05/10/2009 8:04PM

Unsportsmanlike Conduct


A despicable and perhaps short-lived scheme to bump Rachel Alexandra out of the Preakness, by entering unqualified colts in the race, has tarnished what should have been one of the most positive and exciting days in recent American racing history.

Ahmed Zayat, owner of Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile, said in an HRTV interview Sunday morning that he had been contacted by Mine That Bird co-owner Mark Allen, and that the two men had agreed they would each enter a colt in an attempt to keep Rachel Alexandra out of the race. The filly can not run if 14 original Triple Crown nominees are entered for the race because such nominees get preference over a supplemental nominee such as Rachel Alexandra.

(There is a side issue of where this is precisely spelled out in the conditions for the Preakness, since the condition book for the race refers only to horses being "properly" nominated, not "originally" nominated. It wouldn't be shocking if onetime attorney Jess Jackson, who bought Rachel Alexandra earlier this week, mounts a legal challenge and this Preakness Week ends up in a flurry of courtroom maneuvers if the filly is excluded.)

Zayat said later in the day he had changed his mind after being contacted by industry officials, and would not enter any of his 21 other Triple Crown nominees. Reports stemming from Zayat's earlier remarks, suggesting that Marylou Whitney was going to enter a horse in the Preakness to bump the filly out and supposedly aid Mine That Bird (a son of Whitney's runner Birdstone) were contradicted tonight by her husband, John Hendrickson. He said any Whitney runners would be withdrawn if there was a chance they would block Rachel Alexandra from running.  No word yet on whether Allen still intends to enter the maiden colt in which he has an ownership interest. [Update: Allen told The New York Times Sunday night he had changed his mind and would not enter the 0-for-9 Indy Express in the Preakness.]

(Download IndyExpress)

The damage, however, has been done. The very idea that the owners of the first two finishers in the Kentucky Derby would hatch a plan to keep a feared rival out of the Preakness, especially by using overmatched horses as pawns, may technically be within the rules but is a stunning act of unsportsmanlike conduct.

bemo More than 1 year ago
To Causeway37: you are right, there has not been a peep about this controversy anywhere that I have seen except for DRF, HRTV, TVG etc. The general press in Chicago area has not mentioned one word about a filly running in the Preakness, much less controversy. If anyone cares, it's only us [commenters], who have no control over the outcome anyway. Personally, I though she should have skipped the Preakness and run in the Belmont instead.
prozacjack More than 1 year ago
This great game of ours is exactly in the "condition" that is SHOULD be. After years and years of "neglect" all but the "hard core" players" have left the game altogether, Now, if you launch your complaints on this "blog" only, your just SPINNING your wheels We need to LAUNCH a letter writing campaign, DEMANDING change to just about ANYTHING "we the horse players want" after all WE pay ALL the BILLS and all the SALARIES to all the "dim witted" executives, high profile trainers, and "life in the fast lane jockey's. I would PERSONALLY love to LINE up ALL the "bums" that plague the Executive offices, these are the REAL NONE thinkers of this industry, this group belongs in the UNEMPLOYMENT line just like their executive buddies at the major American Car companies. Next I would just love to get my hands on the "Cute pretty boy" high profile drug trainers,that FIND a way to enhance a horses performance and SMILE while doing it. Then I would love to have a FIRM talk to every Jockey that drives a FANCY car, and remind them who is REALLY paying all their bills. If you STOP riding for second or third money, you DON'T deserve a mount and ANY track. Now if you could just line all 3 of these groups up and give them ALL a GOOD taste of an OLD fashioned "horse whipping" I could go to that big Racetrack in the sky in PEACE.
Robert Slifer More than 1 year ago
gang are we all forgetting that filly's race everyday against the colts all over the world everyday why do we hear so many complain when a filly that is clearly better then anything she is facing wants to take a shot? hmmm you think the owners are looking at this thought what is a colt out of a Preakness winning mother and father worth? Beside "Big Drama" what in this field should scare her owners from running? By the way I will agree with several posters on her the product is getting very watered down right now The amount of cheap races being run at the so called good tracks are getting out of hand.
bob More than 1 year ago
Some people seem to think that running this fillie in the Preakness can be good for the sport. Can anyone give me the name of a fillie that had to be destroyed recently in a big 3 year old race against her own sex? It would probably be difficult. Running this fillie against the boys can do much more damage to this sport than it can do good. Below is an exerpt I took from espn.com... "Jim Squires, who bred 2001 Derby winner Monarchos, told The New York Times he doesn't believe Eight Belles was put at undue risk running against colts. Arthur Hancock III, who has bred three Derby winners, isn't so sure. He was present in 1964 when his father's prize filly, Lamb Chop, broke down against boys and had to be euthanized. He remembers his father swearing through his tears that he'd never subject a filly to that again. "I saw it firsthand and learned my lesson there," Arthur Hancock said. "It's just nature. Do you know many women -- or any women -- who could play for the Kansas City Chiefs or Denver Broncos? "I guarantee you one thing: If she does, it's going to be a long time before she wants to play football again. If she comes out of it. That's just the way this planet is."
Mr. B-52 More than 1 year ago
In response to pru: Mike Smith is a native of Roswell, New Mexico, where Mine That Bird's connections reside. I imagine that is why they chose him. Honestly, I'd rather see Quiyet Bui get the mount.
Shane Egan More than 1 year ago
I'm not too grand to admit to a twinge of schadenfreude at D.Wayne "Forgotten-but-Not- Gone" Lukas' latest self-degradation in this brief fiasco. Cat Thief's gone and he ain't comin' back, old uncle.
Mr. B-52 More than 1 year ago
Gee, a guy who hand delivered bribes to corrupt Alaska politicians for his father would do something unsportsmanlike. There's a shocker. Please, let's not label this clown "colorful" the way other sketchers in racing have been labeled in the past. He is what he is, a sleezebag.
Dave More than 1 year ago
"Oops! (says Mark Allen) Maybe that phone call was a bad idea"
Real1Quiet More than 1 year ago
Wait one second... You're telling me that the son-of-a-self-admitted-political-briber (whom incidentally had daddy grant him immunity in exchange for daddy pointing the finger and helping the Fed's investigation) would have even an inkling of underhandedness that would put his own interests before the sport's interests? I am shocked and appalled! Apple? Tree?
Brock Sheridan More than 1 year ago
I say Mark Allen is good for racing. Good for racing like a wart on a nose. Ugly and annoying, but it gets people's attention.