Filly lifts Preakness handle

May 19, 2009 5:06 PM
by Mark Mayer |

There’s nothing like a little girl watching to pump up interest in the Preakness.

"Things went wonderfully. The handle was better than last year," said Chris Graham, race and sports supervisor at the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book. "We lost a couple of matchups involving Papa Clem and Friesan Fire, but we were glad to see a standing room only crowd in the book."

The win by the super filly Rachel Alexandra was a popular one not only at the Hilton, but in other locales around Vegas.

"The race result happened the way the public wanted," Graham said. "Plenty of nonlocals cashed in on Rachel Alexandra because she was a female. And everyone got to see the showdown they wanted with Mine That Bird."

"The Preakness was awesome for us," said Eddie Ricca, race and sports manager at the Suncoast. "The handle was as good as last year. Unlike the Derby when a lot of people left after the race, there were plenty of bettors sticking around after the race to cash in winning tickets. Rachel Alexandra brought in a lot of winners."

The M Resort had brisk wagering for its in-race betting right up to the 16th pole.

"Before the race we had Rachel Alexandra +170 to win and -200 for the field and by the top of the stretch it was -110 apiece each way," said Mike Colbert, race and sports supervisor at M. "There were more people taking part in the in-race wagering for the Preakness after word spread that we had done it for the Kentucky Derby."

One place where the betting was off was at the Excalibur.

"The Preakness was good, but more people were watching the race rather than wagering," said Barry Zipkin, race and sports supervisor at Excalibur. "I don’t know if enough people knew the filly was running. A 30-second spot on ESPN doesn’t seem to be enough publicity."

The one big worry heading to the June 6 Belmont Stakes is that Rachel Alexandra’s owners will be content with the Preakness win and skip the final leg of the Triple Crown.

"If she doesn’t go, the Belmont will be a big dropoff," Graham said. "Everyone wants to watch her."

Both Station Casinos and Lucky’s has a Rachel vs Bird prop.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Mark Mayer