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The Final Stride

Catching up with the queens, Rachel Alexandra and Beholder

Catching up with the queens, Rachel Alexandra and Beholder
Photo: Provided by Olivia Newman

Rachel Alexandra and Beholder are living different lives, but they do have one thing in common: They dominated the racetrack against fillies and colts and now live as queens of the bluegrass.

Beholder is expecting her first foal, a colt by Uncle Mo. As she gets closer to her due date, she spends her days outside with her best buddy Bound, a fellow broodmare who is in foal to Brody’s Cause. They are inseparable. 

The Beholder tours have been very popular, and Spendthrift has been so gracious with their beloved champion. Fans from all over come to take pictures, feed her carrots, pet her and admire a mare for the ages. She gets lots of attention and is always under the watchful eye of Aimee Compton, the broodmare manager.

I was lucky enough to attend one of these tours, and was in awe of the class Beholder radiated. Ten strangers gathered around in the barn, feeding her and posing for countless photos. Not many racehorses who have shown her tenacity on the racetrack are such a pleasure to be around off it. Beholder was then walked outside to pose for more pictures before reuniting with her friend, Bound. Her bay coat still gleamed, even on a cold winter day.

Stonestreet Farm's Rachel Alexandra is no longer used as a broodmare, for the fact it was not in her best interest to keep breeding her. However, that does not make her any less special. “Rachel will always have a special place amongst our horses," said the farm's Chat Stonestreet. "She is just as dominating a presence on the farm, as she was on the racetrack, and we hope that she continues to inspire racing fans for many years to come."

Rachel also spends a majority of her time outside. “Like a lot of horses, Rachel does enjoy the cold weather. Horses are masters of thermoregulation, and Rachel has grown a nice winter coat to keep herself warm," Stonestreet said. Rachel has two paddock mates outside with her every day. Her schedule entails of coming up once in the morning and once in the afternoon for breakfast and a late lunch. Stonestreet said she much prefers to stay outside, but she will stay overnight in the barn in the case of inclement weather.

Rachel’s Valentina, her popular filly, is also at Stonestreet, and they are neighbors this year. They have separate paddocks, but both have stalls in Stonestreet’s Zinfandel Barn. Rachel’s Valentina is in foal to Curlin and will be bred back to Pioneerof the Nile in 2018, per Chat Stonestreet.

These two special mares are heroes and inspiration to myself and countless others. I will never forget watching Beholder lay her heart out on the racetrack at Santa Anita, defeating the magnificent, game filly Songbird in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff; and I will always remember being there for Rachel’s Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, as she “Raised the rafters at the Spa," in Tom Durkin's famous words. The cheers were deafening as I watched the dark bay daughter of Medaglia D’Oro put away each challenger one by one to become the first filly or mare ever to win the Woodward.

Thank you to these mares, and thank you to the amazing people who care for these “Queens of the Bluegrass."


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Meet Olivia Newman

A lifelong horse owner, Olivia grew up competing in shows, including barrel racing, team penning and draft horse competitions. She always tuned into racing, too, but it wasn't until the saga of the late Barbaro that she really became hooked. Since then she's witnessed great moments, such as Rachel Alexandra winning the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga and American Pharoah's Belmont Stakes.

Simply, horse racing brings Olivia a sense of happiness to which nothing can compare. She falls in love with the horses, and they inspire her.

Olivia is a member of TOBA and the NYTB. She works on a large Thoroughbred breeding farm near Saratoga Springs, N.Y. She loves doing foal watch and sales prepping weanlings and yearlings. Her ultimate goal is to become a trainer. You can follow Olivia on twitter @barbaroloverrr, like my page on Facebook and follow on instagram at The Final Stride.

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