Monday, May 18, 2009
The horse becomes the first filly to win the race in 85 years.
By Bill Finley
The New York Times
The filly did it. Rachel Alexandra won the Preakness.
Rachel Alexandra, who was pitted against 12 of the best males in the sport, had the class, talent and speed to do what no filly had done in 85 years. Holding off Mine That Bird's late run, Rachel Alexandra won Saturday's middle leg of the Triple Crown by one length.
"I think she's the greatest horse in the country," said the winning jockey Calvin Borel, who took off the Kentucky Derby Mind That Bird so he could stick with Rachel Alexandra. "That's colts, fillies, boys, whatever. She's an amazing filly."
Adding to the magnitude of Rachel Alexandra's win, Borel contended that she didn't run her best. The veteran rider said his mount didn't care for the Pimlico racing surface and likely would have done even better had she had.
"My filly was kind of struggling in the last quarter mile," he said. "She went to reach out and the ground was breaking out from underneath her."
Borel's decision to bail on Mine That Bird, which made him the first
jockey in history to take off a Derby winner in the Preakness, was just one of a number of major developments in the two weeks between Triple Crown races. After Rachel Alexandra won the Kentucky Oaks against fillies by 201/4 lengths, then owner Dolphus Morrison said he had no intention of pitting her against males. But Jess Jackson, who started the Kendall-Jackson wine empire, had other ideas. He swooped in the week before the Preakness, bought Rachel Alexandra, locked up the services of Borel, turned the filly over to the trainer Steve Asmussen and announced his plan to run in the Preakness.
"I would have taken a lot of heat had she not run well," said Jackson, who also teamed with Asmussen to win the 2007 Preakness with Curlin.
Rachel Alexandra broke sharply from the gate and headed toward the lead under Borel. She appeared to be going comfortably, but Big Drama stuck to her flank while racing on the inside. By the top of the Pimlico stretch, Big Drama was done, and Rachel Alexandra was about to open up by four lengths on the field.
But Mine That Bird, the stunning winner of the Kentucky Derby at odds of 50-1, was in the midst of the same move that carried him to victory two weeks earlier at Churchill Downs. Sitting last early under the replacement rider Mike Smith, he started to pick up steam on the far turn and was picking off horses one by one.
After getting out of a brief traffic jam on the far turn, Mine That Bird had a clear run and just one horse to catch. He had no excuses. Rachel Alexandra was simply the better horse.
"I thought I did," Smith said when asked if he thought he had a chance to catch the winner. "Hats off to her. She's a talented, talented mare. Anyone else would've caved in."
For Mine That Bird, there was honor in defeat. Many dismissed his win in the Kentucky Derby as an inexplicable fluke. Saturday, he ran every bit as well.
"I'm thrilled to death with the race my little horse ran," said the trainer Chip Woolley. "Everything was going according to Hoyle, until the turn when he was fanned a little wide. I thought we had a chance at the eighth-pole. But you have to give that filly credit."
Rachel Alexandra, who became the fifth filly to win the Preakness, paid $5.60 for a $2 win bet. She covered the mile-and-three-sixteenths in 1:55.08 over a track that was listed as fast despite a shower that hit Baltimore about 15 minutes before the race.
Musket Man, third in the Kentucky Derby, finished third again, a half-length behind Mine That Bird.
"My horse ran well, but we got beat by a great one," said Derek Ryan, the trainer of Musket Man. "She's a filly for the ages."
The Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile, the second choice in the wagering Saturday, was the primary disappointment. He finished 11th.
The Triple Crown tour heads to Belmont Park for the Belmont Stakes, where a rematch between Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra could be the main attraction. The connections of Mine That Bird have already committed to the June 6 race. Jackson was less definite, saying no decision would be made until he and Asmussen were able to see how she came out of the race.
