Sunday May 10th, 2009

One of the co-owners of Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird told SI.com he will not enter any other horses in the Preakness to block filly Rachel Alexandra from running. Mark Allen had told Horse Racing Television on Sunday afternoon that he was planning to enter winless 3-year-old Indy Express in the Preakness, which might have helped keep Rachel Alexandra out of the race and keep jockey Calvin Borel on Mine That Bird.

But on Sunday night, Allen told SI.com, "I was thinking about entering a maiden in the Preakness, to get Calvin back to the keep that filly out of the race. But that ain't right. I ain't gonna do it. It just ain't the right thing to do.'' Allen's decision should clear the way for Rachel Alexandra to run in what will be one of the most intriguing Preaknesses in recent history.

The Preakness is limited to 14 starters, and preference is given to horses who were nominated to the Triple Crown races. Rachel Alexandra, the spectacular winner of the Kentucky Oaks for three-year-old fillies, was sold last Monday and new owner Jess Jackson said Sunday after a strong workout by the filly that he intends to enter the Preakness. But because she was not nominated to the Triple Crown, she would be excluded if 14 nominated horses entered.

It appeared that only 13 nominated 3-year-olds intended to enter the Preakness, but Allen's original comment, combined with a reported intent by owner Marylou Whitney and trainer D. Wayne Lukas to enter Luv Gov, would push Rachel Alexandra out of the race. (Rachel was not nominated because her original owner, Adolphus Morrison, does not like running 3-year-old fillies against colts in the spring and did not want to be tempted to do so).

However, the Web site bloodhorse.com is reporting that Whitney will only enter Luv Gov if it does not block Rachel Alexandra from entering.

Given Allen's change of heart, there would be room for Luv Gov.

Allen said he changed his mind while riding his motorcycle around Louisville on Sunday afternoon and that he was not influenced to do so. "I was hanging out with my girlfriend and riding my Harley around here and I got to thinking about it,'' Allen said. "It just ain't right, and when you do things that ain't right, it'll come back on you.

"But I was definitely gonna do it at first. To get Calvin back and to keep that filly out. I was gonna do it. But if she goes to the race and Calvin decides to ride her," -- Borel has said his decision is final -- "we've got a good back-up plan and we'll just run at her.'' Allen and trainer Chip Woolley's back-up plan is to use veteran Mike Smith on Mine That Bird.

"She might kick our butts, but she deserves a shot,'' Allen said. "Myself, I wouldn't run her against the boys. I'd go for the filly triple crown. But she ain't my filly. She may outrun us and she may not. But I ain't gonna stop her from running.''

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