The announcement of the retirement of Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra, shocked the horse racing world on September 28, 2010. The previous day, Rachel Alexandra had posted a bullet workout on the Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga, but now the mare’s amazing career was over.
Rachel Alexandra is Born
Born January 29, 2006, the bay filly with the upside down exclamation point on her forehead would go on to become on the most famous faces in racing. Rachel Alexandra was bred by Dolphus C. Morrison. She from the first crop of Travers winner, Medaglia d’Oro. Rachel Alexandra was the first foal out of Tiffany Lass winner, Lotta Kim.
Rachel Alexandra as a Two-Year-Old
Morrison and his partner, Mike Lauffer, sent Rachel Alexandra to trainer Hal Wiggins, who trained her dam. She made good progress and was sent to her first race on May 22, 2008 at Churchill Downs. She finished a promising sixth after being blocked in the stretch. Less than a month later, on June 13, Rachel Alexandra ran again at Churchill Downs. This time she won after dueling with Best Lass in the stretch. She won an allowance race at Keeneland, but did not win either attempt at a stakes fo jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.
Hernandez Jr. was replaced by Calvin Borel for the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes. Rachel Alexandra went on to win the 8½ furlong event by 4¾ lengths, setting a new stakes record of 1:43.08 in the process. After the Golden Rod, the filly underwent surgery to remove a bone chip in her knee and was given some time off.
Rachel Alexandra as a Three-Year-Old
Rachel Alexandra made her 3-year-old debut in the Martha Washington Stakes by 8 lengths. After the Martha Washingon, she won the Fantasy Stakes and then the Kentucky Oaks by 20 1/4 lengths.
After Rachel Alexandra’s Kentucky Oaks win, she was purchased by Jess Jackson for an undisclosed amount and sent to Steve Asmussen to train. Her first start in the wine and gold silks of Stonestreet Stables was the Preakness Stakes. A field of thirteen, including Kentucky Derby winner, Mine That Bird, went to post. Rachel Alexandra won by 1 length, becoming the first filly to win the Preakness since 1924.
She skipped the Belmont and instead went on to run in the Mother Goose. Only two fillies raced against her. She won the race by a record 19 1/4 lengths and set a new stakes record.
After the Mother Goose, Rachel Alexandra ran in the Woodward Stakes. In that race, she defeated Belmont Stakes and future Champion 3-Year-Old Colt, Summer Bird on a sloppy track by 6 lengths.
In her final race of the season, Rachel Alexandra took on older colts in the Woodward Stakes. She set quick early fractions and held on to defeat Macho Again by a head.
Rachel Alexandra was voted the unanimous Champion Three-year-Old Filly and in what would become a bitter debate among fans was voted Horse of the Year over Zenyatta, who was also undefeated. She was the fourth female Horse of the Year since the Eclipse Awards were introduced.
Rachel Alexandra as a Four-Year-Old
After wintering in New Orleans, Rachel Alexandra made her four-year-old debut in the New Orleans Lady Stakes. She was defeated by Zardana. She also finished second to Unrivaled Belle in the La Troienne Stakes before winning the Fleur de Lis and the Lady’s Secret Stakes.
In what would be her final start, Rachel Alexandra finished second in the Personal Ensign Stakes.