Best Fillies of the Past 50 Years

Many racing fans are prepared to state emphatically that Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra are two of the best, if not THE best, fillies of the past half-century.

The list from which to chose, however, is longer than most think. Below is a reminder just how extensive that list is. With almost half the year still remaining to define Zenyatta's and Rachel's greatness and where they rank, this is a good time to see just who the two super fillies are up against.

If anyone wishes to submit their Top 10 in order, and there are enough submissions (from this blog and a Facebook link), I will tabulate  a consensus Top 10 list and post the results on the next blog. If not, just enjoy the list of champion fillies below and their accomplishments. Feel free to express all opinions. If we get enough interest, I will provide my own analysis, having seen most of the fillies listed below.

Grass fillies are not included. They will have their moment at a later time. Because the list already is so long I also added an also-eligible list just to throw some other names out there. I'm sure someone will ask why so-and-so is not included. Most likely it is an oversight, so feel free to add your own favorite. Some excellent fillies were left off the main list because they might have gotten good for a while and didn't quite accomplish enough over a period of time or didn't do anything extraordinary, such as beating males or carrying weight or breaking records.

All mentions of the Filly Triple Crown are in reference to the NYRA series consisting the Acorn, Mother Goose, and CCA Oaks, which was the only officially recognized Triple Crown of this era, although an unofficial Filly Triple Crown was for many years the Kentucky Oaks, Black-Eyed-Susan, and CCA Oaks, designed to compliment the male Triple Crown run.


Affectionately      

     Pros - Won 15 stakes, beat colts in the Vosburgh, won Vagrancy

                 Handicap under 137 pounds, giving 26 lbs to runner-up

     Cons - Won up to 1 1/8 miles but was predominantly a sprinter


Althea

      Pros - Career cut short, but not before she destroyed colts in the

                 Hollywood Juvenile Championship, Del Mar Futurity, and

                 Arkansas Derby in track-record 1:46 4/5, also won Santa

                 Susana (now SA Oaks), Las Virgenes, Hollywood Starlet, and

                 Del Mar Debutante

      Cons - Raced only once after 19th-place finish in Kentucky Derby


Ashado

       Pros - Won 12 of 20 starts, grade I winner at 2, 3, and 4, won

                  Breeders' Cup Distaff, Kentucky Oaks, CCA Oaks, Ogden

                  Phipps, Beldame, Go For Wand, Spinaway

       Cons - Never raced against males, well beaten in BC Distaff

 

Azeri

        Pros - Horse of the Year, won 11 grade I stakes, including Breeders'

                   Cup Distaff, Apple Blossom 3 times, Vanity and Milady twice,

                   Spinster, Santa Margarita, won 17 of 24 starts

        Cons - Out of the money in only two starts vs. males


Bayakoa

       Pros - Won 21 of 39 starts, won Breeders' Cup Distaff twice, won

                   16 stakes, including 12 grade I's, won Santa Margarita twice,

                   Spinster, Ruffian, Vanity, Apple Blossom, group I winner in

                   Argentina vs, males

       Cons - 0-for-2 vs. males in U.S., lost last three career starts


Bold ‘n Determined

     Pros - Won 16 of 20 starts, including Acorn, CCA Oaks, Spinster,  

                Kentucky Oaks, Apple Blossom, Fantasy, Santa Susana (SA   

                Oaks), defeated champions Genuine Risk and Davona Dale, and  

                Alabama winner Love Sign in memorable Maskette Stakes

     Cons - Head defeat in Mother Goose cost her Filly Triple Crown sweep,

                never faced males


Bowl of Flowers

     Pros - Won 10 of 16 starts, including Acorn, CCA Oaks, and Spinster,

                 beating Primonetta by 5 lengths, never out of the money

     Cons - Defeated in Mother Goose and Alabama, never beat males

 

 

Chris Evert

     Pros -- Swept Filly Triple Crown, stakes winner at 2, 3, and 4, won

                 match race with Miss Musket by 50 lengths, finished third in

                 Travers Stakes, won 10 of 15 career starts

     Cons -- Never beat males, upset in Alabama at 1-2    

 

Cicada

     Pros - Won 23 of 42 starts, including 18 stakes, won 8 stakes at 2,

                 missed by half-length of becoming first Filly Triple Crown

                 winner, beaten a nose by Ridan in Florida Derby

     Cons - Beaten as big favorite in several major stakes    

 

Dance Smartly

      Pros - Won 12 of 17 starts, swept Canadian Triple Crown, won

                  Breeders' Cup Distaff, Molson Million, won 5 of 6 starts against

                  males, only defeat by a nose

      Cons - Did not win a major stakes in the U.S. at 2 or 4, beaten 6 lengths

                   in BC Juvenile Fillies


Dark Mirage

     Pros - First filly to sweep the Filly Triple Crown, winning Acorn, Mother

                Goose, and CCA Oaks by combined 28 lengths, added Monmouth

                Oaks and Delaware Oaks, won 10 straight races, 9 of them stakes

     Cons - Was only good at 3 and one race at 4 before breaking down,

                 mediocre 2-year-old   

 

