It’s been several hours since the race ended, so my thoughts have had time to percolate. Here’s what I’m thinking:
I owe it to Rachel Alexandra to say that I was impressed. She didn’t like the track, but she still managed to get to the lead surprisingly easily and hold it right to the end. It wasn’t the race that her fans was hoping she had, but at least she came through for the win. A filly hadn’t done that since 1924, so she deserves a world of credit.
Anyone who was critical of Mine That Bird as a one trick pony after the Derby now has no ground to stand on at all. He didn’t get there in the end, but if the race was just a little bit longer her certainly would have. Even more impressive, he had to go way outside because he couldn’t find his inside move, and he had to check up to almost a standstill when he hit a wall. That is one incredibly classy gelding. Rachel Alexandra won this showdown, but I really hope that the gelding comes back in the Belmont because I don’t see a horse out there that can beat him. That is one impressive horse. The fact that he was 50-1 in the Derby seems almost as impossible to believe now as his win in the Derby seemed then.
Kudos to Musket Man. He’s a quietly under-appreciated horse – much like Bluegrass Cat was three years ago. He probably isn’t good enough to win a Triple Crown race, but he is too consistent and impressive to wind up out of the money. If this race was the Derby distance he would have got past Rachel Alexandra and finished second to Mine That Bird.
I’m happy for D. Wayne Lukas. His horse, Flying Private, was dead last in the Derby, yet he decided to bring him back for the Preakness. It was hard to see what he saw in the horse, but he’s a legend so he must have seen something. He was vindicated by the fact that hs horse was a solid and impressive fourth.
What the hell happened to Pioneerof The Nile? That was ugly. I’d also ask what happened to Friesan Fire, but I wasn’t a believer in him from the start, so I wish I could say I was surprised.
I don’t think that we’ll see Rachel Alexandra in the Belmont. She didn’t show nearly enough in this race, despite the win, to move on to a race that it seems pretty clear that she would lose. It’s a little disappointing, despite the win, that she didn’t emerge as the super-horse that she seemed that she could have been.