Rachel Alexandra Struts Her Stuff In Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE,MD  05-16-09 – A sprinkling of late afternoon rain could not dampen the sparkling performance of Stonestreet Stables LLC & Harold McCormick’s Rachel Alexandra,who took it to the boys and won the 134th running of the Grade 1, $1,100,000 Preakness Stakes Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.  

Before a crowd of 77,850 who contributed to the $86,684,470 which was wagered on the 13-race program, the 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro broke alertly from her far outside post and promptly engaged speedy Big Drama as the field raced toward the clubhouse turn in the 1 3/16-mile classic. She is the fifth filly to win the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, the first since Nellie Morse in 1924.
 
Ridden by Calvin Borel, the tall bay filly pushed her head to the fore as the top pair raced down the backstretch. She never relinquished the lead, opening up by four lengths at the furlong pole before coming under a late assault from Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and Derby third-place finisher Musket Man.
 
At the finish, Rachel Alexandra had won by a length in 1:55.08 over the fast main track. Mine That Bird, under new jockey Mike Smith, rallied to catch Musket Man and finished second, by a half-length. Behind Musket Man, in order, came Flying Private, Big Drama, Papa Clem, Terrain, Luv Gov, General Quarters, Friesan Fire, Pioneerof the Nile, Tone It Down and Take the Points.
 
Rachel Alexandra, the 9-5 favorite, paid $5.60, $4.60 and $3.60 while winning her sixth consecutive race. She topped a $39.20 exacta, a $216.20 trifecta and a $2,903.80 superfecta. The Super High Five, coupling the first five finishers of the race in exact order, paid $17,001.60.
 
Preakness Stakes Quotes
 
Steve Asmussen, winning trainer, Rachel Alexandra – “What an amazing 10 days this has been. I can’t tell you what a fan of the filly I’ve been. They (the filly’s former connections) did a great job with her. Mr. Jackson has been rewarded in his faith with her. I am very blessed.”
 
Calvin Borel, winning jockey, Rachel Alexandra -- “She struggled a lot (with the track) She’s so used to that track at Churchill. She just skips along. She was struggling at the end. It’s such a narrow track, she was pricking her ears. I had to get into her a little bit. The first quarter was good, then, we picked it up. The more I asked her the more she struggled. She’d never been hit before. I knew (Mine that Bird) was coming. It’s going to take a racehorse to beat her. She’s the greatest racehorse I’ve been on in my life. She did not handle the track 110 percent.”
 
Chip Woolley, trainer, Mine That Bird, 2nd – “I’m thrilled to death with the race my little horse ran. Everything was going according to Hoyle, until the turn when he was fanned a little wide. I thought we had a chance at the eighth-pole. But you have to give that filly credit. She’s a great one. The Belmont is next for us.”
 
Mike Smith, jockey, Mine That Bird, 2nd – “He’s a tough little dude. He worked his way through there and kept on trying. If we could have gone another sixteenth of a mile, I think he would have tackled her. On the backstretch, I tried to duck back in, but there was a lot of traffic. I had to do what I had to do. Honestly, he’s one of the best I’ve been on. He’s very balanced. (Rachel Alexandra) beat the greatest colts in the country today. You have to take your hat off to her. I thought she’d come back to me, but she kept on going.”
 
Derek Ryan, trainer, Musket Man, 3rd – “I saw (Rachel Alexandra) breezing at Churchill before the Oaks and I knew she was a super star. My horse ran well, but we got beat by a great one. She’s a filly for the ages.”
 
Eibar Coa, jockey, Musket Man, 3rd – “No complaints at all. I had a good trip, except at one point at the five-sixteenths-pole. I had to stop riding for three jumps. I think that cost me second place.”
 
D. Wayne Lukas, trainer, Flying Private, 4th – “Flying Private ran a hell of a race. He really ran well. We went from 19th in the Derby to 4th in the Preakness. I’m happy. He liked the track a little bit better and he came running. I think we’ll see if he’s fine and go onto the Belmont, which has been our goal since Day One.”
 
