Rags to Riches (horse)

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Rags to Riches
Rags to Riches.jpg
Rags to Riches in the paddock area at Belmont Park during the day of the Belmont Stakes
(June 9, 2007)
SireA.P. Indy
GrandsireSeattle Slew
DamBetter Than Honour
DamsireDeputy Minister
CountryUnited States
BreederSkara Glen Stables
OwnerMichael Tabor & Derrick Smith
TrainerTodd Pletcher
Record7: 5-1-0
Major wins
Las Virgenes Stakes (2007)
Santa Anita Oaks (2007)
Kentucky Oaks (2007)
Triple Crown race wins:
Belmont Stakes (2007)
NTRA "Moment of the Year" (2007)
World Champion 3-year-old Filly (2007)
American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly (2007)
Rags to Riches Invitational Stakes
Last updated on September 22, 2007

Rags to Riches (foaled February 27, 2004, in Kentucky) is an American thoroughbred racehorse who in 2007 became the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in over a century.


Rags to Riches is a chestnut mare sired by 1992 U.S. Horse of the Year and U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee A.P. Indy. She was out of the mare Better Than Honour, who also produced the 2006 Belmont Stakes winner, Jazil.

Bred by Skara Glen Stables, Rags to Riches was purchased for US$1.9 million in September 2005 at the Keeneland Sales by the partnership of Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith.

Racing career[edit]

Early races[edit]

Sent to the track at age two under trainer Todd Pletcher, Rags to Riches made her first start in a 4½-furlong sprint in June 2006, finishing fourth.

Brought back to competition in January 2007, she won her first race at Santa Anita Park by six lengths. Ridden by Garrett Gomez, in February she won the 8-furlong Las Virgenes Stakes after running five wide for a good part of the race. In March, she drew away to win the 1-mile Grade I Santa Anita Oaks by 5½ lengths. Made the betting favorite for the prestigious Grade I Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, she won by 4¼ lengths over a field that included the 2006 U.S. Champion 2-Yr-Old Filly and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner, Dreaming of Anna.

Belmont Stakes[edit]

On June 5, 2007, the handlers of Rags to Riches announced that she would run in the third and longest leg of the U.S. Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes. It was her first start against males.

In the race, Rags to Riches stumbled out of the starting gate but recovered to move within striking distance of the pacesetters. At the top of the stretch, she dueled head-to-head with Preakness Stakes and eventual Horse of the Year winner Curlin. Curlin put his nose in front briefly, but the filly fought back and beat him to the finish line by a head. Rags to Riches' win made her only the third filly to ever win the Belmont and the first since Tanya in 1905. She was also the first filly to win the race at the current 1½-mile distance at Belmont Park. (The race distance has varied: from 1867 until 1873, it was 1 58 miles (2.6 km). In 1874, the distance was reduced to 1 12 miles (2.4 km), and from 1890 to 1892, and in 1895, the distance was 1 14 miles (2.0 km). From 1896 until 1925, the distance was increased to 1 38 miles (2.2 km). In 1926, the race distance was set at the present 1 12 miles (2.4 km)). Tanya's win came 38 years after Ruthless captured the inaugural running of the Belmont in 1867.

Belmont Park track announcer Tom Durkin called the race:

"Here comes Hard Spun. And Curlin is coming through in between horses! And Rags to Riches is coming with a four-wide sweep! And Tiago is in behind them. And at the top of the stretch, a filly is in front at the Belmont! But Curlin is right there with her! These two, in a battle of the sexes at the Belmont Stakes! It is Curlin on the inside – Rags to Riches on the outside. A desperate finish: Rags to Riches and Curlin! They're coming down to the wire. It's gonna be very close! And it's gonna be. ... a filly in the Belmont! Rags to Riches has beaten Curlin and a hundred years of Belmont history! The first filly to win it in over a century!"

