BALTIMORE – A field of 13 is expected for the Preakness on Saturday, but a decision on entering superstar filly Rachel Alexandra against the boys won’t be made until she works out.
That could happen today or Monday at Churchill Downs, where she won the Kentucky Oaks by 20 1/4 lengths May 1.
The Preakness field began taking shape Saturday, with trainer William Komlo announcing that Tone It Down will run in the 1 3/16 -mile race. Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey informed race officials that Conservative will not.
“We felt this was a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” Komlo said. “We are Maryland people and he is a Maryland horse. We don’t know if we can compete, but we are willing to try.”
Maryland Jockey Club officials were told that Rachel Alexandra is scheduled to fly into Baltimore on Wednesday if her owners decide to run her.
Rachel Alexandra is not nominated to the Triple Crown and can get into the Preakness only if fewer than 14 pre-nominated horses are entered and her connections pay a $100,000 supplementary nomination fee.
Pimlico oddsmaker Frank Carulli said he would make Rachel Alexandra the morning line favorite if she enters.
Genuine Risk in 1980 and Winning Colors in 1988, who both came to Baltimore as Kentucky Derby winners, went off as the betting favorites in the Preakness but didn’t win.
Rachel Alexandra’s owner, Jess Jackson, said Calvin Borel would ride the filly, switching off from his mount on long shot Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.
Bennie Woolley Jr., who trains the Derby winner, said he has a backup rider commited but wouldn’t reveal who it is. Mine That Bird will ship from Churchill Downs to Pimlico on Tuesday.
Joining Rachel Alexandra on her plane from Louisville will be Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile, Terrain and Hull.
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