In a prepared statement released on Tuesday, September 28, majority owner Jess Jackson announced that 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra has retired from racing, despite posting a bullet workout on Monday morning on the Saratoga training track in 48.45 seconds, the fastest of 38 timed at the 1/2 mile distance. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro out of Roar mare Lotta Kim was expected to start next in Saturday's Beldame Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in a prep for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1) or a showdown with Zenyatta in the Classic (G1).
Since her historic 8-for-8 season last year, winning the Kentucky Oaks, Preakness, Haskell, and Woodward Stakes, considered enough by voters to earn Horse of the Year over undefeated California mare Zenyatta, she had proven to be a disappointment this year. She started 2010 with a defeat in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes at the Fair Grounds, prompting her connections to drop out of the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn, which would have been worth $5 million had she run. She lost the La Troienne Stakes at Churchill then came back to win the Fleur de Lis, also at Churchill, and the Lady's Secret at Monmouth Park. In what would be her final career start, she went in the Personal Ensign Stakes and was defeated in her only start at 1 1/4 miles, seen as a test to see if she would be competitive over that distance in the Classic.
She was ridden by Calvin Borel who retained the mount when she was purchased from owner-breeder Dolphus Morrison by Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stable and partner Hal McCormick after her Kentucky Oaks win. Jackson sent her to trainer Steve Asmussen, who had trained his 2-time Horse of the Year, Curlin. Asmussen said, "I have been blessed to have been part of history. We are all very fortunate that Rachel carried the banner following Curlin's amazing success story. The fans adored her, we all did. She had the most fluid and beautiful stride of any horse I have ever seen. It's been quite a ride."
Jackson said, "As you know, despite top training and a patient campaign, Rachel Alexandra did not return to her 2009 form. I believe it's time to retire our Champion and reward her with a less stressful life. We are delighted that she will retire healthy and happy to our beautiful farm in Kentucky. Rachel Alexandra owes us nothing. As a 3-year-old, she set standards and records that no filly before her ever achieved. And I suspect it will be quite a while before a three year old filly ever equals or surpasses her achievements. Although her fans were thrilled by a series of spectacular victories, I believe they, as we, were simply awed time and again by her sheer beauty, courage and athleticism."
Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the NTRA said, "Rachel Alexandra waged a three-year-old campaign that was nothing short of historic, both for its flawlessness and its ambition. We commend all those who played such a large part in her greatness, most notably co-owners Jess Jackson and Harold McCormick, trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Calvin Borel. Rachel Alexandra provided countless thrills to fans all around the world, and all of us now undoubtedly look forward to the racing exploits of her offspring."
Rachel Alexandra will retire to Stonestreet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, and as had been the plan since her purchase, she will be bred to Curlin in the spring of 2011, in a meeting of two Horses of the Year. Jackson added, On behalf of my partner Hal McCormick, I want to thank Steve Asmussen, Scott Blasi and the entire Asmussen Racing team for their immense contributions to Rachel's success story. And last but far from least let me thank the great Calvin Borel. Now we are looking to the future. We are eager to introduce Rachel to Curlin. Imagine what possibilities those two super horses might produce."
Rachel Alexandra profile - includes lots of stats and bios for her connections
Rachel Alexandra photos:
- Rachel Alexandra wins the 2008 Golden Rod Stakes
- Rachel Alexandra wins the 2009 Kentucky Oaks
- Rachel Alexandra wins the 2009 Preakness
- Rachel Alexandra wins the 2009 Mother Goose
- Rachel Alexandra wins the 2009 Haskell Invitational
- Rachel Alexandra wins the 2009 Woodward
- Rachel Alexandra runs 2nd in the 2010 New Orleans Ladies Stakes
- Rachel Alexandra runs 2nd in the 2010 La Troienne Stakes
- Rachel Alexandra wins the 2010 Fleur de Lis Handicap
- Rachel Alexandra wins the 2010 Lady's Secret Stakes
- Rachel Alexandra runs 2nd in the 2010 Personal Ensign Stakes