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Rachel Alexandra


Rachel Alexandra, Calvin Borel up (Skip Dickstein photo)
Rachel Alexandra
Induction Year: 
Dolphus C. Morrison
Dolphus C. Morrison; Stonestreet Stables and Harold T. McCormick
Hal Wiggins; Steven M. Asmussen
Medaglia d'Oro
Lotta Kim
Career Years: 

Tab Wrapper


Rachel Alexandra decimated the Kentucky Oaks field by an astonishing 20¼ lengths … she became the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes in 85 years … she romped by 19¼ lengths in a record-setting Mother Goose performance … she crushed the Belmont Stakes winner during a tour-de-force effort in the Haskell … and for the cherry on top she delivered a spine-tingling performance that was all heart in winning a historic edition of the Woodward at Saratoga.


To say Rachel Alexandra’s accomplishments during her Horse of the Year campaign in 2009 were staggering fails to do justice in describing one of the most impressive single-year ledgers of a filly in American racing history. Simply stated, Rachel Alexandra was otherworldly as a 3-year-old, winning all eight of her starts and dazzling all who saw her along the way.


A bay daughter of Medaglia d’Oro out of the Roar mare Lotta Kim, Rachel Alexandra was bred in Kentucky by her original owner, Dolphus Morrison, who named her after his granddaughter. Initially trained by Hal Wiggins, Rachel Alexandra arrived at the races as a 2-year-old in May of 2008 at Churchill Downs. After breaking her maiden in her second attempt, she finished second in the Debutante Stakes, won an allowance at Keeneland and finished second back at Churchill in the Pocahontas Stakes before Wiggins brought in jockey Calvin Borel.


In his first time aboard the filly, in November of 2008, Borel piloted Rachel Alexandra to a 4¾-length victory in the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill in stakes-record time. It was the final start of the year for Rachel Alexandra, but it was a menacing sign of what was to come for her future opponents.


“I knew she was something different the first time I got on her,” Borel said. “We just clicked together and the rest was history. She became a true superstar, one of the best ever.”


With Borel having taken over as her regular rider, Rachel Alexandra opened her 3-year-old campaign with victories in the Martha Washington Stakes, Fair Grounds Oaks and Fantasy Stakes leading up to the Kentucky Oaks. Coming off her 8¼-length win in the Fantasy, Rachel Alexandra seemed primed for a memorable performance — and she certainly was.


As the field turned for home in the Kentucky Oaks, Rachel Alexandra glided away from her overmatched foes as she registered a scintillating 20¼-length victory. Her time of 1:48.87 for the 1⅛ miles was 0.33 seconds off the stakes record set by Bird Town. Following the race, Morrison sold Rachel Alexandra to Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables and Harold T. McCormick. Steve Asmussen, who trained Stonestreet’s Curlin to back-to-back Horse of the Year awards, was assigned the super filly’s conditioning duties.


The new connections made a bold decision and pointed Rachel Alexandra at the Preakness Stakes. Again, she was up for the challenge, holding off Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird to become the first filly since Nellie Morse in 1924 to win the Preakness. Rachel Alexandra was also the first Kentucky Oaks victor to win the Preakness and the first horse of either sex to win the Preakness from post 13.


Rachel Alexandra followed her Preakness victory with a 19¼-length win in the Mother Goose at Belmont, setting a stakes record of 1:46.33 for 1⅛ miles and breaking the mighty Ruffian’s previous record win margin of 13½ lengths set 24 years earlier. Another brilliant effort followed in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth. Rachel Alexandra overpowered the field, including Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird, and won by six lengths. She covered the 1⅛ miles on a sloppy track in 1:47.21, which was 0.21 seconds off the stakes record. Rachel Alexandra joined Serena’s Song as the only fillies to win the Haskell and earned a 116 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest number registered by any North American horse in 2009.


Rachel Alexandra then extended her win streak to nine in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga. Following a blistering 22.85 opening quarter-mile and pressure from various challengers throughout, she was able to hold off the late-closing Macho Again to become the first filly or mare to win the historic race. She also became the first 3-year-old filly to win a significant race on dirt in New York against older males in more than 100 years, joining the likes of Lady Primrose in the 1887 Manhattan Handicap and Beldame in the 1904 Saratoga Cup with that rare achievement.


The Woodward victory was the conclusion of an undefeated campaign for Rachel Alexandra in which she won at seven different tracks in six states. She was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Filly for her achievements.


“Rachel could do absolutely anything,” said Borel. “Her talent was unbelievable, but her heart was even bigger. She’s one of the best fillies ever. I was truly lucky to be part of what she accomplished.”


Rachel Alexandra was unable to duplicate her brilliant form as a 4-year-old in 2010, but she still won the Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill and the Lady’s Secret Stakes at Monmouth, while finishing second in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes, La Troienne Stakes and the Personal Ensign Stakes, which was her final career start.


With a record of 13-5-0 from 19 starts and earnings of $3,506,730, Rachel Alexandra was retired to Stonestreet Farm near Lexington, Ky. Her first foal, Jess’s Dream, named for her late owner who died in 2011, won his career debut at Saratoga in 2015. Rachel Alexandra’s second foal, Rachel’s Valentina, won both of her starts at Saratoga in 2015, including the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes six years to the day after Rachel Alexandra’s electrifying Woodward victory.