Jess Jackson, the owner of the popular wine label Kendall-Jackson, must love Baltimore. In his brief time on the Triple Crown circuit at the Preakness, Jackson has a pretty good record.
On both occasions, I had the pleasure to speak with him as he walked from the press area after the race to the WBAL tent housed right inside the corporate village. Some say that success changes the attitude of some people, and I have to say that Mr. Jackson seemed totally different than after Curlin’s win in 2007.
He had a beard this time.
Meeting many trainers and owners over the last week at Pimlico, I can honestly say that everyone was truly happy to be at the second jewel of the triple crown. Regardless of if they were putting on a happy face for the cameras, it was refreshing to see everyone – not just a majority – of horsemen enjoying their craft in the most important five weeks of the year for them.
If Calvin Borel rides Rachel Alexandra at the Belmont in a few weeks, the convention wisdom dictates a Calvin Crown will happen for the jockey of a pair of sensational horses. I doubt the filly wins in New York. The distance is too long and there are too many good horses with too many weeks off. Then again, I didn’t cash a winning ticket at the Preakness.
And don’t overlook Mine That Bird’s effort in the Preakness. The Derby winner shot down the middle of the Pimlico track and would’ve won the race if there was another 1/8 of a mile in the race. Chip Woolley, who began to lighten up during his week in Baltimore, is one hell of a trainer and deserves kudos for training a horse that might show up in November at Santa Anita in the Breeders’ Cup.
In the end, the girl beat the boys when the country focused on Baltimore on Saturday for just under two minutes.
Again, its time to raise your glass to Jess Jackson.