Later 2007 season[edit]

Rags to Riches in the paddock area at Belmont Park

Despite several minor medical problems over the summer, Rags to Riches continued to train at Belmont Park towards the 2007 Breeder's Cup. She made her return to the races in the $250,000 Gazelle Stakes at Belmont Park on September 15 and finished second to Lear's Princess. It was announced the next day, September 16, that X-rays had revealed a hairline fracture in her right front pastern, and that her trainer, Todd Pletcher, had taken her out of training. She was expected to make a full recovery and return to racing in 2008.

Rags to Riches received several honors at the end of her three-year-old season. Among voters, she was a Teen Choice Award nominee for Choice Female Athlete[1] in 2007. She was also named 2007 World Champion 3-year-old filly by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA).

2008 season[edit]

Rags to Riches resumed training at age 4. Then, on March 24, 2008, Todd Pletcher announced that she had re-injured her right front pastern and was retiring. Rags to Riches' career resulted in five wins in seven starts and $1.3 million in earnings.

Retirement and stud[edit]

She was sent to Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky where she had her first foal and was exported to Ireland in 2009. She was returned to America for the 2016 breeding season.

Rags to Riches was bred to American Pharoah during the 2016 breeding season. If she successfully conceived and carried to term, the resulting foal would have been the first to have both parents be Belmont Stakes winners. However, the pairing was not successful. She was instead bred to Uncle Mo and produced a colt in 2017. She was bred to three-time leading sire Tapit for a 2018 foal.

Her progeny to date include:

  • Opulence (foaled March 9, 2009), chestnut mare sired by Giant's Causeway. Opulence did not race. She is a broodmare in Kentucky with a 2015 Shanghai Bobby gelding named The Bobby, a 2016 Verrazano colt, and a 2017 American Pharoah colt. Her 2014 Stay Thirsty colt died before turning a year old. She is in foal to American Pharoah for a 2018 foal.
  • Admirer (foaled March 17, 2010 in Ireland), bay colt by Henrythenavigator. Did not place in one career start and seems to have disappeared.
  • Rhett Butler (foaled March 26, 2011 in Ireland), chestnut colt sired by Galileo.[2] Group I winner in Serbia.
  • Rich and Righteous (foaled April 18, 2012 in Ireland), bay gelding sired by Galileo. Broke his maiden in Dubai on dirt, March 2016.
  • Never So Few (foaled April 24, 2013 in Ireland), bay colt sired by Galileo. Unplaced in six starts, all in America.
  • Rather Special (foaled May 19, 2014 in Ireland), chestnut filly sired by Galileo. Unraced. Bred to American Pharoah for a 2018 foal.
  • Stratification (foaled March 17, 2016 in Kentucky). Chestnut filly sired by Australia. Trained in England by John Gosden. Finished 2nd on debut at Chelmsford in December 2018.
  • Bay colt by Uncle Mo (foaled April 30, 2017 in Kentucky).

In 2016, the New York Racing Association created a new race in her honor, the Rags to Riches Invitational Stakes. It is run on the Friday before the Belmont Stakes at 1½ miles. It is the only dirt race in the U.S. at longer than 1¼ miles for fillies and mares.[3] Theogony won the inaugural running on June 10, defeating four other fillies and mares by eight lengths.


Pedigree of Rags to Riches
A.P. Indy
Seattle Slew Bold Reasoning Boldnesian
Reason To Earn
My Charmer Poker
Fair Charmer
Weekend Surprise Secretariat Bold Ruler
Lassie Dear Buckpasser
Gay Missile
Better Than Honour
Deputy Minister Vice Regent Northern Dancer
Victoria Regina
Mint Copy Bunty's Flight
Blush With Pride Blushing Groom Red God
Runaway Bride
Best In Show Traffic Judge
Stolen Hour


  1. ^ http://www.tvsquad.com/2007/07/03/teen-choice-nominees-announced
  2. ^ "Charging to the Kentucky Derby". Bloodhorse.com. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  3. ^ "Belmont Adds Three Marathon Stakes for 2016". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 13 June 2016.

External links[edit]