Will Not Exclude Rachel Alexandra
By Steve Haskin - May 11, 2009
John Hendrickson, husband and racing and breeding manager for Marylou
Whitney said neither he nor Marylou have ever spoken to Ahmed Zayat,
and although they plan on running Luv Gov in the Preakness (gr. I) at
the request of trainer D. Wayne Lukas, they would withdraw him if it
meant excluding Rachel Alexandra.
Also, Mark Allen, co-owner of Mine That Bird, told Sports Illustrated
that he, like Ahmed Zayat, has changed his mind and will not enter a
horse to keep Rachel Alexandra out.
Whitney owned and bred Mine That Bird’s sire Birdstone , who stands
at Gainesway Farm, outside Lexington, Ky.
“I don’t know where this came from about promoting Birdstone, but we
have never spoken to (Zayat) or anyone who works for him and have
never met him, and Marylou would never do anything to hurt the sport;
we don’t play those games,” Hendrickson said.
“Luv Gov has been Wayne’s favorite horse from the very beginning. When
he finished second, he said this is our Preakness and Belmont horse. I
told him let’s break our maiden first (which he did impressively on
Derby Day). This morning, Wayne called and said, ‘How about the
Preakness? The race would suit him just fine and we’ll have to run him
again because he needs the race.’ I told Wayne, ‘You did great with
Stone Legacy (second in the Kentucky Oaks-I), so do whatever you want
to do, but don’t exclude Rachel Alexandra.’
“Wayne said he called Pimlico and they said we’re 13 and she’d be 14.
I called Wayne again and clarified our situation. It’s important for
people to know that if we are the deciding factor that would exclude
Rachel Alexandra, we will withdraw, period. We’re not going to hurt
the sport; we love the sport. Marylou has been in it for 50 years;
she’s not going to do this to the sport she loves. When I asked her
this morning if she’d like to go to the Preakness with Luv Gov she got
excited. We legitimately thought we had a shot. But for the sake of
the sport we definitely will withdraw if people want to play these
games in order to have Rachel run.
“She is a star and I want to see her run. We’ve only seen the back end
of her. We’re craving for stars and she’s amazing to watch. I feel
like we all own her. We don’t enter to exclude anyone; we enter
because we think we can win. We think Mine That Bird is a legitimate
horse. He won by almost seven lengths, and looks like an impressive
“This whole episode is embarrassing. I don’t how this all got started,
but this is so far from what Marylou is.”