Rachel Alexandra Beats the Boys
Filly is first to win the Preakness in 85 years
-The Betty Editors
Girls rule and boys drool! At least, that’s the rumor spreading around the horse-racing world after Rachel Alexandra became the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness–beating Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird to win the second leg of the famed Triple Crown. The fine filly won’t be able to wear all the Triple Crown jewels this year (she wasn’t entered into the first leg, The Kentucky Derby), but she just might go on to snag the third jewel of the crown, the Belmont Stakes, set for June 6. Either way, it makes for one nice tiara.
Speaking of fabulous accessories, we love that braided mane–so super chic, girlfriend! And the $1 million prize isn’t so shabby either…
Of course, the biggest story here is the triumph of a girl over a boy–something we don’t often get the chance to see–in athletic events for horses or humans. So, why aren’t fillies generally entered along with the big boys into these races? For those of us who vaguely associate a horse race with watching Mickey Rooney fall in love with Elizabeth Taylor during a National Velvet re-run, the world of contemporary horse racing might be a bit obscure. Generally, fillies don’t compete with the fellas for the simple reason that male horses are generally thought to be stronger and faster than the ladies. However, some argue that’s because they’re more often chosen for training.
The racing world as a whole has come under quite a bit of scrutiny lately amid controversy over the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs and “medications”–some of which are permissible; some of which are legal in some racing jurisdictions but not others. Additionally, the humanness of the sport as a whole has come to the forefront of public debate of late. Ironically, it was the 2008 death of Eight Belles–another promising filly–that launched the debate into overdrive. Eight Belles nearly stole the 2008 Derby from the eventual winner, Big Brown, but collapsed after the race with two fractured front ankles. She had to be put down right there on the track, dramatically and publicly.
The debate rages on–is horse racing inhumane? Do the laws governing use of steroids and illness-hiding medications need to be tightened and streamlined?
Meanwhile, the races continue, and it’s fabulous to see girl power taking center stage.
“She’s the greatest horse I’ve ever been on in my life,” said her jockey, 42-year-old Calvin Borel, who won the Kentucky Derby with Mine that Bird, but chose to ride Rachel Alexandra for the Preakness.
Borel has Rachel Alexandra‘s current owner Jess Jackson (of the Kendall Jackson wine family–cheers to you!) to thank for the privilege–her previous owners refused to race her against the big boys in the Derby because of her sex. Shows them!
She’s also a generous filly–Jackson plans to donate a portion of her prize winnings to cancer research.
“My mother died of cancer,” Jackson said. “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–if not a cure–at least a control of this disease. So this is one of the reasons she’s running with a pink ribbon.”
Pink ribbons, braids, strength and speed … now that’s girl power.
We’re looking forward to hearing whether Rachel Alexandra will be entered into the Belmont Stakes. If she is, it’s going to be one heck of an exciting race. You go, girlfriend!