Rising to the Occasion

Who else has been pushed to the edge of their ability? (Sarah K. Andrew)

While having a lovely lunch with a few racing pals the other day, we discussed the past year and decade (along with sports betting, betting on reality TV shows, TV shows in general and the surprising high quality of the pea soup). As the conversation turned to Rachel Alexandra’s spectacular campaign I asked my esteemed colleagues, all long time fans, if they could recall another campaign where a horse was pushed right up to the edge of their ability as Rachel was.

Beyer recently mentioned that he thought Rachel’s campaign was the best for any US based filly:

Her campaign was, in my opinion, the best ever by a U.S.-based filly. The other great fillies of the modern era — such as Ruffian, Personal Ensign, Lady’s Secret and Azeri — made their reputations by dominating members of their own sex but didn’t distinguish themselves against males. Rachel Alexandra challenged males in three Grade I stakes — the Preakness, the Haskell Invitational and the Woodward — and won them all. She trounced Summer Bird, the best male 3-year-old, by six lengths. Overall, she won her eight starts by a combined total of 65 lengths.

After some deliberation and discussion, Ouija Board was mentioned as potentially being pushed to the edge of her ability, but our discussion was cut short by the arrival of the food.

So, I ask you dear readers, can you think of any successful campaigns, where a horse of any class has been challenged more often than not and rose to occasion? What say you?