If heavy favorite Rachel Alexandra wins the 134th running of the Preakness Stakes, California wine magnate Jess Jackson will add the second jewel of the Triple Crown of horseracing to his hugely successful track record in the U.S. wine industry.
Jackson, a billionaire best known for his Kendall-Jackson wine brand, owns a string of other wine properties, including Freemark Abbey, La Crema and Byron. He has been a racehorse owner for years and saddled 2007 Preakness winner Curlin.
Rachel Alexandra did not run in the Kentucky Derby, but she has four victories in 2009. The biggest victory came at the prestigious Kentucky Oaks (the biggest race in the country for fillies and mares only) where she outpaced the field by more than 20 lengths. That blowout victory convinced Jackson to purchase the Oaks winner and enter her in Saturday’s Preakness.
The filly is the 8-5 favorite in the 13-horse field. Pioneer of the Nile, runner-up in the Derby, is the second favorite followed by third favorite and Derby winner Mine That Bird, a 50-1 longshot who surprised everyone at Churchill Downs and set up the Preakness showdown.