Alan Garcia, jockey, Flying Private, 4th – “I got a good trip. At the 3/8ths pole he leveled off a bit and just got tired. I honestly don’t know what happened to him today, because he’s usually a very good horse.”
 
David Fawkes, trainer, Big Drama, 5th – “John (Velazquez) did the best he could. The filly was just super. The race unfolded as I figured it was going to and I was happy that we had a clean trip. We were simply beaten by a super filly.”
 
John Velazquez, jockey, Big Drama, 5th – “We broke OK after that we stumbled, then, he ran off with me. He never really relaxed. I was up there with the filly, but after he flipped in the gate, stumbled and ran off with me, he still ran a good race, but had nothing left in the end.”
 
 Gary Stute, trainer, Papa Clem, 6th – “I’m pretty disappointed. I didn’t see any excuses for him. He was in perfect position and just came up a little empty in the lane, but Rafael rode him perfect. She’s pretty super right now, I’ll tell you that. Mine that Bird ran a big race, too. You’ve got to give him a lot of credit.”
 
Rafael Bejarano, jockey, Papa Clem, 6th – “I can hardly complain. We had a perfect trip on the rail. I was on the rail saving ground. When we got to the stretch, my colt gave me a big run. I thought we were going to get second for sure, but we didn’t. I knew she (Rachel Alexandra) was going to win, but she was great. They went so fast early, but she was still going at the end.”
 
Al Stall Jr., trainer, Terrain, 7th – “I thought with the quick early pace we might be able to make a good run at it. But there was no catching Rachel Alexandra. She ran great. I’m not sure where our race is going to be.”
 
Jeremy Rose, jockey, Terrain, 7th – “He’s a runner. It’s one of those races I’d like to get back again. The trip was beautiful to the quarter pole. I tried to split horses. (The hole) closed and came back. I had at least the second best horse here. It might have been a real horse race if I got through.”
 
D. Wayne Lukas, trainer, Luv Gov, 8th – “He came closing. I thought he was pretty good.”
 
Jamie Theriot, jockey, Luv Gov, 8th – “When he finally found his stride, we made a run with him. He came running. Down the lane he gave all he had. He was a little more underneath me when I got behind horses. Distance is not a problem for him.”
 
Tom McCarthy, trainer, General Quarters, 9th – “Oh yes, I’m just a little disappointed. It was an awful good race. I just think (the jockey) might have had him a little too far forward at the beginning. It took a lot out of him to stay up there. But you have to tip your hat to (Rachel Alexandra). She’s really something special.”
 
Julien Leparoux, jockey, General Quarters, 9th – “We were right where we wanted to be early. I sat behind the horses that I thought I could make a move around. At the three-eighths pole, I came around perfectly, but my horse just got tired.”
 
Larry Jones, trainer, Friesan Fire, 10th – “This was better than the last race, though I couldn’t count all the horses behind him as quick. While we didn’t find the winner’s circle, I have nothing to complain about. Life is still good. The horse and I are still in good spirits and I think good health. My congratulations to the top finishers.”
 
Gabriel Saez, jockey, Friesan Fire, 10th – “He ran a good race. I was behind the filly the whole time. I was right behind the pace and I crossed my rein and he hung. He stopped a little, but he was feeling great. His foot is no problem.”
 
Bob Baffert, trainer, Pioneerof the Nile, 11th – “He never really was comfortable. He was having trouble with the turns. He didn’t run his race. I could tell he was in trouble. Usually, he grabs (the jockey) and takes him. He didn’t do it. He just didn’t give it to us today. We thought he would. Awesome, (Rachel Alexandra) is amazing. She took the heat and kept on going and the Derby winner is for real.”
 
 Garret Gomez, jockey, Pioneerof the Nile, 11th – “I got a good break. My horse was never on the bridle today. He didn’t come close to the way he ran the other day.”
 
Bill Komlo, trainer, Tone It Down, 12th – “I think the horse came out of the race OK, that’s all I’ll know for a while.”
 
