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Rachel Alexandra, Asmussen Among Hall of Fame Inductees

Rachel Alexandra, Asmussen Among Hall of Fame Inductees

09.08.2016, by Jim
Rachel Alexandra, Asmussen Among Hall of Fame Inductees&h=223&w=348&zc=1

There is no greater accolade in any sport than enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. Horse racing is no different though it is unique in that trainers and other horsemen can reach the Hall of Fame while still active. That’s the case with the 2016 class which is one of the most impressive in history and led by trainer Steve Asmussen and the filly he trained for most of her career, Rachel Alexandra. Also entering the Hall of Fame in 2016 is Rachel Alexandra’s longtime rival Zenyatta.

Asmussen has trained another Hall of Famer–he had saddled Curlin who retired as horse racing’s all time money winner (since eclipsed by California Chrome). Curlin is now one of the most sought after stallions in racing. During his career he won eight Grade 1 events, including the Preakness, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Dubai World Cup, and two editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He’s in good company with Rachel Alexandra who had one of the most impressive three year old campaigns in history going 8 for 8 which included 7 stakes races. She won the Grade 2 Fairgrounds Oaks and Grade 2 Fantasy then took the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks by a ridiculous 20 1/2 lengths. She then won the Grade 1 Preakness beating a field of male horses and becoming the first filly to win the race since the 1920’s. She won another Grade 1 race against female horses in the Mother Goose and then finished the year with two victories in Grade 1 races against male horses in the Haskell Invitational and Woodward. She was retired during her four year old campaign–she never finished lower than second that year but just didn’t look as sharp. She was retired to a life in the breeding shed but almost died after a very problematic pregnancy. After that, owner Barbara Banke said that she wouldn’t be bred again.

At the time of her retirement the late Jess Jackson who co-owned Rachel at the time said of her: “She set standards and records that no filly before her ever achieved. And I suspect it will be quite a while before a 3-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.”

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