Sunday, May 17, 2009

'Twas the Filly versus the Boys

Leg 2 of the Triple Crown - billed as the battle of the sexes.

As expected, Rachel Alexandra won (last filly to win the Preakness was Nellie Morse in 1924). And yes, I did make money on the race.

However, her connections are being totally non-comittal about the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown - the Belmont. The Belmont is the oldest and, at 1 1/2 miles, the longest of the 3 legs (the Preakness is the shortest of the three races). The Belmont is also deservedly called the "Test of the Champions". If they wuss out and don't run her they'll give all kinds of excuses like "we want to do what's best for the filly" or "she deserves a rest"... blah blah blah. However, I'm not a fan of Jess Jackson and feel he'll just be afraid to run her because she might actually have to run a champion race. I'm not knocking RA - she's a marvelous horse. It's just that Jackson wanted to run her in the Preakness because he didn't think Mine That Bird's Derby win was anything but a fluke win and didn't think any other horse in the Preakness field would give her any competition.

However, Mine That Bird proved his Derby win was for real and he lost by only 3/4ths of a length (not a full length as it's been said again and again). Anyone with a brain knew that the Preakness, at 1 3/16ths fo a mile, had the potential for being problematic for MTB as it was going to be too short of a race for his running style. He's a stalker, a "come from behind" runner and he would have surely beat RA if he hadn't been forced to run seven-wide at the quarter pole before being able to move into contention. RA not only didn't grab the surface well she was tiring noticeably at the end and was fortunate that the race ended when it did - if not, it would have been MTB in the winner's circle rather than RA.

Mark my words and bet all the money in your entire financial portfolio - Jackson WILL NOT run her in the Belmont - he doesn't have "the stones" to do so. Jackson will also not race her for many more years (in fact, I'll be surprised if he races her much beyond her 3-year old campaign), opting instead to get her in the breeding shed - for God's sake, he's said repeatedly that his goal is to breed RA to Curlin after her racing career is over.

Jackson isn't fooling anyone - it's not about the sport or about the filly, as he would have everyone believe. Just as is the case with his Kendall-Jackson winery (although I do admit the winery makes a marvelous chardonnay, particularily the Vintner's Reserve), it's all about money(for heaven's sake, he's already got his winemakers creating RA limited edition wines... good lord) - for - him.

At the end of the day, if she doesn't run in the Belmont she'll still be a exquisite filly but not a true champion.

And, as a side thought, when Jackson announces he won't run RA in the Belmont (and he WILL) the connections of Mine that Bird will let Calvin Borel get the mount back because Borel was aboard MTB when he won the Derby. I personally think Borel, no matter what he says about prior comittments, etc., shit on MTB's connections by riding RA in the Preakness instead of trying to ride MTB to a Triple Crown but that's life.

Anyway, it's on to the Belmont on June 6th - who will show up? (definitely not RA). Will Mine That Bird run another great race and win or will a freshened horse take the honors? We'll find out in 3 weeks. However, no matter what the results will be Mine That Bird has thus far run his heart out during the Triple Crown campaign and he deserves more "props" - from everyone and everywhere - than any other horse so far this Triple Crown season.