 Kent Desormeaux, jockey, Tone It Down, 12th – “That filly is amazing. I’ve got nothing else to say today. We’ll see her at the next stop.”
 
 Todd Pletcher, trainer, Take the Points, 13th – “We got packed out wide a little bit the first turn and had a little bit of bumping with Pioneerof the Nile in front of us. Then, we kind of ran out of horse around the half-mile pole. Rachel Alexandra was great. She took it right to them, led every step of the way. She deserves a lot of credit.”
 
Edgar Prado, jockey, Take the Points, 13th – “I thought he would run a lot better today. I was in perfect position, but at the three-eighths (pole) we didn’t have anything left.”
 
POST RACE NEWS CONFERENCE:
 
ERIC WING:  Okay.  We are now joined live in the interview tent by the winning connections of Rachel Alexandra, the winner of the 134th Preakness Stakes.  From left to right, trainer, Steve Asmussen; owner, principal owner, Jess Jackson; and rider, Calvin Borel. Congratulations to all of you, and Mr. Jackson, I'd like to ask you, first of all, congratulations on a wonderful performance, and there were some who said that that was an aggressive move bringing her back off a big effort in the Kentucky Oaks.  Do you feel that the result today serves as vindication for your decision to run her today in the Preakness?
 
JESS JACKSON:  First of all, she was not that pressed in the Oaks.  If you would watch Calvin ride her, he didn't move a muscle except to look behind her to see if anyone was coming.  She broke down the back stretch and the outrider had to go capture her.  She just wants to run.  Gender doesn't matter.  A thoroughbred wants to run, and if a filly is as good as the colts, they ought to compete.  That was my position and that's why we came.  Monitored her health very carefully to make sure she was fit and ready.  I think she could have been even faster if she had a little more time and she had a turf that didn't break away from her as she was running.  But, at the same time, she showed the heart and skill of a champion, so I'm delighted that our decision not vindicated but was correct.
 
ERIC WING:  And I want to remind people in the press box they can ask questions that will be relayed down here by asking Joe Gordon.  Mr. Jackson, the owner and therefore the boss, I want to ask you the question rather than Steve or Calvin.  Will Rachel Alexandra come back in three weeks for the Belmont Stakes?
 
JESS JACKSON:  We'll look at that.  I'd love to race in New York.  The Belmont is always a consideration for a champion.  It will depend on her.  The horse always tells you whether they're ready.  Steve can give you more details about that.  I've got to talk to Calvin and Steve, of course.  That's a decision my partner, Harold McCormick, should make with me as well. We'll wait for three, four days, see how she comes out of the race.  Then we'll give her the same scrutiny we did with the vets, and of course working her out and get the opinion of everybody that's involved.  Would we love to run?  Yes.  Could she win?  We think so.  We've already shown she can run with colts.  It's a question now of her best interests.  It's always the horse first.  As you knew when we were running Curlin for two years, was champion of the world.  In fact, for two years.  We always looked at the horse and made the determination based upon what the horse told us.  The horse speaks through its body and attitude and its glistening coat.  In the works they define themselves, and she was ready last Sunday and all we had to do is make sure that she stayed ready through the next week or so.
 
ERIC WING:  Okay.  And Steve Asmussen, sounds like you'll be a very key figure in these next week to ten days in determining the answer to what Jess Jackson just posed. First of all, I have a feeling we have three future horsemen standing alongside of you.  Would you do us the favor of introducing them to us.
 
STEVE ASMUSSEN:  Oldest to young, it is Keith, Darren and Eric.
 
ERIC WING:  Eric, Darren and Keith -- Eric, Keith and Darren left to right. Steve, congratulations on a job well done.  You've obviously made no mistakes in the last two weeks.  Your horse was floated out pretty wide into that first turn and she took the lead a little earlier than she had even against filly competition.  Were you concerned at all during the race about how the race was unfolding?
 
