Off Topic: The Preakness

Big Girl to take on the boys (PG-Rated)

By Sonja Sykes

Exercise rider Angie Colbert has been around the backside and barns at Churchill over 15 years. A former rider on the Louisiana circuit of tracks and originally from Sweden, she’s a smart and savvy early morning worker for her boss’s stable and occasionally for some others in the Churchill barns.  Several weeks ago, she got the nod to ride “Big Girl” Rachel Alexandria for a morning workout when regular rider Calvin Borel was out of town.

“Sonja, I’ve been on some really great horses in my life.” she told Paul and I recently. “Stakes winners, triple crown candidates…but I’d have to put ‘Big Girl’ up there as one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to work. She knows just how powerful she really is, but she doesn’t try to intimidate you with her strength…like some horses do. They told me how they wanted her worked for 4 furlongs and I didn’t really have to do much at all when I was on her. When I asked her ‘to go’ in the stretch, she took off like a roller coaster going downhill. She’s all that.”

Big Girl goes to Maryland Saturday to take on 12 boys in the Preakness Stakes. Keep in mind; she is in postposition #13, which had never produced a winner in the second leg of the triple crown of racing at Pimlico. The new owners aren’t fazed…thinking that it will help keep her out of trouble early and allow her to settle in where they want her to because of her early speed.

I’m still under the very strong impression that she is the best three year old in the country and will win this Saturday. I expect whatever challenges may occur will come from Pioneerof the Nile, Friesan Fire and Papa Clem. I do not expect Mine That Bird to be a factor without Calvin Borel on board. Musket Man always seems to finish in the money.

Sonja’s prognostication:

I see Rachel Alexandria winning by a comfortable margin…4 or more lengths. There will be a tight battle behind her, with Pioneerof the Nile, Musket Man, Friesan Fire and Papa Clem battling for spots two thru five. Play your exactas and trifectas accordingly.

Sonja’s possible longshot special:  LUV GOV. D. Wayne Lukas is tricky. This horse comes from a maiden win at Churchill and Jamie Theriot pilots. He can get the 1 3/16 easily, and will love sloppy conditions.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

2 thoughts on “Off Topic: The Preakness

  • May 14, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    I still like Mine That Bird. The cast of supporting characters has all the makings for a good B movie.

  • May 15, 2009 at 7:10 am

    PG rated? I didn’t know there was a film associated with this article. Unless the “PG” stands for “popular girl”…which Rachel Alexandria will most certainly be after winning the Preakness.

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