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Rachel Alexandra ready for Preakness, and a blockading owner has change of heart

. Fast facts

134th Preakness Stakes

When/where: 6:05 p.m. (approximate post) Saturday; Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore

Grade: I; Field: 14; Distance: 13/16 miles on dirt

Purse: $1 million; payout, $620,000 for first, $200,000 second, $100,000 third, $50,000 fourth, $30,000 fifth

TV/radio: 4:30 p.m., Ch. 8; 1040-AM

Wednesday: Post position draw, 5 p.m.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Rachel Alexandra looks ready to challenge the boys in the Preakness, but for a while owner Jess Jackson wasn't sure his filly would get the chance.

Jackson declared the Kentucky Oaks winner primed for the second Triple Crown race after an easy 4-furlong workout Sunday at Churchill Downs.

It was all the evidence Jackson needed to send the 3-year-old filly, whom he bought last week for an undisclosed sum, to Pimlico for the race.

But the Preakness is limited to 14 horses, with preference given to horses prenominated to the Triple Crown. While Jackson is willing to pay the $100,000 supplemental fee, for a few hours Sunday, the probable Preakness field swelled to 15, including 14 prenominated horses and Rachel Alexandra.

One of the entries was Indy Express, a horse owned by Kentucky Derby winner Mark Allen. Allen told the Thoroughbred Times early Sunday he was entering Indy Express solely to take away a starting spot from Rachel Alexandra.

Allen said his motives were professional, not personal. Jockey Calvin Borel, who guided Mine That Bird to the Derby win, has already agreed to switch to Rachel Alexandra if the filly gets in. "I just want my rider back," Allen told the publication.

But Mine That Bird trainer Bennie Woolley Jr. told the Associated Press late Sunday evening that Allen had changed his mind.

"He's rethought it and with the best interest of racing and the sport, he feels like it would be unfair to do that," Woolley said. But owners of others horses could still come into play.

Belmont Park: Banrock beat Mission Approved by 4¾ lengths in the $108,500 Kingston Stakes at the track in Elmont, N.Y.

Greyhounds

Patriot Kennel led with 13 wins this past week at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. Filipelli & O'Donnell won 12 to pull within 455-452 of overall leader McAllister Kennels.

Don Jensen, Times correspondent; Times wires

Rachel Alexandra ready for Preakness, and a blockading owner has change of heart 05/10/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 11, 2009 1:13am]
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