In the aftermath of Rachel Alexandra's exploits in 2009, the phrase "run like a girl" has gone from snarky slang to high praise.
Thoroughbred racing was treated to one for the ages this past year in the form of a history-making, bright bay filly who ran every foe of either gender off their feet.
Included in Rachel Alexandra's 8-for-8 record in 2009 was a litany of achievements that has made her a finalist for Horse of the Year honors.
Days after winning the Kentucky Oaks by a record-setting 201/4 lengths, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro was purchased privately by wine mogul Jess Jackson and Harold McCormick for a reported $10 million and supplemented to take on males in the Preakness Stakes.
Rachel Alexandra justified that bold decision when she held off Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird by a length to become the first filly in 85 years to claim the second leg of the Triple Crown.
"She is the best horse in the country," jockey Calvin Borel said after the Preakness.
After following that effort with a 191/4-length romp in the Grade I Mother Goose Stakes, Rachel Alexandra broke the boys' hearts again when she defeated Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird in the Haskell Invitational and bested older males in the Grade I Woodward Stakes, becoming the first-ever filly to capture the race.