It happened in one minute and 55 seconds, too quickly to cheer properly: The first filly since 1924 to win the iconic Preakness Stakes. “The lady is a champ,” The Daily News reported gleefully:
Rachel Alexandra, the filly whose jockey chose her over the prom king winner of the Kentucky Derby, held off her hard-charging rival in the 134th Preakness Stakes Saturday at Pimlico, scoring a diminishing-length victory over Mine That Bird, and added some badly needed sex appeal to the Triple Crown.
The bay filly with a broken white blaze dueled with the fractious colt Big Drama out of the gate and all the way into the backstretch, then pulled ahead by two lengths heading into the homestretch, where Derby winner Mine That Bird exploded under jockey Mike Smith.
As WVFC’s own Laura Sillerman noted on Friday, the emergence of the powerhouse that is Rachel Alexandra has already made some waves. And all week, sisters have been paying attention — among them talk-radio host Ann Quasman, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“Girl Power at the Preakness!” Quasman trumpeted yesterday on her Twitter account. The filly is also bringing some much-needed star power to the struggling racing industry.
“Anything that can inject some life into this sport,” says Allie Conrad, executive director of CANTER Mid-Atlantic, a Maryland racehorse rescue organization, who’s rooting for the filly and hoping her sheer athletic power can help turn the sport around.
Jockey Claude Borel, who had originally been scheduled to rise rival horse Name That Bird, told The New York Times that in today’s pelting rain, Rachel Alexandra had “struggled with the surface,” but added that he never doubted that they would win: “She’s the greatest horse I’ve ever been on in my life,” he added.
On MSNBC, the talk was that women’s takeover of the world is complete: “And now they own horse racing!” We’re not as smug as all that, but today certainly wasn’t a bad start.