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My Experience at See Rachel Day

Rachel Alexandra is one of the greatest fillies to ever race. Her steep race record included wins in the 2009 Gr.1 Kentucky Oaks & Preakness Stakes, as well as victories in the Gr.1 Haskell Invitational and Gr.1 Woodward Stakes.

It is easy to be a huge fan of Rachel Alexandra. She dominated her competition, male and female alike. Plus, she is a gorgeous bay color with an interesting and unmistakable interrupted blaze. Because of all of these things, I was ecstatic when I won tickets to Stonestreet Farm’s See Rachel Day on June 14th. Arriving at Stonestreet Farms is like arriving at a place of dreams. A beautiful gate greets visitors, automatically opening as we pulled into the driveway. Employees at Stonestreet approached our car with a smile, quickly showed us wear to park, handed us raffle tickets, and directed us to go inside a house.

As I walked through the doorway of the home, I immediately noticed a wall covered in photos of Rachel Alexandra from her racing and retirement days a like. A TV in the corner was playing replays of Rachel’s races and everyone there for the tour watched. Murmurs of things such as “she is amazing” could be heard throughout the room. Along the wall I was standing was a shelf with some of Rachel’s trophies. Her Eclipse Awards and Woodlawn Vase were perfectly polished, offering yet another reminder of this incredible mare’s accomplishments.

In the kitchen, Stonestreet Farm were offering water, coffee, and even a few snacks. Many of the visitors had grabbed a complimentary refreshment and were waiting patiently to see the mare they loved so much. Through the doors in the kitchen, fences stretched as far as the eye could see. The air was filled with an aura of anticipation and excitement.

Once everyone had gathered in the home, the raffle tickets were used for a drawing of a few Rachel Alexandra hats. I personally did not win a hat, but some of the people who did were so happy that I didn't even mind. After the drawing, they split us up into two groups - my family and I were in the first group.

We were sent outside and into a comfortable shuttle that would take us to the place where Rachel was awaiting us. As we drove along, Hillary of Stonestreet happily recounted the history of this farm. You could feel her love, passion, and enthusiasm for this place as she spoke. She also pointed out some of the horses, including Rachel Alexandra’s pasture buddies.

We arrived at our stop and got out of the shuttle. In the distance, Rachel Alexandra stood with her handler. The baby blue Stonestreet barn and the rolling green hills behind it were picture perfect. The excitement grew even more as we all made our way down the path to see her.

After we all gathered along one side of the path, Rachel Alexandra emerged from the shadows of the barn. As she walked before us, a woman next to me joyfully wept. Simply seeing Rachel Alexandra was a dream come true for her.

Rachel Alexandra stood patiently before her fans, soaking up the sound of camera shutters and occasionally swiveling her ears towards the loving words coming from the crowd. After Hillary gave some basic safety instructions, we were allowed to approach Rachel. It was touching to see so many people so happy that they got to spend a moment with Rachel. You could tell that this was a moment many of them had been longing for.

Any time someone approached her, she would turn her ear and eyes toward them to have a look. Her coat was silky smooth, her white markings were perfectly clean, and she felt warm and relaxed underneath the June sun.

“It never rains on See Rachel Day,” said one of Stonestreet’s employees.

As the fans continued to take turns meeting Rachel, a fuzzy, orange cat trotted out of the blue barn and towards the group. “She thinks it’s ‘See Ginger Day’” joked another employee as the cat approached a few people so that she could get some scratches behind her ears. After we all got to pet Rachel once or twice, we boarded the shuttle and began to head back to our starting point. One the way back, one person said that they hoped that Rachel would never be bred again. They were referring to the problems she had while foaling Rachel’s Valentina in 2013.

It was a worrisome time for the horse racing community, especially for those who were close to Rachel. She had suffered an injury to her small colon while foaling and later developed an infection she had to fight off. Her condition was marked as serious. Thankfully, she recovered. One of Stonestreet’s employees agreed that he hoped she would never be bred again. When it was Rachel Valentina’s turn to foal, he slept outside of her stall stall for three days just in case she struggled to give birth. He said that he hopes that Rachel Alexandra’s problems would not be genetic.

You could hear his love and concern for Rachel Alexandra and Rachel’s Valentina as he spoke. It was truly a touching moment.

When we arrived back at our starting point, we thanked him and the other employees and headed back out on the road. Stonestreet faded in the distance as we drove away, but the memories or Rachel and her home never will.


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