Race of the Week 2017

New York Fans Loved Rachel Alexandra

Rachel Alexandra won thirteen races during her brilliant career, which included 2009 Horse of the Year honors, and two of those victories came in unforgettable fashion on The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit.


Yesterday, Jess Jackson, principal of Stonestreet Stables, the majority owner of Rachel Alexandra, announced that the 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro would be retired and bred to two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.


The first chance that fans in New York got to see Rachel live was the Grade 1 Mother Goose on June 27, 2009 at Belmont Park. She came into the race off six straight victories by a combined margin of more than 34 lengths, including a 20 ¼-length romp in the Kentucky Oaks and a triumph over the boys in the Preakness.


Taking on two fillies in Flashing and Malibu Prayer that would go on to become Grade 1 winners, Rachel settled comfortably in third behind swift fractions of 22.57, 44.66 and 1:08.86. When jockey Calvin Borel asked her for run on the sweeping Belmont turn, she catapulted to the lead and turned for home on top. In what NYRA Track Announcer Tom Durkin referred to as a “dazzling display,” Rachel won by 19 ¼ lengths, completing the 1 1/8-miles in 1:46.33, good for a new stakes record.


Following an impressive six-length victory over 2009’s eventual 3-year-old male champion Summer Bird in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, Rachel’s connections had even more ambitious plans in mind. She would attempt to become the first filly or mare to defeat males in the 56-year history of the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga Race Course. The only female to have even finished second in the prestigious race was the great Lady’s Secret, during her Horse of the Year campaign in 1986.


Stabled all summer in trainer Steve Asmussen’s Saratoga barn, Rachel came into the 1 1/8-mile Woodward riding an impressive eight-race winning streak, including all seven of her races in 2009.


An energetic crowd of 31,171 flocked to Saratoga on Saturday, September 5 to see the filly try to make history.


When the gates opened, Borel sent Rachel to the lead, dueling on the outside of 2008 Belmont Stakes winner Da’ Tara through a torrid opening quarter of 22.85, prompting Durkin to comment, “There will be no free ride for Rachel Alexandra!”


Continuing to lead through subsequent fractions of 46.41 and 1:10.54, Rachel put away the other speed horses on the far turn, but turning for home, a trio of closers, including Grade 1 winners Macho Again and Bullsbay, began to find their best stride.


In deep stretch, just when it appeared that Macho Again would surge by his younger rival and score the victory, Rachel, implored by Borel for everything she had and cheered on by the Saratoga crowd, found more and held on to win by a narrow head.


Durkin’s call summed it up perfectly: “It’s going to be desperately close – here’s the wire – Rachel won! She is indeed Rachel Alexandra the Great!”


The Woodward was the final race in Rachel’s undefeated 3-year-old campaign, comprising eight victories, including five Grade 1 events, and netting her Horse of the Year honors.


Given more than seven months off to recover from her grueling, historic season, Rachel returned to the races as a 4-year-old, but was never able to regain the brilliance that she had previously shown. In 2010, the filly made five starts, winning twice and finishing second three times.


The final race of her career came at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign, run at 1 ¼ miles on Sunday, August 29. After dueling with Grade 1 winner Life At Ten through a brisk opening half-mile in 47.73, Rachel led at the top of the stretch but was caught late by Persistently, finishing second by a length.


“Rachel Alexandra is a superstar in every sense of the word,” said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward. “Her sensational victory in the Woodward provided one of the most memorable moments in Saratoga’s recent history and capped off an incredible 3-year-old campaign. We would like to thank Mr. Jackson for racing her in New York on three occasions and providing our racing fans the chance to see one of the best horses of this generation.”


Fans of Rachel Alexandra can look back on her amazing career at NYRA’s special website, “Rachel’s Sandbox,” including numerous videos, articles, blogs, and much more.




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Older Comments about New York Fans Loved Rachel Alexandra...

