10/27/2016 12:28PM

Morrison, breeder of Rachel Alexandra, dies


Dolphus Morrison, breeder of Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and also her initial owner, died on Oct. 26 in Columbia, Md. He was 82.

Morrison, who had been CEO of SMI Steel in Birmingham, Ala., before retiring in 2003, had been born in Alabama. In addition to Rachel Alexandra, he bred multiple Grade 1 winner and $2.1 million-earner You, by You and It, and Grade 3 winner Gold Edge, by Eddington.

Morrison had been an owner and breeder for more than three decades when he sent a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro out of Lotta Kim, by Roar, to his long-time trainer, Hal Wiggins, in the spring of 2008. Rachel Alexandra won the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes to end her juvenile campaign with three wins in six starts, but her development at 3 was extraordinary.

In consecutive starts at 3, she won the Martha Washington by eight lengths, the Grade 2 Fair Ground Oaks by 1 3/4 lengths, the Grade 2 Fantasy by 8 3/4 lengths, and the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks by 20 1/4 lengths.

That caught the attention of the racing world, and in particular Stonestreet Stable’s Jess Jacskon, who purchased from Morrison the filly privately along with minor owner Harold T. McCormick, and turned her over to trainer Steve Asmussen.

In her first start for her new connections, Rachel Alexandra won the Preakness Stakes, defeating Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. She then won the Grade 1 Mother Goose by 19 1/4 lengths before beating male 3-year-olds again in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Handicap. She finished the year by beating older males in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes and was named Horse of the Year over Zenyatta.

At 4, she won two of five starts and retired with a record of 13 wins in 19 starts and earnings of $3,506,730.
Morrison, who boarded his mares in Kentucky with Dede McGehee, dispersed his stock in 2012, with Gainesway acting as agent. Among the 21 horses sold was a full yearling sister to Rachel Alexandra named Samantha Nicole, who sold for a $700,000. She was later a winner on the track. His dispersal was topped by a juvenile filly by Flashy Bull out of Pleasure Cat, by Cat’s Career, who sold for $775,000. He sold Gold Edge as a racing or broodmare prospect for $220,000 at the sale.