Rejected as a foal by her dam and raised on a nurse mare, Rachel Alexandra quickly overcame her difficult beginnings to become one of the greatest race fillies of all time.
The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro ’s unblemished record of 2009, which included three grade I victories against males, earned her the title of 3-year-old female in a walkover, getting all 232 first-place votes.
Eight of Rachel Alexandra’s 11 career victories came during her sophomore campaign in 2009, seven of which were graded stakes wins. And all of those wins came under Louisiana-born jockey Calvin Borel.
Rachel raced the first part of the season for her breeder Dolphus Morrison and Michael Lauffer in the name L and M Partners. She was sold privately by that outfit following her 201⁄4-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, which was the largest winning margin in the race’s history.
Rachel is now owned by Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick, for whom she won the grade I BlackBerry Preakness (first filly to win in 85 years), Mother Goose (biggest margin and fastest time in the history of the race), Haskell Invitational (second-biggest margin and second-fastest time), and Woodward (first female to win the race).
Rachel was transferred to the barn of Steve Asmussen before the Preakness after being trained to early success by Hal Wiggins.
Out of the stakes-winning Roar mare Lotta Kim, Rachel was raised at Dede McGehee’s Heaven Trees Farm near Lexington.
“When we finally got (Rachel) out, there was just something about her,” remembered Heaven Trees farm manager Don Barcus of the filly’s birth. “Sometimes you get a gut feeling that this one could be special, just the way they look and the way they act.”
After Jackson announced Rachel would not run in the Breeders’ Cup in November, he indicated his stable star would return to the track in the spring of 2010.
“Rachel’s (2009) campaign was one for the ages—beyond what any filly has ever accomplished,” Jackson said.
First-place vote totals: Rachel Alexandra, 232.