A day after Rachel Alexandra turned in a bullet four-furlong work at Saratoga’s Oklahoma Training Track, her majority owner, Jess Jackson, announced that the reigning Horse of the Year had been retired from racing.
"As you know, despite top training and a patient campaign, Rachel Alexandra did not return to her 2009 form,” Jackson said. “I believe it's time to retire our champion and reward her with a less stressful life. We are delighted she will retire healthy and happy to our beautiful farm in Kentucky (Stonestreet Farm near Lexington).
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“Rachel Alexandra owes us nothing. As a 3-year-old, she set standards and records that no filly before her ever achieved. And I suspect it will be quite a while before a 3-year-old filly ever equals or surpasses her achievements. Although her fans were thrilled by a series of spectacular victories, I believe they, as we, were simply awed time and again by her sheer beauty, courage, and athleticism.”
During her spotless eight-race campaign in 2009, Rachel Alexandra defeated fillies by more than 20 lengths in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and 19 lengths in the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) and she also beat males in the grade I Preakness, Haskell, and Woodward. Off the track, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro helped raise money for cancer research, education, and other charitable causes.
After being trained to early success by now-retired conditioner Hal Wiggins, who saddled her to victory in the Oaks, Rachel Alexandra was purchased privately by Jackson and Harold T. McCormick from her previous owners Dolphus Morrison and Mike Lauffer.
"I have been blessed to have been part of history,” said trainer Steve Asmussen, who took over the reins from Wiggins in 2009. “We are all very fortunate that Rachel carried the banner following Curlin's amazing success story. The fans adored her, we all did. She had the most fluid and beautiful stride of any horse I have ever seen. It's been quite a ride.”
"On behalf of my partner Hal McCormick, I want to thank Steve Asmussen, Scott Blasi, and the entire Asmussen Racing team for their immense contributions to Rachel's success story,” Jackson said. “And last, but far from least, let me thank the great (jockey) Calvin Borel.
“Now we are looking to the future. We are eager to introduce Rachel to Curlin. Imagine what possibilities those two super horses might produce," Jackson concluded.
Rachel Alexandra, who also was 2009's champion 3-year-old filly, finished her career with 13 victories and five seconds in 19 races. She earned $3,506,730.
Produced from Roar mare Lotta Kim, Rachel Alexandra was bred by Morrison in Kentucky. Her efforts in a five-race campaign this year included victories in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs and the Lady's Secret Stakes at Monmouth Park. She finished second in the Aug. 29 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga in what turned out to be the last race of her career.
Remembering Rachel's Oaks Win: