Rachel Alexandra might one day run against the boys again, but it won't be at the 141st running of the Belmont Stakes next Saturday.
The filly's owners said Friday in a statement that the Preakness winner would not enter the third leg of the Triple Crown, removing one of the horses many racing fans had hoped to see in New York next week.
"We know the media and many fans would have liked to see her run in the Belmont Stakes - we feel the same," co-owner Jess Jackson said. "But all of us sincerely interested in the horse must agree that we only want to see her run when it is best for her. While she is in great shape, having strong works and recovering well from her amazing performances, we feel Rachel deserves a well-earned vacation."
The decision will mean there will be no rematch between Rachel Alexandra and Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, who finished a close second in the Preakness. But it clears the way for jockey Calvin Borel to reunite with Mine That Bird and attempt to win the personal Triple Crown.
In a statement from the New York Racing Association, Borel thanked Mine That Bird's owners and trainer Chip Woolley Jr. "for being so gracious and allowing us to wait for this decision." Borel also praised Jackson for making the announcement earlier than expected.
"Now that the decision is made, I am excited to come to New York and ride Mine That Bird in the Belmont Stakes," Borel said.
A month ago, Borel surprised many by riding Mine That Bird - at the time a 50-1 long shot - to victory in the Derby. But he then made the controversial decision to switch to Rachel Alexandra when she was sold to Jackson and Harold T. McCormick, who decided to enter her in the Preakness. It marked the first time a jockey rode a different horse in the Preakness after winning the Kentucky Derby.
Woolley held off naming a jockey for Mine That Bird in the Belmont to see whether Borel might be available, saying he felt the pair were "poetry in motion" together.
"I don't want Calvin sitting on the sidelines when I get to the Belmont," Woolley said.
On Thursday, Woolley said Mine That Bird, who is likely to be the pre-race favorite, is training great.
"The horse is doing super," Woolley said. "He's gotten stronger every day. I'm real tickled with where we're at right now."
The Belmont Stakes is the longest of the three Triple Crown races at 1 1/2 miles, and although Rags To Riches won in 2007, before that that a filly had not won the race since 1905. No filly has won two legs of the Triple Crown. Rachel Alexandra's win at the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course on May 16 was the first time a filly won in 85 years.
Rachel Alexandra's owners didn't say Friday when she's likely to race again, but they had previously indicated she could run in the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park on June 27.
"Rachel Alexandra is an incredible thoroughbred who has proven to be the best 3-year-old in racing today," Jackson said. "We are elated by all the attention her wins in the [Kentucky] Oaks and Preakness have garnered the sport. The many letters and e-mails we have received from young girls and racing enthusiasts lets us know that many fans are proud of Rachel. When we purchased Rachel, our goal was to restore the sport's vitality and grow its fan base by extending the racing careers of its stars. ... We will always put her long-term well-being first. And, of course, we want to run her when she is fresh."
Rachel Alexandra did make one other headline Friday. She was photographed for the fashion magazine Vogue. The pictures, which will run in the August issue, were reportedly the idea of iconic magazine editor Anna Wintour, who attended the Preakness.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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