Davona Dale

      Pros - Swept two Triple Crowns (Acorn, Mother Goose, CCA Oaks by

                 combined 20 ¼ lengths), (Kentucky Oaks, Black-Eyed Susan,

                 CCA Oaks by combined 16 ¾ lengths), won 11 of 18 career

                 starts

      Cons - Never beat males, upset in Alabama at 1-5, lost 5 of her last 6

                  starts

 

Desert Vixen

      Pros - Won eight straight races, all graded stakes, at 3 by an average

                  margin of 5 ½ lengths, won Alabama by 8, Beldame by 8 ½

                  in record 1:46 1/5 (broken race after by Secretariat), won 2nd

                  Beldame at 4 by 12 ½ in 1:46 3/5, 2nd in D.C. International

      Cons - Didn't get good until 3, never beat males, lost first 4 starts at 4


Gallant Bloom

     Pros - Won 12 races in a row at 2, 3, and 4, easily defeated two future

                 Hall of Famers in Shuvee and Gamely, champion at 2 and 3, won

                 stakes from 6 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, won Santa Margarita under

                 129 lbs, won 16 of 22 career starts, beat Shuvee 3 out of 4 times

     Cons - Defeated twice by males late in career (injured in latter), suffered  

                 3 bad losses at 2 after inexplicably losing her form

 

Gamely

     Pros - Won 10 stakes at 3, 4, and 5, including Alabama, Beldame twice,

                Santa Margarita, beats males in Inglewood Handicap, finished 2nd

                to Dr. Fager in Californian, 2nd to Nodouble in SA Handicap,

                finished no worse than 4th in 24 consecutive starts vs. fillies

     Cons - Won only 2 of 11 starts against males

 

Genuine Risk

     Pros - Won Kentucky Derby, first filly since Regret, and finished 2nd

                 in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, won Ruffian, Demoiselle,

                 finished third in the Wood Memorial

     Cons - Concluded her career in three allowance races, beaten a nose by

                  Bold ‘n Determined in Maskette Stakes


Glorious Song

     Pros - Won 17 of 34 starts, beat males four times, including the

                 Michigan Mile and an Eighth, finished 2nd to Spectacular Bid in

                 Amory Haskell Handicap, won Spinster, Santa Margarita, La

                 Canada, Top Flight

     Cons - Lost 5 of her last 6 starts, raced mostly in Canada early in her

                 career


Go For Wand

       Pros - Won 10 of 13 starts, won 7 grade I stakes, including Alabama,

                   Beldame, Mother Goose, Test, BC Juvenile Fillies, won Test in

                   1:21, Beldame in 1:45 4/5, Alabama in 2:00 4/5

       Cons - Never raced against males


Inside Information

       Pros - Won 14 of 17 starts, including 13 ½-length win in Breeders' Cup

                  Distaff, 11-length win in Ruffian, and 11-length win in Acorn,

                  also won grade I Spinster, Shuvee, and Ashland

       Cons - Never raced against males


Lady's Secret

      Pros - Horse of the Year, won 25 of 45 starts, including 22 stakes,

                 defeated colts in the Whitney, placed in 3 grade I stakes vs.

                 males, won Breeders' Cup Distaff, won stakes from 6 furlongs

                 to 1 ¼ miles, ran in 15 stakes as a 4-year-old, 13 of them grade I

                  and 4 vs. males, and was never out of the money, won Ruffian

                 under 129 lbs

      Cons - Won only two allowance races in five starts at 5


Mom's Command

       Pros - Swept Filly Triple Crown, setting :44 1/5 half in Acorn, :45

                  half in Mother Goose, and :46 1/5 half in 1 ½-mile CCA Oaks,

                  won Alabama by 4 lengths, setting :46 4/5 half, won 6 other

                  stakes, won 11 of 16 starts

       Cons - Never faced males


My Juliet

     Pros - Won 24 of 36 starts, defeated Kentucky Derby winner Bold

                 Forbes in Vosburgh in 1:21 4/5, won Michigan Mile and an

                 Eighth defeating JC Gold Cup winner On the Sly, finished

                 2nd in Omaha Gold Cup, beating Preakness winner Master 

                 Derby, won total of 17 stakes at 14 different racetracks

      Cons - Lost only time she ran in a grade I stakes (Vosburgh was

                  Grade II, Test was grade III)


Numbered Account

      Pros - Won 14 of 22 starts, won 9 of first 10 starts, including Spinaway,

                  Matron, Frizette, Selima, and Gardenia, won Spinster, Test, and

                  Maskette at 3

      Cons - Beaten in several major stakes at 3, never quite showed the

                  brilliance she showed at 2.


