Nathan Stubbs

Borel to make history riding Rachel Alexandra

by Nathan Stubbs

It’s official. Super filly Rachel Alexandra will run in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown. And she will be paired with racing’s new superstar jockey, Calvin Borel of Catahoula, La. It took a lot of jockeying to get Alexandra in the race. While she did not run in the Kentucky Derby, Rachel Alexandra’s new owners are ready to have her compete with the boys. That prompted other Preakness competitors to signal they might fill any open slots with other horses of their own, in effect keeping Rachel Alexandra out. Finally, the dust has settled and Alexandra is in.

Her entry means that Cajun jockey Borel will not be riding Mine That Bird, the 50-1 longshot he guided to a stunning victory in the derby and the only horse with a shot at winning the Triple Crown (and the horse that Borel is riding on the cover of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated). Rather, Borel is choosing Rachel, a horse he has called the best he has ever ridden. Borel is undefeated in five races this year atop Rachel Alexandra. The duo won the Kentucky Oaks, the premier race of top fillies, by 20 1/4 lengths.

This will be the first time in horse racing history that the winning jockey from the Kentucky Derby will ride a different horse in the Preakness. There have only been three occassions (the last in 1946) where the Derby-winning horse had a new jockey for the Preakness. Only Bold Venture, in 1936, won the first two races of the Triple Crown under different jockeys, Ira Hanford and George Woolf.

Borel and Rachel Alexandra appear to be the early favorite at the Preakness.