A Queen In The Sport Of Kings

Calvin Borel rides Rachel Alexandra rto a victory in the Kentucky Oaks race at Churchill Downs Friday, May 1, 2009, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
In the Sport of Kings, there's a Queen in the making.

The super filly Rachel Alexandra has blown away her competition - the girls, anyway.

"I got goose bumps watching her run," said Bob Baffert, the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame trainer for Pioneer of the Nile. "We left there in awe."

In taking on the big boys in the Preakness Stakes this Saturday, Rachel Alexandra has already upset the odds and spooked a few horses - like Papa Clem, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.

"Is he upset about this filly in the race?" Miller asked Gary Stute, Papa Clem's trainer.

"I don't know if he is, but I am!" Stute said laughing.

"Why?" Miller asked.

"Because I think she's something special," Stute said.

Special, because she could become first filly to win the Preakness since Nellie Morse in 1924.

Big Big Drama isn't just another horse here - it's the theme of this race. Some owners conspired earlier this week, to stack the race with other runners to try to keep the fast filly out.

"The next day they changed their mind," Stute said. "I guess they got quite a bit of bad press so they backed down."

Fillies don't normally race against colts. The boys tend to be bigger, stronger and faster.

But Rachel Alexandra is larger than the Kentucky Derby winner. And she's got something else on Mine That Bird - she'll be with the jockey that rode him to victory at Churchill Downs.

With an outside post position, she's less likely to get ruffed up at the start.

"Often, you do get trainers who tell their jockeys to lean on that horse to bump her, to push her around a bit," said sports writer Sandra McKee.

There are concerns. Racing doesn't need another tragedy like filly Eight Belles, who was euthanized on the track after last year's Derby.

Still …

"Is she the best?" Miller asked.

"She's the best filly I've seen personally in a long long time," Stute said.

"Is she better than the boys?" Miller asked.

"We'll find out Saturday," Stute said.

When the battle of the sexes takes to the track.

  • Michelle Miller

    Michelle Miller is an award-winning CBS News correspondent based in New York, reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms. Her work regularly appears on the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley", "CBS This Morning" and "CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood". She joined CBS News in 2004.