Versailles, KY – Jess Jackson has spent the last few years sparing no expense while scooping up some of racing's top prospects and turning them into superstars.
Now he's hoping to create one.
Jackson bred Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra to two-time Horse of the Year and stablemate Curlin on Monday, creating the potential for the "super horse" Jackson believes could help revitalize the industry.
The two horses met in a breeding shed at Lane's End Farm, near Versailles, Ky., on Monday. While the results won't be known for some time, Jackson has planned on getting two of racing's biggest names together since he purchased Rachel Alexandra days after her record-setting run in the 2009 Kentucky Oaks.
"We have been anticipating this introduction for some time now," Jackson said. "Imagine what possibilities those two super horses might produce."
Rachel Alexandra captured 2009 Horse of the Year honors in spectacular fashion, becoming the first filly in over 80 years to beat the boys in the Preakness then backing it up with wins in the Haskell and the Woodward. It was all part of an 8-0 campaign that ranks among the greatest ever.
She struggled regaining her form in 2010, winning just two of five races. Jackson retired her last September, saying it was time to "reward her with a less stressful life." By then she'd become a crossover star.
Off the track, Jackson used her success to help raise money for various charitable causes, including cancer research by auctioning off items related to Rachel.
There was little doubt her first chance at becoming a broodmare would be with Curlin. The 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year, a Preakness winner in his own right, stands for $40,000 at Lane's End following a brilliant career in which he set a North American record by winning over $10.5 million in purses.
He was retired at the end of the 2008 season following a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic, the only time he finished out of the money.
Stonestreet Stables co-owner Barbara Banke called it a "privilege" to bring two of racing's greats together.
"Rachel Alexandra and Curlin are true champions," she said. "Both horses embody that intangible equine ideal that separate mere horse from legend. Both Jess and I are so pleased that these powerful bloodlines will pass to future generations."