Old Hat

     Pros - Stakes winner at 4, 5, 6, and 7, won Spinster, Delaware Handicap,

                defeated Horse of the Year Roman Brother in Michigan Mile and

                One Eighth, won 35 career starts

     Cons - Didn't win first stakes until age 4, beaten 45 times in 80 starts

 

Open Mind

     Pros - Won 12 of 19 starts, swept Filly Triple Crown, CCA Oaks on a

                 DQ, won 10 races in a row, including BC Juvenile Fillies,

                 Kentucky Oaks, Alabama

     Cons - Lost her final 5 starts, never faced males



Paseana

      Pros - Won 19 of 36 starts, won 11 grade I stakes, including 5 in a row,

                 won Breeders' Cup Distaff and beaten a nose in BC Distaff, 

                 group I winner in Argentina, won Santa Margarita, Spinster,

                 Vanity, Apple Blossom, won stakes at 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7

      Cons - Well beaten in only try against males, won 1 of 6 starts at 8


Personal Ensign

     Pros - Retired undefeated in 13 starts, defeated Kentucky Derby winner

                Winning Colors in Breeders' Cup Distaff and Maskette, defeated

                eventual sprint champion Gulch in the Whitney, also won grade I

                Beldame, Shuvee, and Hempstead

     Cons - Only raced 13 times


Primonetta

     Pros - Won 17 of 25 starts, including first nine races of her career, won

                Alabama, Spinster, Delaware Oaks, ran 6 furlongs in 1:08 2/5 at

                Monmouth, beat Bowl of Flowers by 6 lengths in Alabama

     Cons - Never ran against males, beaten favorite in stakes six times

 

Princess Rooney

     Pros - Won 17 of 21 starts, ended her career with 6-length win in the

                 Spinster and 7-length romp in the BC Distaff, won first 10 races

                 of her career, including wins by 8, 9 ½, 10, 11, 12, and 18 lengths,

               also won Kentucky Oaks, Ashland, Vanity, and Frizette

     Cons - Only faced males once, in 7f  allowance race, winning by 1/2


Rachel Alexandra

      Pros - Horse of the Year, won 12 of 17 starts, defeated colts in  

                 Preakness, Haskell Invitational, and Woodward, won Ky. Oaks

                 by 20 ¼ lengths, Mother Goose by 19 ¼ lengths in stakes record 1:46

                 1/5, won Haskell by 6 lengths in 1:47 1/5, defeated winners of the

                 Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Travers, JC Gold Cup, Whitney

      Cons - Has only grade II win and two narrow defeats at 4


Rags to Riches

      Pros - Defeated eventual 2-time Horse of the Year Curlin, as well as 

                 Hard Spun and Tiago in Belmont Stakes, first filly in 102 years

                 to win Belmont, won Kentucky Oaks, Santa Anita Oaks, Las  

                 Virgenes, champion 3-year-old filly

      Cons - Didn't race past September of 3-year-old year, didn't break

                  maiden until 3


Ruffian

     Pros - Won all 10 starts in which she finished, broke down in match race,

                 her average margin of victory was 8 ½ lengths, ran in 9 stakes at 7

                 different distances from 5 furlongs to 1 ½ miles and set or

                 equaled a stakes record in all of them, swept Filly Triple Crown

     Cons - Never defeated males


Safely Kept

     Pros - Won 24 of 31 starts, finished first and second in BC Sprint, won

                 21 stakes, including Test, Prioress, Genuine Risk

     Cons - Strictly a sprinter, third in only two-turn race


Serena's Song

     Pros - Won 18 of 38 starts, won 16 graded stakes, defeated colts in the

                Haskell Invitational and Jim Beam, beaten a neck in the Whitney,

                won Beldame, Gazelle, Mother Goose, Santa Anita Oaks,

                Hollywood Starlet

     Cons - Lost last 7 starts of her career - 6 seconds and a third, well-

                 beaten in Ky. Derby and SA Handicap


Shuvee

    Pros - Swept Filly Triple Crown and won Alabama at 3, won back-to-

               back runnings of the 2-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, won a total

               of 15 stakes, won major stakes at 2, 3, 4, and 5, including Beldame,

               Diana twice, Ladies Handicap, Frizette, and Top Flight

   Cons - Beaten in 3 of her 4 meetings with Gallant Bloom, including

                Gazelle for 3-year-old filly honors


Silverbulletday

     Pros - Won 15 of 23 starts, won Alabama, Kentucky Oaks, Gazelle,

                Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Ashland, won from 5 ½ furlongs

