Back-to-back Eclipse Awards for trainer of Rachel Alexandra and grade I winner Kodiak Kowboy, Hot Dixie Chick; led nation with $21.8 million in earnings
- By Esther Marr
After trouncing her own division, filly stepped out to beat the boys in the grade I BlackBerry Preakness, Haskell, and Woodward Stakes.
Son of Posse won the Carter, Vosburgh, and Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (all gr. I) for Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm
Rachel Alexandra's extraordinary victory in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga has been voted by fans as NYRA's 2009 "Story of the Year."
For the first time, female Thoroughbreds occupy the top two spots on the list of leading North American earners in 2009, according to final statistics released today by Equibase Company.
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has put together a $200,000 stakes race for older fillies and mares in hopes of luring Horse of the Year candidate Rachel Alexandra for her 2010 debut.
Godolphin Racing's Pyro, winner of the Forego Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, has been retired and will enter stud in 2010 at Darley Japan where his fee will be ¥2 million (about US$22,100).
Trainer Steve Asmussen eclipsed his own North American record for number of wins in a single season when Poppin won a claiming race at Woodbine Racecourse on Dec. 6.
Friesan Fire, sent off as the favorite in this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), finished third in a Fair Grounds allowance contest in his first race back since the Preakness (gr. I).
Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick's Rachel Alexandra arrived in Louisiana Nov. 27 but probably won't race until March or April.
Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm's Friesan Fire, who finished 18th of 19 as the 7-2 favorite for this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), is one of six horses entered in the Dec. 3 feature at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
WinStar Farm's Super Saver romped to a five-length victory over William's Kitten in stakes-record time to win the $191,250 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs Nov. 28.
Ridden patiently by Shaun Bridgmohan, Kodiak Kowboy swept past Bribon and Vineyard Haven in deep stretch to win the $300,000 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct Nov. 28.
Racing in graded stakes company for the first time since disappointing in the Gotham (gr. III) this spring, Haynesfield looked like a completely different 3-year-old this time around, as he took over approaching the quarter-pole and easily repelled odds-on favorite Gone Astray to win the $103,500 Discovery Handicap (gr. III) by 4 1/2 lengths Nov. 21 at Aqueduct.
Overlooked Thiskyhasnolimit drove four wide through the homestretch under Shaun Bridgmohan to register his first stakes win by one length in the $120,800 Iroquois (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs Nov. 1.
Ramon Dominguez rode four stakes winners Oct. 24 at rainy Belmont Park, including a three-quarters of a length victory by Haynesfield in the $250,000 Empire Classic.
Leading Horse of the Year candidate Rachel Alexandra returned to her home base at Churchill Downs Oct. 7 and settled into familiar surroundings in trainer Steve Asmussen's Barn 38 following a long van ride from Saratoga, where she spent much of the summer and the early days of fall.
Soul Warrior has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite for the 30th running of the $750,000 Super Derby (gr. II) Sept. 19 at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City.
Trainer Steve Asmussen got his 5,000th training victory when Passion Rules won the 7th race at Woodbine Sept. 11
Rachel Alexandra provided one of the great moments in the history of Saratoga when she scored a courageous head victory over older male rivals in the $750,000 Woodward Stakes Sept. 5.
Standing outside his barn at Saratoga the morning of Sept. 6, trainer Steve Asmussen was still basking in the glow of Rachel Alexandra's historic victory in the $750,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) as he reported the filly came out of the race in good shape.
Odds-on favorite Hot Dixie Chick served notice that she is among the elite 2-year-old fillies in the land, as she put away a pair of rivals in upper stretch and glided home for a 1 3/4-length score in the $300,000 Spinaway (gr. I) Sept. 6 at Saratoga.
Rachel Alexandra cemented herself as one of the best fillies of all-time in a race for the ages, as she set a suicidal pace and then was all out under Calvin Borel to hold off a bold charge from Macho Again to win the $750,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) by a head in electrifying fashion Sept. 5 at Saratoga.
Western Smoke repeated a feat accomplished by his daddy 13 years ago, winning the $150,000 Sapling (gr. III) at Monmouth Sept. 5 for his third consecutive stakes score. Now, if the 2-year-old colt can go on to do what Smoke Glacken did in his sophomore season, he will really be in business.
Rachel Alexandra will steal all the headlines, but she won't be the only heavily-backed filly Steve Asmussen sends out in a grade I race this weekend at Saratoga. The nation's leading trainer also has Grace Stables' Hot Dixie Chick going in the $300,000 Spinaway (gr. I) on Sept. 6, and the daughter of Dixie Union figures to receive much of the attention at the windows.
Luna Vega overcame Spritely in the homestretch to post a mild surprise in the $223,000 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 30 for her second win in as many starts on the Monmouth Park main track.
After training horses for more three decades and having his career peak this year with the success of the sensational filly Rachel Alexandra, Hal Wiggins will ride off into the sunset of retirement at the end of Churchill Downs' fall meet in November.