No filly has ever won two legs of the Triple Crown.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
AMAZINGNESS OF HORSES! Horses are really smarter than people think they are.....and though not as fast as a car... are wonderful creatures that have helped man throughout time,,, and never work for money and not even a dime,,, they have led us in battle... and helped us round up cattle,,, and have given their lives for us through time,,, and have had their names in a shrine,,, and even now they fascinate mankind and will always do so,,, for horses will make people smile with a deep glow,,, and always be mans best friend indeed... and all you have to do is pet them and be nice and give them some feed...
Freda was my mothers name
A person who belongs in the Hall of Fame
A giver of the truest sense to anyone
Treating each person as her son
She loved music and laugher
And would sing songs that raised the rafter
Never complaining and supportive to me
I grew up seeing the world as a good place to be
She taught me love and how to forgive
And said that was the only way to live
For in time, what may seem wicked and wrong
Will fade away and make me strong
She said seeing the light in anything
Would make me a better being
The day came when she did get sick and weak
And I saw my life become bleak
But she fought hard for life
As she always told me to do under strife
We all think our parents live forever for us
But find out reality and thus
To find that we all are really alone on this earth
Having given life by a mother at birth
The day she died, I cried
For she was the one I relied
I have never been the same since then
And always think of times back when
But have learned that she is still alive with me
For she gave me birth and knowledge for those to see
I love Freda and miss her so, and in time
We will once again be together, my love of mine
FREDA SHAPIRO on youtube
OO no Naughty JACK AND JILL!! jack and Jill went up the hill,,, and Jill forgot to take her pill,,, now nine months later to the day,,, jack is working two jobs and no play,,, so next time you fool around in the back seat with a girl,,, think about the short time thrill....but know in the end of all this,,, you just might end up working three jobs and no more bliss
Snow White!! There was this wicked witch who wanted to be the fairest of them all,,, and each year be the prettiest at the annual ball,,, but one day she saw a beautiful girl named snow white,,, and thought she was quite the sight,,, so the wicked witch wanted to get rid of her,,, and felt she had the cure,,, and that was to get rid of snow white,,, even it took all day and night,,, but snow white knew of her plan in time,,, and ran away and left down the wall she did climb...and the witch tried to find her throughout the land....and looked into her hour glass of sand...and saw her in a house hidden away,,, and then was going to turn snow white into a block of clay,,, but her plan backfired and the evil witch was the one who paid the price ,,,for she was the one who fell down the castle steps and died for she was so evil and never nice
I asked my mother where I came from one day
And she said sit down my son for I have alot to say
She told me a stork brought me to earth
And that she had taken care of me since birth
I was left on the doorstep she said with a smile
And now I felt complete for the first time in awhile
We went to the zoo that week
And I was excited to see a stork for more than a peek
When I saw the stork didnt look like me
I asked my mom why and she said, "son, soon Ill tell you about the birds and bee"
I was five and now more confused than ever
And now didnt think my mom was so clever
Years went on and I waited for the tale of the birds and bee
But never did she tell this story to me
I began to date girls after high school
And felt quite the fool
For having been left on the doorstep by a stork
I felt like a complete dork
The girl I was dating left me soon after
In a fit of laughter
And to this day i sit and wonder
How I did blunder
For mabye I should seek a stork to love
Since my real mom was a stork from above
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
LAND OF THE FREE
Oh how glorious is America to me
The land of the free
Anyone can enter our country from which they flee
And have a better life like you and me
Nobody has to prove they belong
As long as they sing the National Anthem song
Loans, education, health are here to be taken for free
Though not for a person like you and me
For I was born in this country and told I had to pay my dues
Then I see others coming in having better chances and not even wearing shoes
America, land of the free, wheras generations fought for our rights
Only to see them trampled by those coming in during the darkest of nights
Politicans say we need them to work for less
Though it really has made our country a mess
Crowded classrooms, hospitals and rising taxes are the result of illegal entry
And our borders are guarded by a single sentry
Go to Mexico and live a life and sing a song
But you will see they will tell you that you dont belong
For gaining citizenship is the rule in every country in the world you see
Except for America, The Land of The Free
Friday, May 8, 2009
OS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mickey Carroll, one of the last surviving diminutive "Munchkins" in the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz," died of natural causes on Thursday in Missouri at age 89, a newspaper reported.