STEVE ASMUSSEN:  Concerned?  Yes.  Calvin put it in his hands.  He has the ultimate in her.  Filly broke a little bit to the right early.  The second quarter I thought was a little quick.  She stayed on well.  I think that, you know, the three things that I want to cover is Rachel Alexandra is good enough to win the Preakness and she proved that. Hal Wiggins and his staff did an unbelievable job to have her in this sort of shape mentally and physically.  I can't say enough about Jess stepping up.  Everybody talking about what they thought she was capable of.  To step up and put her in this position, it definitely took some guts to do so.
 
ERIC WING:  Steve Asmussen is a very skilled horseman.  What are you going to be looking for over the next week or so to determine the answer to Jess's question about whether she's read ready for another big test in three weeks?
 
STEVE ASMUSSEN:  Immediately right now it doesn't feel the same as it did before.  She had something to prove, lot of questions.  I felt that she proved it emphatically.  You mentioned the race didn't unfold exactly as we expected it to.  She was still good enough to win a classic.  She's a true champion, tremendous talent and be treated with the respect that that deserves.
 
ERIC WING:  Calvin Borel, congratulations.  Major celebrity not just in racing now but in sports. Are you pleased given all that's happened in the last two weeks?  And obviously as a rider you're focused on your horse winning.  After the fact, are you pleased that the horse who ran a good second to you was Mine That Bird?
 
CALVIN BOREL:  Yes, sir.  Like I told everybody up-front, she's the best horse in the country right now bar none. I can't go back on my word.  I won't go back on my word.  I love the colt.  The colt run a super race with me in the Derby and, you know, my filly, she kind of struggled the last -- I want to say the last quarter of a mile.  When she went to reaching like I know she can, the ground was breaking out under her a little bit.  When she left the gate, she kind of took a little bad step.  Because, you know, usually I just let the reins back on in and she just cruises.  I had to reach and pick up about the quarter pole just to support her a little bit, but I think we could have went another round with her.  She got so much determination.  When you look in the filly's eyes, it's unbelievable.  You win.
ERIC WING:  You win the Derby coming from dead last.  You win the Preakness pretty much on the lead.  Did you think you had the race won, or did you know that Mine That Bird was bearing down on you?
 
CALVIN BOREL:  No, sir.  Turning for home I knew I was home free.
 
ERIC WING:  This one is for Mr. Jackson or Steve Asmussen.  Hearing what you just heard from Calvin, his ability to recognize that perhaps Rachel Alexandra wasn't relishing the surface, does that give you even -- even more satisfaction that you stuck with Calvin who knew the filly, whereas another rider perhaps might not have recognized those same things?
 
JESS JACKSON:  Calvin was the natural rider for this horse.  We just had to go through the process of conferring and making sure Mr. -- Mr. McCormick has joined us here.  I wanted to make sure that Steve and I and particularly Scotty who almost lives with the horse, felt that he was ready or she was ready and that the veterinarian thought she was ready as well.
 
ERIC WING:  Harold McCormick has now joined us to Jess Jackson's right.  Mr. McCormick, congratulations.  Your thoughts during the race as you saw Rachel Alexandra pretty much on the engine around the track, prevailing not just beat the girls but she's beaten the boys now?
 
HAROLD McCORMICK:  Incredibly exciting.  Not many, many, but go baby go.
 
ERIC WING:  Okay.  We'll open it up to questions now again.  Those upstairs in the press box may ask by giving their questions to Joe Gordon, and we'll relay them down, and everybody here is welcome of course also to ask, and I will repeat the questions for the benefit of those listening in the press box.  And Sandy, we'll start with you.  Calvin, could you take us through the ride?
 
