Louisville Magazine

APR 2012

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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No. 133: Sometimes women run faster. Mystique Feminine Te I A star (with his own star) is born: Rachel Alexandra and her 40-day-old foal at Stonestreet Farm in Lexington; and the celebrated mother turned loose in her paddock. Opposite page: A close-up of Rachel's winter-coated young colt. [94] LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 4.12 By Brandon Quick Photos by Ted Tarquinio When horseplayers scan their pedigree charts for Kentucky Derby contestants, dams tend to fade from view as famous-name sires grab their attention. Tat might change, though, given the well-reported successes — even among the boys — of female runners such as Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, Havre de Grace and Blind Luck. t's March 1 and I find myself standing in the dawn shadows of Stonestreet Farm on Old Frankfort Pike in Lexington. It's a cathedral, a palace and a sanctuary even among the jewels of central Kentucky's horse country. Te sun is just beginning to peek over the timbers and something palpable seems to be building in the brisk morning air. From the broodmare barn, greatness emerges in two forms — achieved and potential — Rachel Alexandra and her 40-day-old colt. At the age of six, Rachel is bigger and even more impressive than I remember, with a dappled bay coat that glistens in the sunlight and makes it inconceivable to think that just a little more than a month ago she delivered a foal. Te colt is bay or light brown in color and sports two white hind feet. His white blaze is perfectly set between his eyes in the shape of a peacock with spread wings. He hasn't yet been named, but Stonestreet is currently sponsoring a "Name Rachel's Baby" contest. Overwhelmed office workers have been fielding tens of thousands of suggestions from all over the world. In the looks department, he favors his father, 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year Curlin, but as he makes his way from barn to paddock he's clearly taking his cues from Rachel, the 2009 Horse of the Year. Both mother and son exude a nonchalant brilliance that simply does not translate into human terms. I'm struck by three thoughts: 1) Rachel is doing the best work of her life right now. Yes, even better than winning the 2009 Oaks by 20 lengths and defeating Derby champ Mine Tat Bird two weeks later in the Preakness. 2) Will she be able to produce a horse as talented as she was? 3) Tis little guy has no idea what's expected of him. It's almost unfair. Now the gate to one of the spacious paddocks opens and within seconds Rachel is ripping through the pasture, whinnying for effect and pivoting on her hindquarters in a full display of natural athleticism. Her watchful eye never strays long from the colt. He floats behind her, mimicking each of mom's movements; his gait is natural and smooth. Farm manager Gary Megibben watches the pair like a proud father. "Tis colt has a real presence about him," he tells me. "He's really confident and brave." Te little guy pauses by the fence, perhaps to investigate what we're doing there or maybe to pose for the video I'm shooting of him on 138 REASONS WE LOVE DERBY

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