Rachel Alexandra Hangs Up Her Racing Shoes

By Adele

The hopes of horse-racing fans to see the ultimate match-up between 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and undefeated Zenyatta were dashed this week when Rachel’s owner suddenly retired her.

(Photo - HorsePhotos.com)

But don’t worry. She’s in good health and has been running fine. She just hasn’t been the same record-breaking super-filly she was in 2009, so she’s moving on…

…to a date with Curlin, the 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year. They will be living the good life on her owner’s Stonestreet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

With any luck, in 4 years or so, Rachel and Curlin’s first offspring will be a contender for the Triple Crown.

When I talked to Rachel back in January, she wasn’t ready to settle down, but after winning only 2 of her 5 races this year (although she came in 2nd in the other 3), the decision was taken off her hooves. Her owner said she deserves a “less stressful” life.

I reached Rachel’s nemesis, Zenyatta, by phone at Santa Anita to find out what she thinks of all this. At 6 years old, Zenyatta remains unbeaten with 18 career wins under her saddle, but has never worn the Horse of the Year crown.

Zenyatta told me…

“Yeah, that whole Horse of the Year business does make me feel like Susan Lucci. But, hey, I’ve never run a race that didn’t end with me standing in the winner’s circle.

“In spite of all the hype, I always suspected Rachel was a flash in the pan. She backed out of every race were were supposed to run together. But what do I know? I’m a horse.

“I wish the kid well. I hear Curlin’s a handful. He’ll probably have her wearing a maternity saddle in no time.”

Here’s video of Zenyatta winning her 18th race on August 7 at Del Mar.

For the history books, Rachel ran 19 races. Except for coming in 6th her very first time, she won all but 5 of the next 18 starts, but never came in farther back than 2nd.

To honor Rachel, the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, the last prep race for the Fair Ground Oaks, which she won last year, is being renamed at Fair Ground racetrack in Florida. The Rachel Alexandra Stakes will be run on Feburary 19, 2011.

I’ll miss Rachel Alexandra, but Cats Working wishes her and Curlin the best!


6 Responses to Rachel Alexandra Hangs Up Her Racing Shoes

  1. zappa says:

    Hi Adele
    My mom was acting silly,making swoony noisy like,”that’s so romantic”…..blaaaah blah.She had a fabulous career,she looks FANTASTIC,and she can spend some time with a little one.Furthermore,she will have plenty of help around the stable(like she will have to lift a hoof for anything!)There will be lots of press and photographers so that she she can continue to bask in the limelight. Not a bad deal.But what do I know? Im a cat


  2. catsworking says:

    Zappa, I think Rachel’s owners were expecting her to turn into another Zenyatta, winning every race into her dotage, but I had a feeling last year when they gave her the whole winter off that she’d turn into a party girl and never fully get back into fighting form.

    Racing was always a game for her. A lark. To enter the Preakness and screw things up for Mine That Bird’s Triple Crown. To leave older male horses panting after her as she whizzed past them.

    I think this year when she started seeing the next crop of 3-year-old fillies coming up, all perky and hopeful, she just said, “Screw it. I’ve earned over $3 million, broke some records, earned my place in the history books.”

    I just hope she and Curlin hit it off and he’s not constantly sneaking out to hook up with other fillies. He’s been living like a carefree bachelor for nearly 2 years now. He’d better have sowed his wild oats and be ready to settle down and start a family.

  3. adele says:

    I just hope that Curlin turns out to be a satisfactory husband for Rachel. I’ve always heard that when breeding horses, female “fluffers” were brought in to excite the stud, and then when he was with his designated mate, it was really wham, bam, thank-you ma’am.

    In any case, nice catch getting Zenyatta to talk to you, Adele. Sounds like she and Rachel won’t be getting together for coffee anytime soon.

  4. catsworking says:

    Adele, and then what are the fluffers supposed to do with themselves? Sounds like a very frustrating occupation.

    I don’t think Rachel will let Curlin off easy, especially after giving up her racing career for him. She’ll show him how champions do it, with the stable lit with a thousand candles, the finest vintage carrot juice chilling in a silver bucket, a tasty plate of oat hors d’oeuvres and a bowl of apples neaby, and she’ll be decked out in something frilly. He’ll definitely be having breakfast in bed the morning after a workout with her, and have bragging rights that it rivaled any during his racing days.

    Zenyatta has become more accessible, even though she’s almost a legend, stats-wise, and I think she’s mellowed with age. I didn’t get the impression there’s any love lost between her and Rachel, especially after Horse of the Year show-down.

  5. adele says:

    I just hope the candles are in safety holders; even the finest barns are firetraps. But the thought of Rachel in a fluffy little babydoll is pretty amusing.

    My sister-in-law owned a mare for quite some time, and she was not the best riding horse when she was in season. She was very unpredictable during the jumps and spent a lot of time rubbing against her stall walls. I imagine if a stallion had visited her and not finished the deed, she would have been highly upset. And talk about no opposable thumbs, imagine having hooves and no flexibility. The fluffer horses must be very frustrated ladies.

  6. catsworking says:

    Well I read in the paper this morning that Zenyatta is racing today, and they called it the last start of her career in California, so I guess she’ll also be hanging up her racing shoes soon. I’ve got my paws crossed that she wins her 19th straight race.

    I’m sure Rachel would take no chances with the romantic lighting and would probably have her people make sure everything is safe. The last thing they would want is to lose the 2 most recent Horses of the Year in a fire!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: