A number of horses from the Kentucky Derby will be entered in the Preakness Stakes betting on Saturday but they will all be underdogs to the filly Rachel Alexandra. Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and Kentucky Derby betting favorite Friesan Fire will be among the horses that look to challenge the talented filly.
Friesan Fire’s trainer Larry Jones knows all about a filly going against the males in a big race. He trained Eight Belles last year when she finished second in the Derby before breaking her ankles and having to be put down. This year Jones is on the opposite end as he has Friesan Fire to challenge Rachel Alexandra. "Anytime the horse is as fast as her, you wish you didn't have to run against them," Jones said, "I've chased her twice with fillies. If I've got any shot of beating her, it's going to have to be with a boy. I ain't got a filly that can try her."
Rachel Alexandra will be the Preakness Stakes betting favorite in what could be full 14-horse field in the Preakness. The entries and post positions will be announced on Wednesday. "She may never know there's any colts in here. She just may go in the front and think there's a bunch of girls chasing her around there," Jones said. A filly has not won the Preakness since 1924 when Nellie Morse hit the winner’s circle.
Some of the other trainers are hoping that Rachel Alexandra will draw extra attention to the Preakness. Gary Stute, who trains Kentucky Derby fourth place finisher Papa Clem, said that the sport needs a good story. "Personally, it's a little disappointing, but for racing I think it's great," he said. "I figure it should bring 20-30,000 extra fans here on Saturday. And when the husbands are watching the race at home, the wives will be watching, too. Racing is in kind of a downward spiral right now, and this can only help it in the long run."
Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert will be sending Pioneerof the Nile against Rachel Alexandra. Baffert was the last trainer to send a filly in the Preakness as he had Excellent Meeting in 1999 but she was pulled up in that race and finished last. "There is going to be a lot of excitement with that filly in there," Baffert said, "She's an incredible athlete. She's going to be forwardly placed, so she'll be out of the way. She's got a beautiful fluid stride and a great turn of foot. She's dangerous."
The addition of Rachel Alexandra has stolen the spotlight from Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird although not many people believe the horse can win the Preakness anyway. "He has to do it twice in a row to make me a believer," Jones said.