Jockey Calvin Borel all but guaranteed victory in the Preakness Stakes and, boy, did she deliver, becoming the first filly in 85 years to win the second leg of the Triple Crown. The win also validated Borel's decision to climb off Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and stay on as her regular rider.
Now Borel may get a shot at a personal Triple Crown, if Rachel Alexandra goes on to the Belmont Stakes in three weeks. The 1½-mile race is the most grueling of the three.
"I'm not worried about nothing," he said. "It's going to take a racehorse to beat her."
Rachel Alexandra held off a late charge by Mine That Bird to win by a length on Saturday in her first race against the boys. She had already beaten up on her own gender, winning her five previous races by a combined 43½ lengths.
Fillies don't normally race against colts, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller. The boys tend to be bigger, stronger and faster. But it wasn't tradition that almost kept Rachel Alexandra out of this year's Preakness. It was hubris. Some owners plotted to stack the race with other horses to edge her out. They backed down after bad PR, reports Miller.
To add even more drama, the jockey of Mine That Bird also races Rachel Alexandra. Guess who he picked to ride here?
"You've got a jockey who got off the Derby winner, Mine That Bird, to get on the filly," Sandra McKee, a sports reporter for the Baltimore Sun, told Miller. "Unheard of! Unheard of getting off and then getting on a filly in the same race!"
With her win, observers say Rachel Alexandra has given the sport a much-needed giddy-up.
"I think it's great for horse racing and is going to bring a little more enthusiasm to the race," Gary Stute, the trainer of Papa Clem, told Miller. "Instead of just the husband watching the race, the husband and wife will be watching."
Musket Man finished third, as he did in the Derby, followed by Flying Private and Big Drama.
Sent off as the 9-5 favorite, Rachel Alexandra covered the 1 3-16 miles in 1:55.08 and became the first horse to win at Pimlico from the No. 13 post on the far outside.
She paid $5.60, $4.60 and $3.60. Mine That Bird returned $6.60 and $4.80, while Musket Man paid $5 to show.
The last filly to win the Preakness was Nellie Morse in 1924.