BALTIMORE, MD 05-13-09– Rachel Alexandra, the lone filly in the 13-horse field entered Wednesday in the 134th running of the Preakness Stakes, is rated as the 8-5 favorite in the morning linefor Saturday’s Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown at Pimlico Race Course.
The Steve Asmussen-trained filly, who was purchased privately by Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick following her 20 ¼-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 1, drew the No. 13 at Wednesday’s post position draw. No horse has won from that post in 11 tries since 1909.
Pioneerof the Nile, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2, was rated second at 5-1 in the morning line by Maryland Jockey Club handicapper Frank Carulli.
Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, who posted a 50-1 upset at Churchill Downs, is rated as the co-third choice in the morning line with Friesan Fire, the beaten favorite in the Derby.
POST POSITION DRAW QUOTES
MINE THAT BIRD (PP #2; 6-1) – Chip Woolley, trainer: “We’ve got speed on both sides of us, speed on the inside and outside of us. That should clear away from us and leave us in a nice spot to coast down the front side and into the backstretch. It’s a good spot.”
“I like the fact that Big Drama is inside of me because he’ll move on and should leave me a little bit of a break there. “
RACHEL ALEXANDRA (PP #13; 8-5) – Scott Blasi, assistant trainer: “I was just speaking with Jess (Jackson) and Steve (Asmussen) and we’re very happy with it, being on the outside. You’ve got a long run to the first turn here.”
“With having a filly in the race, what you’re worried about is traffic and everything that can happen. In the Derby, when you break they all come together. I think it’s a very good spot for us.”
“I think the race will sort itself out before the first turn. We know that she does have good tactical speed and she should be able to get a good position going into the first turn.”
“I’d rather have than 13 than 1.”
BIG DRAMA (PP #1; 10-1) – David Fawkes, trainer: “I’m going to talk to the rider and talk to the owner in the morning and make a decision (about strategy). I guess you’d have to say we’re committed (to leave the starting gate quickly). We’re going to show speed anyway. That’s the nice thing – he doesn’t have to use himself to get position.”
“I wanted to be outside of (Rachel Alexandra), but I don’t think that’s an option.”
FLYING PRIVATE (PP #10; 50-1) – D. Wayne Lukas, trainer: “The 10 is OK. I wouldn’t have liked the 6,7,8,9. Bob’s horse has good speed inside of him, and mine doesn’t. Once they put them into the gate it will be a competitive race. The one thing I did not want was the 1-hole. I was getting a little nervous.”
FRIESAN FIRE (PP #5; 6-1) – Larry Jones, trainer: “They’ll (Big Drama and Rachel Alexandra) will have to go, so we should be able to get behind them and go.”
GENERAL QUARTERS (PP #8; 20-1) – Tom McCarthy, owner/trainer: “I loved it, absolutely loved it. I told my wife what number I’d get – and it was 8. That’s the same post he had in the Blue Grass (his only Grade I win).”
LUV GOV (PP #4; 50-1) – D. Wayne Lukas, trainer: “The 4 is OK – As long as it’s not the 1-hole. He comes from off the pace. It’s OK.”
MUSKET MAN (PP #3; 8-1) – Derek Ryan, trainer: “It doesn’t really matter much to us. We’d be happy with anything from 1-8. We just need a decent pace in front of us, and we should get one in this field.”
PAPA CLEM (PP #7; 12-1) – Gary Stute, trainer: “I thought the post was great, a perfect spot. Hopefully, 1 (Big Drama) and 13 (Rachel Alexandra) just go and clear and we’ll sit right behind them. It looks good on paper anyway. I thought they were a little generous with the odds again (12-1), but like (owner) Bo (Hirsch) said, I guess it’s better to be under the radar. I figured I got beat a nose and a head, and they’re 5-1 and 8-1 (Pioneerof the Nile and Musket Man) and I’m 12-1.”
PIONEEROF THE NILE (PP #9; 5-1) – Bob Baffert, trainer: “It’s very good. I wanted the 9, 10 or 11. We got the 9, which is very good.”
TAKE THE POINTS (PP #11; 30-1) – Don Lucarelli, co-owner: “We would have liked to have been a little more inside, like the 7-hole or inside of that. It looks like we’ll have to use some of our tactical speed at the beginning of the race and see where the horse goes from there.”
“If you’re a competitor, I guess you couldn’t have asked for a better post draw for Rachel Alexandra.”
“From that post position, I would think that we would like to probably sit somewhere like sixth or seventh maybe and hopefully be one of the first few if possible to pounce on the lead or take a shot at the lead coming into the stretch.”
“It’s going to be critical now for Edgar to position the horse over in a good spot.”
TERRAIN (PP #6; 30-1) – Al Stall Jr, trainer: “The speed on the inside, the chalk on the outside, our horse in the middle – I don’t think I could draw it up any better. I like the way things shook out.”
TONE IT DOWN (PP #12; 50-1) – Bill Komlo, trainer: “It’s interesting. I mean, you’ve got a lot of speed out there early, and I think that kind of favors us because our plan is to take back and come off the pace. It’s not (too far outside), not going a mile and three-sixteenths. You’ve got plenty of room to maneuver.”