...and her accomplishments.
To put them in perspective.
(shamelessly copying articles on the 'net)
Rachel and Euro fillies: no comparison
There have been published comments recently stating that Rachel Alexandra’s conquests over males is not as big an accomplishment as one might think, because it is done all the time in Europe.
It’s true that fillies face and defeat colts on a much more regular basis in Europe than they do in America. Of course, most top-class fillies are forced to run against colts in Europe, due to the lack of group I championship caliber races in the fall. It should be noted that a typical European filly, especially a 3-year-old, is given two or three races in the spring, then has the entire summer off, and returns for two races in the fall. That was Zarkava’s campaign last year; three races in the spring and two in the fall.
Europeans as a whole (Sea the Stars and the top Ballydoyle runners are an exception) do not run steadily throughout the year and have much easier campaigns than American horses. You’d be hard-pressed to find any European filly that has ever defeated males in May, August, and September, as Rachel Alexandra has done.
Almost all the European filly conquests over males come in the fall. They do not win classics and they rarely win a midsummer stakes against males.
For example, no filly has won the English Derby since 1916. There is no record of a filly winning the 2,000 Guineas in modern times, or the French Derby. Only two fillies have won the Irish Derby in at least the last 60 years. No filly has won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 29 years, and the last one that did was a 4-year-old. Only two fillies have won the Eclipse Stakes in at least the last 39 years and they were both 4-year-olds. It's been 33 years since a 3-year-old filly has won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. When people say fillies defeat colts in Europe all the time, they are referring to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and as stated earlier, those fillies normally are fresher horses at that time of the year, and unlike the French colts, are coming off a competitive group I prep in the Prix Vermeille, while many of the French colts are coming of slowly run, paceless races in short fields in either the Prix Foy for older horses or the Prix Niel for 3-year-olds.
In short, even in Europe, it is extremely rare to see a 3-year-old filly win a classic against males, and almost as rare to see them win a grade I midsummer stakes of championship caliber against males, both of which Rachel Alexandra has done.
It is difficult to compare racing in Europe to racing in America, and what happens across the Atlantic should not serve as a gauge in assessing the accomplishments of a horse in the United States. Rachel Alexandra’s feats this year were unprecedented in modern times — even by European standards.