"It puts a new player in the game and certainly it’s great for racing," said Vic Vivio, supervisor and horse race analyst at Palace Station. "The fact that (jockey) Calvin Borel picked her over Mine That Bird shows us something."
Borel rode Mine That Bird to a stunning 6½ length victory in the Derby at odds of 50-1. Lucky’s Race & Sports Books has a prop bet of +1500 (15-1 odds) that Mine That Bird will win the Triple Crown and -2700 (1-27) that he won’t.
"I’ll tell you I was more surprised that ownership sold Rachel Alexandra than I was seeing her entered in the Preakness," Vivio said. "It’s going to be interesting seeing her up against better horses but I think she has to be the favorite at 2-1 or 3-1 with all the attention she will get."
After winning the Kentucky Oaks by an astounding 20½ lengths with Borel aboard the day before the Derby, Rachel Alexandra was groomed to miss the Triple Crown and focus on a probable filly showdown with Zenyatta in the Breeders Cup.
But the horse was sold and plans changed, especially with the filly 5-0 under Borel.
"It’s tough to tell how she will do at Pimlico," Vivio said. "It depends on post position. Pimlico is conducive for speed and the pace will be very fast. Very few horses have gone wire to wire. You don’t want to be too wide on that track."
Vivio projects Pioneerof The Nile as a strong contender and lists a couple of new entries into the Preakness picture – Big Drama and Hull. "Big Drama won the Swale Stakes and could be very close to the pace. Hull won the Derby Trial and should be very fast early."
The Preakness field is capped at 14, with preference given to horses already nominated to the Triple Crown. Borel would be the first jockey to ride the Derby winner, then hop on another horse for the Preakness. Nellie Morse is the last filly to win the Preakness, capturing the race in 1924.