unfortunate thing is they don't take care of themselves in the stall. They self-destruct. From Day One, from when he was weaned, he was always laid back, took care of himself."

General Quarters galloped 1 3/8 miles over a damp Pimlico surface Thursday as light rain fell. Owner-trainer Tom McCarthy said, "He loves this track; it's just like Tampa. He just skipped over it. To see him gallop here and having watched him gallop at Churchill on the cuppy track there, you don't get hold of it very well without some type of a toe grab. They limit us now, so you have no toe grabs more than a quarter of an inch there. On a track like that, especially in mud, you can't get a hold of it."

Flying Private was sent out for a gallop on the main track on Thursday. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "It's good. We really have settled in good. No problems at all. We're very content where we're at."

Luv Gov, the second of two Lukas trainees, also went out on Thursday. The trainer, commenting on his current business, said, "I didn't get into the sale ring for about two years and, consequently, I just had some of the homebreds from Marylou Whitney. But our business has just gone bananas here in the last year. People are calling from everywhere and we've been pleasantly surprised. The bottom line is we got in the sale ring last fall and bought some serious race horses. Our 2-year-olds are awesome, maybe as good as I've had since the mid-80s, and lots of them. We're deep."
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