07/25/2016 11:24AM

Grade 1 winner Rachel's Valentina retired

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Barbara D. Livingston
Rachel's Valentina won last year's Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes.

Grade 1 winner Rachel's Valentina, the only daughter of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, has been retired from racing, owner-breeder Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Farm announced Sunday.

“We want to announce that Rachel’s Valentina will now retire from racing sound and injury-free,” the farm posted on its blog. “We look forward to sharing her babies with you, carrying on the legacy of ‘Rachel the Great.’ ”

Rachel's Valentina, by Bernardini, won two of three starts last year as a juvenile for Stonestreet and trainer Todd Pletcher. Following her debut score at Saratoga, she earned her signature victory in the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes before finishing second to the unbeaten champion Songbird in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Rachel's Valentina returned to the races five months later to finish second to Weep No More in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. She was soundly beaten as the favorite in her last two outings, finishing sixth in the Kentucky Oaks and fifth in the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes.

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Rachel's Valentina was the second foal out of Rachel Alexandra, who will be inducted into the racing Hall of Fame next month in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The mare experienced severe complications following the filly’s birth, resulting in surgery and a lengthy clinic stay before she recovered and returned home to Stonestreet Farm in Lexington, Ky.

Banke has said the champion will not be bred again. The mare’s full sister, Samantha Nicole, is also part of Stonestreet’s broodmare band and was covered by Bernardini this year for her first foal.

Rachel Alexandra's only other foal is Jess's Dream, a 4-year-old son of Curlin who won his only start last summer at Saratoga. Plagued by minor physical ailments throughout his career, he is now back in training with Kiaran McLaughlin, most recently breezing July 12 at Belmont.

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