CALVIN BOREL:  Yes, sir.  Like I was saying, you know, she -- we stood in the gate for awhile.  The horse slipped, backed out the one horse.  We've been in there for a good 60 seconds, maybe a little bit longer than that.  She kind of got, you know, just -- she's just a natural.  She doesn't move.  She doesn't do nothing.  But she kind of got disfocused a little bit because we were in there so long.  She kind of stumbled leaving to her right.  She got back on her feet quick, and so I had to let her go on and go because I was going to get hung, you know, a little wide and I didn't want that to happen.  I didn't want to be in the middle of the race track in case somebody drove up on the inside of me. I was satisfied with the first quarter.  Then when we headed down the backside, we kind of picked it up.  Like I say, usually I never would put the bit in the mouth, but I had to put in it her mouth today to keep her together because she was kind of struggling and, you know, I think it took a lot out of her, you know, the struggling. But believe what I'm telling you, when the horse is going to come up, she is just unbelievable.  I've never been on a horse and feel so comfortable and ride a horse with so much confidence in my entire life.
 
ERIC WING:  In the couple of weeks or so that you've had the filly, what do you feel was your principal contribution to today's victory?
 
STEVE ASMUSSEN:  Getting out of the way, you know.  Scotty has been with her the whole time, Scott Blasi.  Dominick Terry got on her, did a great job with her in the morning.  I have the ultimate confidence in them.  They're the best there is, and the filly is as talented as advertised, and we've got the saddle to stay on her and got out of the way.
 
ERIC WING:  Steve, another question for you.  You said early the race did not unfold the way you expected it to.  How did you expect the race to unfold?
 
STEVE ASMUSSEN:  I thought the filly broke a little bit to the right, and Calvin had to ask her -- watch the race from far up the stretch.  She broke a little to the right the first couple of steps, she wasn't away from there as clean as she usually is.  He let her get running to get a little position as opposed to being extremely wide and breaking very sharply and waiting from that point.  With her being off the bridle that early and for her to finish up the way she did, I'm very proud of her.
 
ERIC WING:  What were your emotions, Calvin, at the finish line?  Did you feel vindicated about your position, relieved or what?
 
CALVIN BOREL:  No, sir.  I just knew it was the right decision to do.  I mean I'm paid to win and I knew she was going to win.  All along I knew she was the best horse to ride all along.  Sometime you have to make a decision, and I had to make that decision, and I just got to thank Mr. Jackson to give me the opportunity to ride the filly.
 
ERIC WING:  Calvin, another question for you from upstairs in the press box.  I suppose this is a hypothetical question, but if Rachel Alexandra does run in the Belmont, given how Mine That Bird was coming at you late, would the mile and a half be a concern to you?
 
CALVIN BOREL:  I don't think so, sir.
 
ERIC WING:  Additional questions for team Rachel Alexandra.  Jess, given your reputation as a sportsman, not just with Rachel Alexandra but with Curlin, does today's success kind of make you feel even more so that "Yeah, I want to do the Belmont Stakes"?
 
JESS JACKSON:  Depending on the horse.  Again, a comment from my view.  Didn't expect her to hookup in the front end.  She was setting the pace or at least right off the pace for most of the first half mile or three-quarters.  I didn't expect that.  I was thinking that she might be one group behind and on the outside out of trouble. One of my worries in this race was that she might be hooked and have to compete early and get tired.  She did and she won anyway.  She may be coming out more tired than I know. The Belmont will be determined by her and how she rebounds from this race.  That said, she'll run against the boys again somewhere.
 
ERIC WING:  Question from upstairs for Steve and Jess.  Can you compare the feeling or the satisfaction of winning the Preakness today with that of winning the Preakness two years ago with Curlin?
 
JESS JACKSON:  This in a totally different way.  We weren't criticized for running Curlin two years ago in the Preakness because he was obviously a great horse and he had already proven he could run with those three-year-olds.  The generation was outstanding, as you know. This in a way is even far more -- I get more satisfaction from it and I'm grateful for the way it turned out more than the Curlin race, believe it or not.  Because at this point, there was a lot of social criticism and doubt about whether she was capable of it, and I think I would have taken a little heat if she hadn't performed well.  So that's a great relief.  You have that off your shoulders.
 
