SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Wait ‘til next year for Rachel Alexandra.
What was all but certain for more than a month became gospel Friday when Rachel Alexandra’s owner said his star 3-year-old filly is finished racing for the year.
“I am formally announcing our decision to conclude Rachel’s 2009 campaign and allow her to mature naturally,” Jess Jackson said in a statement. “We are all looking forward to an exciting 2010 season.”
Rachel Alexandra will spend the rest of the year at Churchill Downs, then resume training for a 4-year-old campaign that would likely wind up with a career-ending race in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.
Rachel Alexandra concludes her perfect season at 8-0, including historic wins against the boys in the Preakness Stakes, the Haskell Invitational and the Woodward Stakes against older males. She overwhelmed 3-year-old fillies in the Kentucky Oaks and the Mother Goose Stakes.
After Rachel became the first filly to win the Woodward on Sept. 5, Jackson reiterated he had no interest in sending her to next month’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. His reason was simple—he dislikes synthetic surfaces, and Santa Anita has one.
Not even a Breeders’ Cup lure of an extra $1 million to the winner’s share of the $5 million Classic could change Jackson’s mind.
No matter what occurs in the Breeders’ Cup, Rachel Alexandra remains a leading contender for Horse of the Year.
“We have seen an amazing 2009 campaign from Rachel Alexandra, our 3-year-old filly,” Jackson said, noting that she has defeated Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird (in the Preakness) and Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird (in the Haskell) and has raced on eight different tracks.
“She prevailed in all eight of her races in ’09—five of them Grade 1 contests,” he added. “Hers was a campaign for the ages beyond what any filly has ever accomplished and she is only 3 years old. Our family and racing fans will always remember and enjoy her historic 2009 campaign.”