They haven't even had the post draw for the 134th Preakness Stakes and already Rachel Alexandra has kicked up such a fuss you would think she was bringing swine flu.
A year after Big Brown brought his bad-boy steroids rep to Pimlico, a filly has become the diva of the Triple Crown. Who would have thought it?
Even the hint of her appearance this week had the high rollers backpedaling.
"Any man would be a fool to welcome that," said Chip Woolley, trainer of Mine That Bird, the shocking Kentucky Derby winner. "She's tough. Am I craving to run against her? No. If she's there, we'll try to beat her if we can. As much as anything, I don't want her to go if she's taking my rider."
And she will take his rider -- Cajun Calvin Borel -- if she goes.
Jess Jackson, part of the Stonestreet Stables ownership team that purchased Rachel Alexandra this week, said Friday he wants his new filly to run in the Preakness. She can, as long as 14 other horses nominated for the Triple Crown in the early nominating don't enter. She's out if that happens.
What a shame that would be. Let her run. Let's see what Mine That Bird and Musket Man and Papa Clem and General Quarters -- all Derby horses -- can do on the same track. What a stroke of good fortune for the Maryland Jockey Club, which can use it.
David Fawkes, whose Florida-bred Big Drama is one of the shooters this year, wanted to run in the Preakness because Rachel Alexandra's previous owner said she wouldn't run here. Fawkes said he wanted to avoid the super filly and this was the place to be.
Gary Stute, the trainer of Big Clem, was also nonplussed by the news. He saw the finish line at Pimlico, and then he saw Rachel Alexandra.
"That filly is in a different world than the rest of us," he said. "She is something spectacular. I'm trying to convince Bob Baffert to enter another horse, because if he enters another horse, we'd already have 14 entries and she'll be on the sidelines. To be honest, it really disappointed me [to learn the filly might run] because ... I thought I had one heck of a shot in the Preakness."
Baffert not only hasn't entered a second horse, the California trainer hasn't entered his first, Pioneerof the Nile, although he is tentatively scheduled to arrive at Pimlico on Wednesday for the draw. Pioneerof the Nile finished second in the Derby. If he shows, the top four horses from that race will be in Baltimore to take on Rachel Alexandra.
How could you ask for anything better?