Rachel Alexandra breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.37 on a foggy Monday morning on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Race Course, after which trainer Steve Asmussen said discussions would begin "in earnest" on where the filly would make her next start.
Quality Road, expected to be among the favorites for the $1 million Shadwell Travers (gr. I), turned in his first work since his record-setting victory in the Amsterdam (gr. II) Aug. 16 at Saratoga, covering six furlongs in 1:13.19.
With his superstar Rachel Alexandra waiting to make her next start, another 3-year-old filly punctuated a big night for trainer Steve Asmussen when Four Gifts took the $250,000 Charles Town Oaks by a half-length over Royal Card. Four Gifts' win provided Asmussen and jockey Robby Albarado their third stakes win on Charles Town Races & Slots inaugural Race for the Ribbon night Aug. 15.
Multiple graded stakes winner Four Gifts headlines the inaugural running of the $250,000 Charles Town Oaks, the feature race on Race for the Ribbon night to be held Aug. 15 at Charles Town Races & Slots.
Looking ahead to a possible start on the grass in the fall, trainer Tim Ice had Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird galloped the morning of Aug. 12 over the Oklahoma turf course as part of his preparations for the $1 million Shadwell Travers (gr. I) Aug. 29 at Saratoga Race Course.
Preakness-winning filly Rachel Alexandra put in her first work at Saratoga Race Course the morning of Aug. 11 in preparation for her as-yet-to-be-determined next start, covering a half-mile in :50.72 under exercise rider Dominic Terry.
Stonestreet Stable's Rachel Alexandra was on Saratoga's Oklahoma training track Aug. 6 for a gallop and will return to the work tab next week, most likely Aug. 11, trainer Steve Asmussen said.
A story about Rachel Alexandra seems out of place in a column about the Breeders' Cup, but who cares. That's between Jess Jackson and the Breeders' Cup decision makers. Even though there will be no launching of the Rachel rocket on Nov. 7, it's still fun to "count down" to the imaginary blast off.
Stonestreet Stables and Gulf Coast Farms' Kensei, who powered home to a 2 1/4-length victory over Warrior's Reward in the Aug. 1 Jim Dandy (gr. II) came out of the race in good shape, according to trainer Steven Asmussen's assistant Larry Ulrich.
Kensei notched his second straight grade II score Aug. 1 in the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, as he pulled away from Warrior's Reward in the stretch for a convincing victory under Edgar Prado.
Although Rachel Alexandra has been installed as the 4-5 favorite for the $1.25-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Aug. 2, she could face stiff competition from several of the six 3-year-old colts entered against her.
Favored Hot Dixie Chick showed she was more than a speed freak in the $111,000 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III), rating patiently just off the pace before grabbing the lead and then pulling away to a 6 1/4 length victory July 29, the opening day of the Saratoga meeting in upstate New York.
Lone Star Park ended its 2009 spring Thoroughbred meet, which was run from April 9 through July 26, with decreases in both attendance and handle.
BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra worked five furlongs in 1:01.38 over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Racecourse July 13.
Even after an eight-hour hearing July 7, the arguments still aren't over concerning a May 2008 drug positive for one of Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen's horses.
BlackBerry Preakness (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra breezed July 6 over the Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga Race Course in her first workout since her record-setting victory in the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) eight days ago.
Glen Hill Farm's homebred Closeout coasted to a three-length victory over Gloria Goodbody to win the 28th running of the $114,900 Locust Grove Handicap (gr. III) to close out the 45-day Spring Meet at Churchill Downs.
Scarcely 12 hours after her record-setting victory in the Mother Goose (gr. I) June 27 at Belmont Park, Rachel Alexandra stepped onto a van that carried her up the Northway to Saratoga Race Course, which will be the base for her summer campaign.
Rachel Alexandra faced only two opponents in the $300,000 Mother Goose (gr. I) June 27 at Belmont Park but the sensational filly put on a dazzling display anyway, setting a stakes record while romping by nearly 20 lengths under Calvin Borel.
Shipped north to Prairie Meadows for the June 26 Iowa Oaks (gr. III) off a big win in the Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) last month at Churchill Downs, Hightap delivered again, taking the $200,000 race by three-quarters of a length over Sweet Relish.
Preakness (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra galloped about a mile and a quarter on Belmont's fast main track early June 26, well in advance of a 9:30 a.m. EDT downpour.
Rachel Alexandra, who when last seen was making history by winning the May 16 BlackBerry Preakness (gr. I), will make her return to the racetrack in the $300,000 Mother Goose (gr. I) June 27 at Belmont Park. The Horse of the Year candidate will face only four rivals in the nine-furlong test for 3-year-old fillies.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has saddled the Debutante (gr. III) winner a record six times, will have two chances at bringing home a seventh June 27 when he sends out Westrock Stables' Decelerator and Tidal Pool in the $100,000 event at Churchill Downs.
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