Carroll, who stopped growing at a young age, was an entertainer early in life and befriended actress Judy Garland, leading to a role alongside her in classic "The Wizard of Oz," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
He was a violin-playing Munchkin "Town Crier" in the movie, dressed in purple with a yellow flower in his vest. There were dozens of Munchkins in all.
In 2007, Carroll and a few other surviving Munchkins attended a ceremony to dedicate a Munchkin star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Born to Italian immigrants in 1919, Carroll's given name was Michael Finocchiaro, the Post-Dispatch reported. He died at a caretaker's home in Crestwood, Missouri, and he lived in the state nearly his entire life, the newspaper said.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
AP - Apr 30, 7:50 am EDT 1 of 99 Horse Racing Gallery LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)—Mine That Bird dug up a miracle, stunning the field to win the Kentucky Derby with a dynamic stretch run through the mud Saturday at Churchill Downs.
The 3-year-old gelding and jockey Calvin Borel found room along the rail deep in the stretch then pulled away for a 6 3/4 -length win to give the 50-1 long shot one of the biggest upsets in the 135-year history of the race.
It was the largest margin of victory in the Derby since Assault won by eight lengths in 1946. Barbaro won in 2006 by 6 1/2 lengths.
The Derby win was the second in three years for Borel, who used a similar stretch run to send Street Sense to the winner’s circle in 2007.
“Calvin did a super job,” winning trainer Chip Woolley said. “I just can’t say enough about the way things went for us. Calvin picks a spot, every thing fell together. We were really lucky to get through there.”
Mine That Bird joins Giacomo, who won in 2005, as one of the most unlikely victors in the Run for the Roses.
The son of Birdstone covered the 1 miles in 2:02.66 and paid $103.20 to win — the second largest in Derby history behind Donerail ($184.90) in 1913.
Pioneerof the Nile held off Musket Man for second, but neither was a match for the unheralded horse from New Mexico, who became the ninth gelding to win the Derby and just the second in the last 80 years. Funny Cide won in 2003.
Friesan Fire, who became the favorite after I Want Revenge was scratched earlier in the day, finished 18th in the 19-horse field.
Borel thrust his right arm in triumph as he crossed the wire, and Woolley hobbled to hoist the trophy. The trainer from New Mexico broke his right leg in a motorcycle accident over the winter and drove his stable’s star 21 hours to Churchill Downs.
“They’ll know who I am now,” Woolley said from underneath his massive black cowboy hat.
AP - Apr 30, 8:53 am EDT 1 of 95 Horse Racing Gallery LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)—The cowboy and his horse beat them all.
Four Hall of Fame trainers. The ruler of Dubai. Two very sentimental favorites.
Trainer Bennie Woolley Jr. hitched Mine That Bird to the back of his pickup and drove to the Kentucky Derby from New Mexico. With an inspired ride on the rail from Calvin Borel, it all added up to one of the greatest upsets in 135 years of America’s most famous horse race.
“Those cowboys,” trainer Bob Baffert said, “they came with a good horse.”
Mine That Bird went off at 50-1 odds Saturday, but that was only one measure of how little attention he garnered before pulling away in the stretch to score a 6 3/4 -length victory at Churchill Downs, the second-biggest stunner in Derby history. The margin was the largest since Assault won by eight lengths in 1946.
“All I asked him was to lay the horse back and be patient, and he did that magically,” Woolley said.
That should have been no surprise since Borel used the same rail-hugging ride to win the Derby two years ago with Street Sense.
“I learned by Street Sense being so patient with these 3-year-olds,” Borel said. “They can only go so fast, so far. When I hollered at him, he just went on.”
Pioneerof the Nile was second. Musket Man was another nose back in third.