Everybody is a marketer and everybody understands a horse and everybody knows she can or can't win.  It takes a little courage to step up, commercial courage and courage for the horse to understand the horse and listen to the horse as well as your professionals.  I'm surrounded with great people. John Moynahan is the best horseman I know.  I bet the Shiek would hire him if I didn't have him under contract.  He selects horses.  He knows a champion and he spotted her, and she's a champion so he's part of the team and so is Les Howard.  We have a great team.  It doesn't just last here in racing.  It's at the breeding shed and our broodmare herd, and so we're trying to build a super horse.  That's why we bought her early.  We wanted to be sure we didn't lose her in an auction.
 
ERIC WING:  Steve, anything to add to what Mr. Jackson said?
 
STEVE ASMUSSEN:  I think he's very right.  Curlin is big, strong, strapping boy.  He was obvious to come back from the Derby and run in the Preakness.  I thought he proved himself that day.  I was as proud of him as I could be.  I'm very proud for Rachel today as well.  Not much to say she can't do at this point.
 
ERIC WING:  Calvin, another question from the press box for you.  Since you've obviously been so bullish on Rachel Alexandra and so confident in her abilities, did you ever try to convince her previous owners that "Hey, you should run in the Kentucky Derby?
 
CALVIN BOREL:  No, sir.  I don't ever do that.  I don't tell the owner what to do with the horses.  They pay the bills and raise them and everything.  You know, if they might ask me, then I might, you know, give them maybe my opinion, but I have nothing to -- not a special horse like that. Like I said, they never asked me, and I don't think the man wanted to run her with the colts, you know, at first.  I heard it all along.  I mean, you know, different things for different folks.  Some people -- you got to know your horses.  I thought all along she could run with the boys and so, you know, I was never approached.
 
JESS JACKSON:  Let me add something there.  I would have done what the previous owner did, too.  I would have kept her out of the Derby.  That's a calvary charge.  Twenty horses.  You know what happens.  Everybody trying to get around the first turn.  You make or break the race right there, and if you're blocked from then on, a good horse couldn't become a champion or be able to demonstrate that in that race.  I wouldn't have put her in there.  They bumped each other, they race.  It's sort of like they have the race around the inner track, Zenyatta.  Anything goes.  It's too hard on any horse, and certainly 20 horses in a race bothers me a great deal.
 
ERIC WING:  Calvin, another one.  Are you aware of the fact you're the first rider in thoroughbred racing history to win the Derby and the Preakness aboard two different horses?
 
CALVIN BOREL:  Yes, sir, I'm aware of that.
 
ERIC WING:  Should Rachel Alexandra for whatever reason not contest the Belmont stakes, will you have your agent, Jerry Hissam, moving heaven and earth to get a mount in the Belmont Stakes on somebody?
 
CALVIN BOREL:  Well, what you're trying to say, if Rachel doesn't run?  Yeah.  Yeah.  Sure.
 
ERIC WING:  Do you hope to ride in the Belmont if she doesn't run?
 
CALVIN BOREL:  Yes.
 
ERIC WING:  Could you have won on either horse today had you been riding one or the other?  Do you think you would have won the race on Mine That Bird had you been riding him?
 
CALVIN BOREL:  No, sir.  I think the filly is a better horse than Mine That Bird bar none.  Mile and a 16th, mile and a half, 2 miles, whatever, she is the best horse in the country.
 
JESS JACKSON:  Calvin can add a length or so.  I think she would have had to struggle more and maybe still win by a nose, but he's a better jock than he's admitting.
 
ERIC WING:  Do you think Calvin was the difference today?
 
JESS JACKSON:  Yes.  A difference between a length and nose to nose.
 
ERIC WING:  Did other horses force you to ride the race you rode?  Did you have to go to the front?
 
