Preakness or Belmont for Rachel Alexandra? New owners don't know yet

Posted: May 08, 2009

Watch out boys, here she comes. Maybe.

Fabulous filly Rachel Alexandra could be headed for the Preakness next weekend or the Belmont Stakes in June after the Kentucky Oaks winner was sold to Stonestreet Stables on Wednesday - less than a week since her recordsetting victory in the female version of the Kentucky Derby.

If she enters the Preakness, jockey Calvin Borel likely will be right with her. Borel, who rode her to victory in last Friday's Oaks, then won the Derby the next day aboard 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird, called her the most talented he's ever been on during his lengthy career.

Speaking between races yesterday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., he didn't hesitate when asked which horse he'd choose if forced to decide between Rachel Alexandra and Mine That Bird.

"She's a once-in-a-lifetime horse," Borel said.

Stonestreet owner Jess Jackson yesterday moved the 3-year-old filly to the barn of Steve Asmussen at Churchill Downs, hours after completing the purchase from Dolphus Morrison and Michael Lauffer. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rachel Alexandra, previously trained by Hal Wiggins, has won five straight and put together one of the more dominating performances in racing with a record 20 1/4-length romp in the Oaks.

Rachel Alexandra could be entered in the Preakness on May 16, though Jackson would have to pay a $100,000 supplemental fee. Even then, the filly could be bumped from the field if a horse already nominated for the Triple Crown race chooses to run. The Preakness is limited to 14 horses.

Nellie Morse is the last filly to win the Preakness, capturing the race in 1924. Only three fillies have even entered the race in the past 70 years, the last being Excellent Meeting in 1999.

The Belmont on June 6 could be a more likely choice. Rags to Riches became the first filly in more than a century to win that race when she edged Curlin by a head 2 years ago.

While Rachel Alexandra's next race remains a question, Jackson already has plans to breed her to Curlin upon her retirement.

Noteworthy

* Steeplechase and hurdle racing was suspended in Australia's Victoria state after the deaths of three horses in 2 days at the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival. The deaths raised the toll to seven horses needing to be euthanized in less than 2 weeks in jumps racing in the state. *

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