Rachel Alexandra's 5 Best Career Races

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D.S. Williamson

February 28th, 2016

It's fitting that this is the year the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame will induct 2 of the greatest female horses to ever run, Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra. After all, both Songbird and Carina Mia might turn out to be on Rachel's level. In my last blog, I posted my 5 favorite Zenyatta races. In this blog post, I'm posting my 5 favorite Rachel Alexandra races. Rachel Alexandra beat Zenyatta for Horse of the Year Honors in 2009 even though Zenyatta won the Breeders Cup Classic. The reason why is because in addition all 8 of her races Rachel beat the boys 3 times in 2009. She took down the males in the Preakness, the Haskell and the Woodward. She also dominated in the Kentucky Oaks that year.

Trained by Steve Asmussen for Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick after the Kentucky Oaks, Rachel Alexandra was so good that the Kentucky Derby winner lost his rider to her in the Preakness. Calvin Borel, who 2 weeks before had rode Mine That Bird to one of the biggest upsets in Horse Racing History, decided to forego his mount aboard the Derby winner to lead Rachel Alexandra to a Preakness win.

On to my list!

My 5 Favorite Rachel Alexandra Races
1. 2009 Preakness Stakes - The fractions were fast. A flat :23 for the first quarter. A :46.3 half mile. And, the Kentucky Derby winner absolutely flying...what's a girl to do surrounded by so much testosterone? Rachel was awesome in the 2009 Preakness Stakes. Without a doubt, the Preakness was one of the most exciting races of the year. If you've forgotten, make sure to watch it again. Mike Smith had to go wide around the final turn. Man, he almost got Mine That Bird there! Plus, Rachel had to break from post 13. This race might be the biggest reason Rachel won Horse of the Year in 2009.
2. 2008 Golden Rod Stakes - Argue if you want. But, before going all in with your argument, remember that 2 other fillies, Sara Louise and Dream Empress, went off at around 8/5 in the 2008 Golden Rod. Sarah Louise had beaten her 28 days earlier in the Grade 3 Pocahontas. At the top of the stretch in the Golden Rod, it sure looked like Sarah Louise was going to pass her again. In fact, if I remember correctly I was on Sarah Louise that day. All Rachel did was keep her at bay the way that only real champions can. Hal Wiggins was Rachel's trainer for this race. Wiggins trained Rachel until after the Kentucky Oaks.
3. 2009 Kentucky Oaks - Rachel's Kentucky Oaks was one of the most spectacular wins in Oaks' history. She didn't face much of a field, but don't the truly great ones make all of the other horses in races that they win look like amateurs? She won by over 20 lengths. I don't think anybody doubts that she would have probably won the Kentucky Derby in 2009.
4. 2009 Haskell Invitational - I give Rachel more credit for the win over Summer Bird in the Haskell Invitational in 2009 than for the win over the older males in the Woodward. Summer Bird turned out to be one of the better horses in 2009. He not only won the Belmont but he also won the Travers and the Jockey Club Gold Cup that year. Classic Rachel in the Haskell. Stalk and pounce.
5. 2009 Woodward Stakes - The field was nothing spectacular. Still, Rachel beat older males in the Woodward Stakes. She also did it at Saratoga, the Graveyard of Favorites. Let's not look past that fact. Saratoga is a funky track. American Pharoah just lost the Travers at Saratoga this past summer. Secretariat also lost there. Rachel won at Saratoga to stamp an unbelievable year!


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