CALVIN BOREL:  No, no, sir.  But I wasn't expecting for her to stumble leaving there, and if I don't do that, I'm going to get hung eight, nine wide.  I couldn't have bottled up behind eight, nine horses, so I was -- I wasn't forced but she took me there, and really and truly, the first quarter wasn't fast. We went real easy the first quarter.  We did pick it up the backside.  She was still comfortable, you know, and everything.  Like I say, then she went to struggling a little bit with me from about the three quarter pole to the wire, she was struggling, but coming out of the 13 pole, I couldn't take back.  I had to let her do it.  I couldn't get hung eight, nine wide in the first turn.  It's just common sense.
 
ERIC WING:  Mr. Jackson, might we expect the mating of the 2007 and 2009 Preakness winners in the future?
 
JESS JACKSON:  Absolutely, if she asks Curlin correctly and Curlin invites her correctly.
 
ERIC WING:  If you don't choose the Belmont or perhaps even if you do, might you try to seek out Zenyetta take at some point?
 
JESS JACKSON:  I hope they meet.  It's good for racing to have champions run against champions.  That's the heart of the theory.  You raise the bar, take chances.  I'm an entrepreneur.  I take risks, but the rewards are worth it. I can tell you.  Going to Dubai was a risk.  Curlin proved it was a good one.  That's because of the team and the horse, and when you have a horse that should be a champion, you give it a chance.
 
ERIC WING:  Steve, what time do you plan to be at the barn tomorrow morning?
 
STEVE ASMUSSEN:  She's scheduled to leave and head back to Louisville at 6:00 in the morning.  It's an early morning.
 
ERIC WING:  You said your intention going in was to help the sport of racing, Mr. Jackson.  Do you feel that you achieved that today?
 
JESS JACKSON:  I definitely do.  I think the thoroughbred racing industry needs better marketing.  We've broadened the market by attracting I don't know how many thousands of young people, especially young girls to watch their heroine run, and that's good for racing.  Just the issue.  It gave all you guys something to write about.  It was something that was valuable to the horse industry.  To have controversy is good.  Competition is good.  And so from a marketing standpoint, it was the right thing to do.  That was a slam dunk. But, you always worry about the horse and the consequences of the horse, but also Rachel ran for cancer, for a good cause, and we have a deliberate theme here going with the lady -- and running for cancer and she's good enough to run with the boys.  It's good for racing to have that theme and broaden the market and have more people participate and to expect it, whether it's on TV or at the track.
This was a good turnout.  I think Preakness is a little stronger for it.
 
ERIC WING:  Mr. Jackson, could you tell us more about the cancer part of it.  Will a piece of the purse go to a cancer?
 
JESS JACKSON:  My mother died of cancer.  I had two aunts die of cancer.  My wife is a recoverer of cancer.  So is her mother.  I have four daughters, and I feel very strongly that we should be supporting the research that will lead to not -- if not a cure, at least a control of this disease.  So this is one of the reasons she's running with a little pink ribbon.
 
ERIC WING:  For both Mr. Jackson and Mr. McCormick, so often races are billed as this or that, and in this case, it was billed as the Oaks winner against Derby winner, and so often the horses don't follow the script.  Today they pretty much did follow the script.  Can you comment on the satisfaction of not just Rachel Alexandra's victory but the spectacle for the whole industry today?
 
JESS JACKSON:  I've got the mike, so I'll answer and give it to Hal.  Yes, either horse could have won.  It was great for racing to have them compete, and I think that I would have been just as proud had she come in second, because the spectacle of having the two run against each other is good for racing. Of course, I'd prefer to win, and there's an economic advantage to that, but we believe in champions running against champions and setting up a race like this where there's something to write about, something to be proud about, and may the best horse always win.
 
ERIC WING:  Mr. McCormick, anything to add to Mr. Jackson's comments?
 
HAROLD McCORMICK:  Just before used the term, you have to keep raising the bar.  The bar was raised today and we got over it.
 
ERIC WING:  Okay.  Well, in the absence of any further questions, Steve Asmussen, Harold McCormick, Jess Jackson and Calvin Borel, congratulations on a job well done and a wonderful day for racing and continued success with Rachel Alexandra.
 
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-MJC-