Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Preakness Buzz

Pimlico Race Course

Obstacles now clear, Rachel Alexandra appears to finally be set to take on the boys in the Preakness. After the announcement by owner Jess Jackson that the sensational filly would be entered in the race, a small group of owners headed by the ownership groups of Mine That Bird and Pioneer of the Nile devised a plan to block the filly from getting into the race. The Preakness is limited to 14 starters and the group threatened to enter additional Triple Crown nominated horses in the race so there would be no room in the race for Rachel Alexandra, who is not Triple Crown nominated. The group finally decided to drop the plan late Sunday. Assuming Jackson actually pays the $100,000 fee to supplement "Rachel" into the Preakness, the Pimlico odds maker has said that she would be the morning line favorite.

Rachel Alexandra, Pioneerof The Nile and Terrain are scheduled to fly from Churchill Downs to Baltimore on Wednesday. Rachel Alexandra is scheduled to gallop at Churchill Downs on Wednesday before leaving for Pimlico.

Mine That Bird trainer, Chip Wooley, hitched his trailer up to his pickup this morning and set off on the 10 hour drive from Louisville to Baltimore to van his Derby winner to compete in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Trainer Wooley announced that if Rachel Alexandra is actually entered in the Preakness on Wednesday when entries are due that Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has agreed to take the mount on Mine That Bird. Calvin Borel, who rode Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby, is committed to riding Rachel Alexandra.

Trainer Tom McCarthy said that General Quarters would also be vanned from Louisville to Baltimore on Tuesday.

Fresian Fire (18th as the favorite in the Derby) indicated he was recovered from cuts to his leg from clipping heels in the Kentucky Derby as he fired a bullet work this morning at Pimlico.

Papa Clem (4th in the Derby) worked a leisurely 5 furlongs at Pimlico on Tuesday in his final work before the Preakness.

Musket Man (3rd in the Derby) turned in a bullet work on Tuesday at Monmouth Park.

Big Drama has been working at Calder since his win and then disqualification to 2nd in the Swale Stakes. He has finished first in his last six starts. Trainer David Fawkes announced that John Velasquez will be aboard for the Preakness.

Flying Private (19th in the Derby) and the D. Wayne Lukas new Preakness probable, Luv Guv, were also among the horses making the van trip from Churchill Downs to Pimlico today. Lukas announced that Jamie Theriot will have the ride on Luv Guv.

Take The Points, who will be trainer Todd Pletcher's fourth Preakness starter, remains in Pletchers barn at Belmont Park at this time.

Tone It Down galloped 1 1/2 miles at Laurel on Tuesday. Trainer Bill Komlo indicated that he may give the lightly raced colt a 3/8 mile breeze on Wednesday. Kent Desormeaux will be aboard for the Preakness.

Terrain jogged a half mile and then galloped a mile on the Churchill Downs main track on Tuesday. Trainer Albert Stahl said that Terrain will be on the flight to Baltimore on Wednesday with Rachel Alexandra and Pioneerof The Nile. He also announced that Jeremy Rose, who won the Preakness with Afleet Alex in 2005, will have the mount on Saturday.

Hull, who was the impressive winner of the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs, has been withdrawn from consideration for the Preakness.

Preakness entries are due on Wednesday and the post position draw will also be on Wednesday.