Retire Rachel? Now? I went from sad to mad. At least let her be paraded before her fans one last time. I didn't want to believe all the negative things said about J. Jackson, but his treatment of this wonderful horse is baffling. I demand a recount! Un-retire her immediately! Zenyatta did it. I hope I never fall in love with a Jackson horse again like I did with Rachel. I feel like she died suddenly!
I had several doses of geographical blindness when I attended the 85 Breeder's Cup at Aqueduct.....The crowd went nuts on anything Cordero was up on and missed serveral well priced obvious ones including the Western based Precisionist.
Polytrack Elite is in the east and Polytrack Classic is in the west. They have differing binding agents
Jelly cord maintenance and mineral oil additions, when properly applied to the crap, bond it so the particles adhere better. Just watch how many outriders in Toronto wear masks.....A trainer at Fort Erie has to only run there now and again and scopes each horse upon retuning and they are full of fibers from this "unknown kickback."
This is absolutely hilarious. I couldn’t make this up. Right from the article you’re using to try to prove that Zenyatta does have to deal with kick back on her synthetic California tracks. Jim Ormiston, EVP at Woodbine talking about how Woodbine did experience some unexpected kick back that they had to fix because the track was deteriorating: “It isn’t an issue if you’re installing Polytrack in California, where temperatures are high” Ha ha ha Keep telling me what I know very little about.
kick back is an on again off again problen involving track maintenance.http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/38288/woodbine-has-plan-to-address-polytrack-problems
You know very little about synthetics and kick back. ALL race tracks have kickback
You know very little about synthetics and kick back. ALL race tracks have kickback
You keep talking about people not understanding things, no offense, but apparently you are no different. You keep talking about her remarkable closing ability. Do you not understand that she's infinitely assisted in closing by the synthetic surface she’ll only run on? (Please don’t tell me about her 2 trips on dirt, 90% of her races have been on synthetic). There is no way she has the record she does on dirt. No chance. Synthetic is built for closers, not speed. You read the Beyer article, in the 2 Breeders Cups run on synthetic Santa Anita, you have the best horses on the planet, and out of 16 races, ZERO front runners won? None? To have horses of that caliber & not have a single front runner win? That’s absolutely ridiculous. You can’t possibly read that & tell me the surface makes no difference for closers. She never has to deal with mud or dirt getting kicked up in her face, which is a major hindrance to deep closers on dirt, because synthetic essentially evaporates on impact. Speed is neutralized on synthetic & that’s why they’ve kept her on it her whole career. I understand you are a huge Zenyatta fan and are biased towards her, and that’s fine. But don’t tell people who are quite knowledgeable about racing that they don’t understand it if you aren’t going to look at all the facts yourself.
Why do we have more champions like Affirmed, Forty Niner, Fager, Cigar and the like? Because pressers have it all the best. Aldebaran, Lit de Justice, Concern, Cefis, Editor's Note, the big late movers never showed the same record and you know why? The pace scenario was NEVER known to the rider who had to make the best guess, they were NEVER part of that pace having no influence on it, and they had to get through traffic. Any one of those factors caused most deep closers losses. That is why this mare is all the more remarkable.
those who do not understand how IMPOSSIBLE Zenyatta is, especially pace wise, will NEVER understand no matter how often or how cogent the explanations are or will be.
humphrey - I see your still a tool, and you have the nerve to talk about relevant. Especially since you aren't and once again neither is Zenyatta. You are so stupid and dense in your binary little world. This article was not about Zenyatta. An article about Rachel in no way diminished Zenyatta, morons like you DO!! With your silly paranoia and insistent blather. Thinking people hate Zen fans and turn away from her because they are oh so tired of comments just like this. I think you have mommy issues. Sit down shut up you are once again annoying the adults.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/29/AR2010092903591.\ html Beyer does what he has to do to stay relevant: create discussion. Much like Madonna does so often to revitalize her career, Beyer pops up now and then to put in his two cents worth which is usually what his comments are worth nowadays. I grew up learning of the exploits of Shoe, Olden Times, Swaps and Ack Ack. Each year, as I saw Eastern big shots come west, and for the most part get beat out here, the year end ballots always have, and always will, favor East coast based horses by the simple fact that there are MORE votes in the East. If Tiger Woods only played on the West coast would that change how he played? If Honus Wagner had played in Seattle, would he have been less of a baseball player? Don't think so. The bias is ingrained in the geopolitical nature of the location of the more historic race courses and graded races. As pace handicappers, knowing how difficult it is for ANY horse to come from far out of it on the main course, how LUCKY one has to be to get through a field coming back to them, how the rider has NO idea of the pace and cannot change it a lick, people have NO idea what an unbelievable accomplishment Zenyatta has put up so far. Isn't it odd that such an article JUST happens to come out when the Queen of the May was retired? Objectivity is becoming a lost art.

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