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(Don’t) Sweep the Leg

So, it’s official – Rachel Alexandra is in, and has the outside post. I’m viewing this as a positive, given what has happened in the modern era in terms of fillies in the Preakness – for some reason, seems to have been open season on them, far more than it has been on, say, Derby winners. Most famously we had Angel Cordero whipping Genuine Risk in the face (as well as pushing her to the outside) in what surely beats the Smarty Jones Belmont cavalry charge as one of the nastiest bits of riding in Triple Crown memory.

While it was not quite as egregious an event, Winning Colors was certainly not helped by her early speed duel with Forty Niner in the 1988 Preakness. In that case, though, given her reputation as a front runner, it seemed the only way to beat her – and, indeed, it worked, although it also torpedoed Forty Niner’s chances – he finished well back in the pack, while Winning Colors managed to hang on for third. It wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t unexpected either – and in the end, the best horse (Risen Star, who was not really involved in that part of the drama) won.

I also find it interesting there is still some hand-wringing over the two-week turnaround for Rachel Alexandra, when it seems even less than an afterthought for the colts who ran in the Derby. While I would not want to invite any, I am a little surprised that there isn’t minor outrage over Friesan Fire running in the Preakness, given his rough Derby trip and his connections. Again, I don’t suggest there should be any, but it seems like a more appropriate place for those who live in the realm of constant worry to set up shop.

On the whole, I don’t think anyone has any great advantage or disadvantage based on post position – so hopefully we will be in the lucky position of watching some talented horses race, without any ‘special’ treatment for the Oaks and Derby winners.

Finally, does anyone have an extra Preakness ticket (for a reserved seat, not the infield)? If so, get in touch! I will even wear a dress, if it’s in a section that goes in for that sort of thing.

Check back tomorrow for more on the undercard and some quite thoroughly-mulled-over thoughts on each Preakness runner.

Post Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Big Drama J. Velazquez D. Fawkes 10-1
2 Mine That Bird M. Smith B. Woolley Jr. 9-2
3 Musket Man E. Coa D. Ryan 10-1
4 Luv Gov J. Theriot D.W. Lukas 50-1
5 Friesan Fire G. Saez L. Jones 10-1
6 Terrain J. Rose A. Stall Jr. 30-1
7 Papa Clem R. Bejarano G. Stute 8-1
8 General Quarters J. Leparoux T. McCarthy 20-1
9 Pioneerof the Nile G. Gomez B. Baffert 5-1
10 Flying Private A. Garcia D.W. Lukas 50-1
11 Take the Points E. Prado T. Pletcher 50-1
12 Tone It Down K. Desormeaux W. Komlo 50-1
13 Rachel Alexandra C. Borel S. Asmussen 9-5

7 comments to (Don’t) Sweep the Leg

  • Glenn Craven

    I, too, wonder why there’s so much fuss about a filly running back in two weeks when nobody seems to consider it a huge danger for the colts. Heck, she raced on Friday at Churchill. She gets an extra day of rest! … Not sure I like the 13 post, but I’m admittedly sports-superstitious. Also could leave her hung out very wide, especially if the jocks to the inside are (intentionally?) uncooperative.

  • The_Knight_Sky

    One of the main points why the experts are bringing up the short rest for Rachel Alexandra is that this is not the way Team Asmussen usually operates.

    When Curlin was transferred to the new barn, he got tutelage for a month and a half before being unveiled to the public.

    There are lots of question marks for the Morning Line favorite such as the probable pace pressure, trip, footing, males, distance, etc. and she must answer them all – at a short price – perhaps a potentially $5.00 mutuel. No thanks. 😉

  • Jan Hoadley

    There’s much comparing the idea of her running to Eight Belles and Go For Wand – both tragic. But nothing on Genuine Risk, Winning Colors etc who HAVE held up to schedules and competed on the colt’s terms. Maybe that is what they’re afraid of. No excuses – let her run, if she doesn’t rate and gets beaten she’s not quite as she’s shown so far. If she outruns the colts it is an indication the best 3 year old running isn’t a colt – on their terms.

  • Rufus Youngblood

    Knight Sky is right about the fact that she may be an underlay, but not because of most of the reasons listed. There are several other good horses in the field and she did run so well last time one wonders if she might regress. Still, colts often run there biggest race up to that point in the Derby and no one says they should skip the Preakness.
    The other reasons are non-issues. Horses face pace pressure in races all the time. The trip will affect everyone’s chance, not just hers. As will the footing (she’s proven she can run in the slop). The extra 1/16th of a mile for a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro is not much of a negative. I’m tired of talking about the male factor — it is simply a made up issue which only Americans buy into. Worry about poor breeding practices and drugs, not sex.
    The new trainer angle could be a factor but there’s no clear reason why. Same jockey. One good work. The assistant trainer is even a friend of her former exercise rider.
    She certainly might lose. But 4 triple digit Beyers in a row when no one else in the field has more than one? To not be the favorite for that and that reason alone would be an absolute absurdity.
    Of course there are questions. If there weren’t question marks, it wouldn’t be a horse race.

  • Amateurcapper

    I’m confused over FRIESAN FIRE’s presence. Does this mean that LARRY JONES was blowing the excuse out of proportion? IMO, FF’s a toss out because he hasn’t had a substantial race since the Louisiana Derby two months ago.

    THE KNIGHT SKY…Can’t compare barn switch situation of CURLIN to RACHEL’s; ASMUSSEN had the HOY on steroids so I’m not so sure it was his great training during that gap more than the drugs. Dismiss her for other question marks, not for that.

    JAN HOADLEY…RACHEL will have to be tons the best to press the pace of BIG DRAMA and withstand the closing bids of the colts from unlucky post 13.

    RUFUS…colts since 1992 that won the Preakness usually ran a new top Beyer speed figure on that day. In fact, that happened 12 out of 16 times…hence the 111 BSF par for the race.

  • Rufus Youngblood

    Exactly my point Amateurcapper. Just because RA ran her highest BSF so far on Oaks day, and colts often do the same in the Derby, and then run even faster in the Preakness, we should assume she might do the same.
    There are lots of people who think that because Borel didn’t ask her for anything, she’s sitting on something really big.
    I’m not sure why she needs or wants to press the pace. For her to stalk, either closely or a few lengths back if BD seems to be going a little quick would be ideal.
    My feeling that she faces no more questions than the colts does not change the fact that I’ve never been a fan of the chalk.

  • The_Knight_Sky

    Well the gal pulled it off at a $5.60 win mutuel.

    Was that a fair price from the 13 post? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Wait till next year. 😉

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