Renowned Rags to Riches Retires from Racing
Horses such as A.P. Indy, sired by Seattle Slew and grandson of Secretariat, and Better Than Honor, who is the daughter of Deputy Minister, are legends in the horse racing industry. And when two racing greats come together to produce a foal, there is no asking price too great. When Rags to Riches was born on 27 February 2004, everyone knew that this filly would grow up to take the racing world by storm.
No-one was surprised when Rags to Riches was sold as a yearling for $1.9 million, to Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, at the Keeneland sale in September 2005. She started her racing career as a two-year-old, and in her first race, her forth position indicated to her trainer, Todd Pletcher, that she would need greater distances. Rag to Riches was then withheld from any further racing in 2006, and came back to racing in 2007, ready to rock the foundations of horse racing.
At Santa Anita Park, Rags to Riches entered her first race, which she comfortably won by six lengths, giving spectators a small taste of what was to come. She followed up on this glowing performance by winning the Las Virgenes Stakes and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks. By the time the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks (run at Churchill Downs) drew near, fans and spectators got ready for another explosive performance by the filly, and again she showed off her power and speed to the delight of thousands.
But her most memorable performance took place at the Belmont Stakes, the third leg in the U.S. Triple Crown. Not only was Rags to Riches entered into her first race where she was to be competing against male horses, but she came head to head with the magnificent Curlin, who already had the Preakness Stakes and a Horse of the Year award under his belt. The stage was set for an enormous showdown. To the early disappointment of Rags to Riches supporters, she came stumbling out of the starting gates but made a startling recovery, only to find herself battling for first position with Curlin. The filly managed to find hidden strength within her to win the Belmont Stakes, becoming the third filly to win this racing event, and the first since it was won by Tanya in 1905.
Tragically, Rags to Riches suffered a hairline fracture at the Gazelle Stakes in September 2007. After rest and recovering from the injury, Rags to Riches restarted training at the beginning of 2008, only to re-injure the fracture to her pastern. Instead of taking the risk of a fatal injury if she was to return to horse racing, her owners made the decision to retire her to the Ashford Stud, where she will recover and be put into a breeding program with Giant’s Causeway, one of the leading sires. Even though Rags to Riches will not be thrilling the crowds anymore, or adding to her respectable career earnings of over $1.3 million, she will always be remembered as one of the best fillies to have ever graced the tracks of racing and a filly that has written her name in the history books of the Belmont Stakes.