August 5, 2009

For quite some time, I’ve been debating whether or not to branch out, and start a second horse racing blog.

My original blog—in initial inspiration dedicated to my childhood devotion to champion Foolish Pleasure—emerged out of my re-awakening in 2007 to the sport I loved as a girl, but moved away from as university, graduate school and then (finally) work took me in other directions. It’s a mélange of handicapping, reactions and history, often rooted in the current race meetings or big racing events, whether here in North America, Europe, Dubai, or more often of late, Australia—and I like it’s diversity. However, I’ve always felt that if I concentrated too much on one subject or another, I’d get pigeonholed as a certain type of blogger—and I’m a generalist at heart.

That said, there is definitely a place for a voice that resonates with a specific agenda so what I envision here is a mix of racing and breeding news from around the world, along with a strong dose of thoroughbred racing history—all focused exclusively on current and past fillies and mares. I certainly wish to appeal to fans of both sexes, but most particularly to women and girls who like me love horses with a passion, and find themselves reawakened to, or falling in love with, the sport of horse racing.

It won’t be trite. It won’t be “girly” in a negative or stereotypical way. And it certainly will not be patronizing.

It will be informative, and, most importantly, serious in presenting the sport of horse racing—past, present and future—with a clear intent of...Fillies First!

To start things off, you’ll notice on the left sidebar the results of a continuing project I have undertaken over the past year—a list of successful fillies and mares running in open company (against males) in graded stakes races around the world.

All too often (but particularly in the United States) there is a preconception that female horses cannot compete against male horses due to inherent physical capabilities, or mental weakness, usually the result of anthropomorphically projecting our own gender prejudices. You know, the old “frailty, thy name is woman.” However, the best fillies and mares can and do compete against colts, horses and geldings at the highest level of racing all around the world, on all surfaces and distances, from age 2 until they are ready to retire.

To prove my point, I’ve compiled a Google spreadsheet listing the names and ages of every filly and mare who won or placed (second or third) in a G1, G2 or G3 stakes race around the world just this year—as of this post, there are 158. In the sidebar, I’ll keep a current listing of just the G1 winners, but you will always be able to access the complete list which I’ll update on a regular basis.


Tony said...

Love it, looking forward to it, got it in my Google Reader already. Good luck!

dana said...

Fantastic! Great and much needed idea.

Colins Ghost said...

Great idea! Looking forward to following.

Rob Whiteley said...

Go, Valerie !!! Producing a website with a single agenda can provide enough sustained focus and fact to change long-held false beliefs and prejudices. Although changing beliefs in the horse business is a daunting task, I think that you have a shot with this approach.

I hope that at the end, you may provide some insight into why all of the filly Breeders' Cup races were schlepped onto the Friday undercard and out of the TV limelight. Meanwhile,

Good luck and all the best.

Steve Zorn said...

Great idea, Valerie. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but Rachel Alexandra's the ONLY US filly or mare who's won at the top level against the boys this year. How many others have even run in Grade I open=company?

Jennifer Hagan said...


I am happy to see your blog. Whenever I hear someone say that fillies can't run against the boys I have two words in response: "Makybe Diva." When you have a dominant mare, they are dominant. Thats that. Makybe Diva won three Melbourne Cups in a row. A feat never before achieved. And lets not forget Rags to Riches. She gutted it out against Curlin and came out on top. Hooray for the fillies.

Sarah K. Andrew said...

Congratulations on the new blog- best wishes with this great idea and I look forward to reading Fillies First.

Valerie said...

Thank you all for the moral support! :) Chime in any time with thoughts, comments, suggestions...

Anonymous said...


You need to add Set Alight to this list; she's 11 for 12 in India and is an outstanding filly who's defeated colts in several Indian Group 1 classics.

Also, the filly Jolie's Shinju beat colts in the Singapore Derby and is entered now in three Aussie G1 races.

Valerie said...


Thank you for mentioning Jolie's Shinju! Wow, I just watched her races on YouTube, and she's amazing! Can't wait to see her try the Cox Plate campaign; I see she's arrived in Australia for quarantine.

As for Set Alight, I could only find the date and information about the G1 Indian Derby where she finished second. Do you know where I can find information about her other 2009 graded races in open company?

Thanks again!

The Turk said...


Everything you do is top shelf. I look forward to reading this as much as I do The Foolish Pleasure.


sid fernando said...


Go to one of the indian racing sites -- several are listed on my blog -- and you can get articles and race records. Last year she beat colts in an Indian Derby (there are several)......

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