                to 1 ¼ miles

    Cons - Lost 6 of last 7 starts, beaten badly in BC Distaff and Belmont

                Stakes in only start vs. males 


Sky Beauty

     Pros - Won 15 of 21 starts, swept Filly Triple Crown, won grade I

                Alabama, Ruffian, Matron, Shuvee, Hempstead, and Go For

                Wand, won Ruffian under 130 lbs

     Cons - Winless outside of New York, beaten twice in BC Distaff, never

                 raced against males


Straight Deal

      Pros - Raced 99 times, won Spinster, Delaware Handicap, Santa

                 Margarita, 10 other major stakes, finished 3rd in the Whitney to

                 Stupendous and 3rd in the Aqueduct Stakes to Damascus

      Cons - Lost 78 times and never defeated males

 

Susan's Girl

     Pros - Won stakes at 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, won a total of 22 stakes, including   

                 Spinster, Beldame, Delaware Handicap, Matchmaker, and Apple

                 Blossom as a 6-year-old alone, won Kentucky Oaks, Acorn,

                 Beldame, and Gazelle at 3

     Cons - Winless in 6 starts against males         

      

Ta Wee

     Pros - Won 15 of 21 starts, defeated colts in the Vosburgh and Fall

                 Highweight on two occasions, once carrying 140 lbs, won

                 Interborough Handicap under 142 lbs, won Miss Woodford in

                 1:08 3/5, won 7f Vosburgh in 1:21 3/5

     Cons - Strictly a sprinter


Tosmah

      Pros - Won 23 of 39 starts, defeated males in the Arlington Classic and

                  John B. Campbell Handicap, 2nd to Hedevar in world-record-

                  equaling Equipoise Mile (1:33 1/5, beaten three-quarters), won

                  first 7 starts of her career

      Cons - Raced in very few major New York stakes, mostly in New

                  Jersey

 

Turkish Trousers

      Pros - Won 12 of 18 starts, won 8 straight stakes, including Hollywood

                  Oaks, Del Mar Oaks, Santa Susana, won Santa Margarita and

                  Santa Maria, won of 10 of 12 starts, all stakes, from Jan. '71 to

                  March ‘72

      Cons - Never faced males, never raced outside California, lost last two

                  career starts


Winning Colors

       Pros - Won Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita Derby by 7 ½ lengths,

                   finished 3rd in Preakness, won Santa Anita Oaks by 8 lengths,

                   beaten a nose by Personal Ensign in memorable BC Distaff

       Cons - Won only 8 of 19 starts, beaten 41 ¾ lengths in the Belmont.

                    24 ¼ lengths in BC Distaff

 

Xtra Heat

       Pros - Won 26 of 35 starts, 25 of them stakes, defeated colts in Phoenix

                  BC, 2nd, beaten half-length, in Breeders' Cup Sprint, 3rd in

                  Golden Shaheen vs. colts in Dubai

       Cons - Strictly sprinter, finished 6th in BC Sprint, well-beaten in only

                  two-turn race

                

Zenyatta

       Pros - Undefeated in 17 starts, first female to win the Breeders' Cup

                  Classic, defeated 8 grade/group-I winning males, champion older

                  mare twice, won BC Ladies Classic, Apple Blossom twice,

                  Vanity three times, won 11 grade I stakes, won Vanity under 129    

                  pounds, first horse to win two different Breeders' Cup races

       Cons - 15 of 17 starts have been on synthetic surfaces


Also-eligible

Airman's Guide, Ajina, Ambassador of Luck, Banshee Breeze, Beautiful Pleasure, Berlo, Caesar's Wish, Cascapedia, Chou Croute, Christmas Past, Cum Laude Laurie, Dainty Dotsie, Dearly Precious, Escena, Flanders, Fleet Indian, Forward Gal, Furl Sail, Ginger Punch, Gold Beauty, Goodbye Halo, Happy Ticket, Heavenly Prize, Hidden Lake, Hollywood Wildcat, Jewel Princess, Lady Pitt, Lakeway, Lamb Chop, Landaluce, La Prevoyante, Late Bloomer, Life's Magic, Lite Light, Meadow Star, Moccasin, Office Queen, Open Fire, Optimistic Gal, Our Mims, Politely, Priceless Gem, Princessnesian, Relaxing, Revidere, Riboletta, Sacahuista, Sharp Cat, Sightseek, Spain, Summer Guest, Surfside, Tempest Queen, Terlingua, Tizna. Track Robbery, Typecast, Versailles Treaty, What a Summer, What a Treat, Yanks Music

Regional (non-stakes) heroines: Hallowed Dreams (won 16 straight, 25 of 30 in La.), Peppers Pride (19 for 19 all in New Mexico vs. N.M.-breds).

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