Mine That Bird ran 1 miles on a sloppy track in 2:02.66 and paid $103.20 to win—second-largest payout in Derby history behind Donerail ($184.90) in 1913.
Most of the pre-race storylines belonged to high-profile trainers like Baffert, who was recently elected to the Hall of Fame and whose colt Pioneerof the Nile was making his debut on dirt after racing on synthetic surfaces out West.
But the cowboy in the dark glasses and big black hat outfoxed Baffert and the likes of Bill Mott (12th with Hold Me Back), Nick Zito (17th with Nowhere to Hide), and D. Wayne Lukas, last with Flying Private.
Woolley was no kinder to sentimental favorites Larry Jones and Tom McCarthy, two home-state trainers whose feel-good stories also dominated the headlines for most of the week.
Jones’ horse, Friesan Fire, the 7-2 wagering favorite of 153,563 fans, was 18th in the 19-horse field. A year ago, Jones lost his filly Eight Belles, who ran a gallant second to Big Brown, then broke down after the finish line and had to be euthanized on the track.
Jones blamed Friesan Fire’s poor showing on the muddy track and getting clipped on one of his legs out of the gate, drawing blood. The trainer said it may have jeopardized his chance of running in the May 16 Preakness.
“Beating one horse was better than running second and what happened last year,” he said.
McCarthy, a 75-year-old retired high school principal who paid only $20,000 for General Quarters, captured the public’s imagination with his one-horse stable. But the horse finished 10th and never found his footing in the slop.
“He came back to the barn choking in mud,” McCarthy said. “One eye was completely packed shut and his one nostril was completely shut with mud. He coughed twice and it popped out.”
Also leaving empty-handed was Sheik Mohammed al Maktoum of Dubai, whose duo of Regal Ransom and Desert Party failed to achieve his goal of winning the Derby after nearly a decade and millions of dollars spent trying.
Mine That Bird (8) and jockey …
AP - May 2, 7:40 pm EDT
The majority of the field prepped for the Derby on dirt tracks, although other horses were trying it for the first time after coming off synthetic surfaces.
Earlier, I Want Revenge became the first morning-line favorite to be scratched on Derby Day after inflammation was detected in the colt’s left front ankle. The injury wasn’t believed to be career-threatening but worrisome enough to prompt trainer Jeff Mullins and owner David Lanzman to withdraw.
Mine That Bird got squeezed coming out of the starting gate, but Borel took a firm hold and wrestled the horse to the rail while they were in last place.
They were 12th and going strong with a quarter mile to go, after working their way around Atomic Rain. Borel quickly angled Mine That Bird back to the inside with three-sixteenths to go and shot the gelding through a tight spot approaching the eighth pole.
“I had enough room,” Borel said. “He’s a small horse.”
Once free, Mine That Bird quickly accelerated toward an improbable victory.
“I salute Calvin for his terrific ride,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, whose Derby losing streak extended to 0-of-24. “It’s an amazing story. It just shows you how special this race is. Anything can happen.”
Swimmer Michael Phelps watches…
AP - May 2, 7:38 pm EDT
Woolley, a former quarterhorse trainer who spent time on the rodeo circuit as a bareback rider, hobbled on crutches to the winner’s circle. The 45-year-old self-described cowboy from New Mexico broke his right leg in a motorcycle accident two months ago.
“I’m feeling like I never have before,” he said. “I was just blown away.”
He met up with a tearful Borel, whose mind was on his parents and paid them tribute by crossing the finish line with his whip pointing to the overcast sky.
“If they could only be here to see what I accomplish in my life,” he said, his voice choking.
Borel became the first jockey since 1993 to complete the Oaks-Derby double, having ridden Rachel Alexandra to an eye-popping 20-length victory Friday.
Woolley joined a parade of trainers who won with their first Derby starter, the sixth time in seven years it has happened.
Mine That Bird, the son of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, became the ninth gelding to win the Derby and just the second in the last 80 years, joining 2003 winner Funny Cide.