In 2009, Rachel Alexandra became at least the fourth three-year-old filly to beat older males when she won the Woodward at Saratoga, an accomplishment that in the minds of many cemented her claim to Horse of the Year honors.
That victory provided the opportunity to recall Twilight Tear and Busher, three-year-old fillies who also beat older males en route to being named Horse of the Year, in 1944 and 1945 respectively. Overlooked somehow in the conversation was Beldame, who in 1904 beat older males in the first start of her sophomore season.
Beldame was owned and bred by August Belmont II, son of the man for whom Belmont Park is named. He campaigned her at two to a 7 – 3 – 1 – 1 record; the following year, he leased her to a friend and business associate, Newton Bennington, when Belmont’s own business endeavors took his attention away from horse racing. He likely regretted that move nearly immediately.