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Rachel Alexandra owner Jackson loses his battle against cancer.

LEADING US racehorse owner Jess Jackson, best known for the exploits of Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, has died aged 81 in California after complications from cancer, writes Nicholas Godfrey. A wine merchant by profession, Jackson popularised Chardonnay with his Kendall-Jackson vinery and then enjoyed success in horseracing.

In recent years, his gold and burgundy silks have been carried with distinction by horses running under his Stonestreet Stables banner. Stonestreet was Jackson's middle name.

A noted buyer at bloodstock sales, Jackson spent almost $22 million alone at Keeneland's November Sale in 2004, according to the Daily Racing Form.

Jackson developed his own breeding operation in recent years but his biggest successes came from horses he bought out of other stables in partnership with others. Both Curlin and Rachel Alexandra came via this route before monopolising the American Horse of the Year award between them for three years from 2007-09.

Curlin was originally trained by Helen Pitts before being purchased by a partnership featuring Jackson as majority stakeholder after winning his debut by more than 12 lengths at Gulfstream Park in 2007. Transferred to Jackson's principal trainer Steve Asmussen, he went on to finish third in the Kentucky Derby before a string of major victories, among them the Preakness Stakes, Breeders' Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup. He retired as the leading North American moneyearner of all time.

Rachel Alexandra also carried Stonestreet silks for most of her championship season, Jackson and a partner having bought her after she won the Kentucky Oaks by 20-plus lengths for original trainer Hal Wiggins.

Also switched to Asmussen, she went on to beat males in the Preakness and win two more Grade 1s, the Haskell and the Whitney, during a season of eight unbeaten starts.

Jackson bought the former Buckram Oak Farm near Lexington as the Kentucky headquarters of his empire in 2005. Stonestreet Farm, as it is now known, is the home of Rachel Alexandra, who is in foal to Curlin. Having bought out his former partners, Jackson stood the stallion at Lane's End.

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Jess Jackson: once spent EUR22m at Keeneland Sale
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 22, 2011
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