The biggest contender for the 2009 Belmont Stakes is out of the mix. The owners of Rachel Alexandra have decided not to enter the Preakness Stakes winner in the field. It’s a slightly longer distance and perhaps Rachel Alexandra would have lost to Mine That Bird down the stretch. But we will never know.
And that leaves you with two feelings about Rachel Alexandra. The first is that she will go down as one of the most elite horses of all time. Not only did she dominate the Kentucky Oaks but she also won against the boys in the Preakness.
But my second thought is that we will never truly know how good she was. If she could have won horse racing’s third race of the Triple Crown she would have went down as arguably the greatest filly of all time. She still might especially since we can’t speculate on how she would have raced as a contender in the 2009 Belmont Stakes.
That leaves us with Mine That Bird as a huge favorite against a field of not so big names in the Belmont. Calvin Borel will ride Mine That Bird as he did in the Kentucky Derby triumph. But is Mine That Bird the only 2009 Belmont Stakes true contender now that Rachel Alexandra is out of the mix?
My guess is some horses will surface as obstacles in his path this week but Mine That Bird will undoubtedly be a heavy heavy 1-2 type favorite on this Saturday in the Belmont.
It will still be fun to watch Mine That Bird try to claim it’s second victory of the three. And we will all wonder what if Rachel Alexandra had not raced in the Preakness? Would Mine That Bird have won the Triple Crown? It’s very possible and we will know the answer on Saturday. Rachel Alexandra will go down then as a horse of destiny. The destiny that blocked the path of Mine That Bird on it’s way to a coveted Triple Crown. And the irony here is that the jockey Calvin Borel was aboard both horses.
So Borel is essence was the reason that Mine That Bird will not go down with the other Triple Crown winners of years past. But Borel could go down as a jockey to win all three races but on two different horses. That’s very unique and will perhaps never be accomplished again. Not just because it’s a tough feat but that most jockeys will not switch horses in mid-stride. Maybe it’s the jockeys who are beginning to surface as the real stories of horse racing with a Calvin Borel in the midst of an incredible run.
We always try to humanize stories or figure out the human element. This is that story that will give us that extra something on Saturday.
It’s kind of fun to think that Calvin Borel will pull off the tri-fecta. And that’s a good enough reason for me to watch The 2009 Belmont Stakes.