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Preakness Notes

Female Trainers Dominate Saturday's Early Races

Rachel Alexandra becomes the first filly since 1924 to win the Preakness, holding off a late charge from Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.

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By Brent Jones
Baltimore Sun
Sunday, May 17, 2009

BALTIMORE, May 16 -- Stephanie Beattie called her upset win in the $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Stakes the highlight of her career. It was the first of back-to-back victories for female trainers Saturday during Preakness Day at Pimlico Race Course.

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Beattie's No Advantage, at 12-1 odds, charged past two horses down the stretch to win the Grade III race by 2 3/4 lengths.

No Advantage pressed pacesetters Real Merchant and Crimson Comic to the far turn before charging past them on the outside to gain control. Real Merchant and Ea finished in a dead heat for second.

"This is absolutely awesome. To win a graded stakes race on the Preakness card is the highlight of my training career," said Beattie, who is based at Penn National. "We thought he could get the distance, even after he came up a little short in the Classic at Charles Town. We still believed he was a real nice colt, and now we know just how nice."

Fellow female trainer Ann Merryman's horse followed that with a win in the fifth race, as Motown Shuffle beat Our Big Wally and Schleprock. Merryman is based at Laurel Park.

In other stakes races, Everyday Heroes extended his unbeaten streak to four in the $100,000 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes Grade III race.

In a slightly bizarre ending, Everyday Heroes drifted far wide as he headed toward the finish line but still won by 3 3/4 lengths over Not for Silver and Checklist.

Earlier, Skylighter Flies led from the start and galloped to an easy win in the $150,000 Allaire duPont Distaff Stakes. Skylighter Flies was the overwhelming favorite and beat Unforgotten by 4 1/4 lengths. All Smiles finished third.

Sumacha'hot won the Maryland Bred Starter Handicap, the second year of that race. The 4-year-old gelding came off the rail for a 7 1/4 -length win over Out To Please, who finished just ahead of Norjac.

Big Drama's Early Drama

Big Drama had a little drama early Saturday morning, but that didn't keep him from running in the 134th Preakness Stakes.

The horse lay down in his stall to rest Friday night but could not get up Saturday morning.

"It's not unusual for a horse to roll into a certain position during the night," Maryland Racing Commission veterinarian David Zipf said. "They roll and their feet get up against the wall and they can't get their feet on the ground to push themselves up. It's called being cast, perhaps because like in a cast, you're immobilized."

Observers said Big Drama got himself positioned with his head under the stall webbing (at the entry door) and needed help. He was pulled back in and then was able to right himself.

Zipf said Big Drama was smart about his situation. He did not, like many horses in that position, panic and seriously hurt himself physically.

"When I examined him, he had only a superficial scrape above his eye," said Zipf.

Baltimore Sun reporters Sandra McKee and Kevin Eck contributed to this article.


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