Chillicothe's Rachel Mattson will be seen on televisions across America Sunday night.



The brilliance of Rachel Alexandra's remarkable Horse of the Year campaign in 2009 captured the imagination of racing fans across the world, including Mattson.


Chillicothe's Rachel Mattson will be seen on televisions across America Sunday night.

The brilliance of Rachel Alexandra's remarkable Horse of the Year campaign in 2009 captured the imagination of racing fans across the world, including Mattson.
 
The filly's dominant Kentucky Oaks victory at Churchill Downs was special to many, but none more than Mattson, whose touching bond with Rachel Alexandra is chronicled in a poignant edition of HRTV's (R) monthly newsmagazine, "Inside Information," which will air at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Titled "Rachel's Story," the gripping piece recounts the new 9-year-old's ongoing courageous battle with aplastic anemia, and the much-needed emotional uplift she received from a special horse, and a wonderful, selfless trainer, Hal Wiggins.

"This unique triangle between the two Rachels and trainer Hal Wiggins touched so many people, including Michael Canale, HRTV's senior producer for live production," said Amy J. Zimmerman, HRTV's executive producer through a press release. "He has never stopped thinking about them since that day when HRTV carried the Kentucky Oaks coverage live.  This is a story Michael has wanted to tell since that day and we are proud to bring it to HRTV." 

Canale produced this episode of "Inside Information." He contacted the Chillicothe Times-Bulletin in May 2009 to get in touch with the family.

With Rachel's affliction affecting her ability to produce red blood cells compromised, she was put in contact with the erstwhile Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Fascinated with horses for most of her young life, her wish was to see the Kentucky Derby.  Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Churchill Downs, Rachel's wish was granted.

On Friday, the morning of the Kentucky Oaks, the young girl from Illinois found her special horse in her namesake -- Rachel Alexandra -- with special gratitude to the great filly's then-trainer, Wiggins.  Despite his tremendous obligations, Wiggins took Rachel Mattson under his wing that day, and while he kept one eye on his prized horse, he also never let the little girl from Chillicothe out of his sight.

And when it came time to celebrate the biggest win of his career with the biggest horse of his career, Hal Wiggins made sure that Mattson was re-united with Rachel Alexandra -- front and center in the winner’s circle.

 "I picked (Rachel) up, and brought her into the stall, and she petted Rachel, and I told her we wanted to give her a good luck pat and all," Wiggins emotionally recalled.  "I got in my car and called (his wife) Renee, and I was just crying like a baby."

Rachel Alexandra had plenty of supporters that day, but few more exuberant than a tough young girl, rooting on her favorite horse, and intent on conquering a serious illness.

"We were cheering for Rachel all day long, all the time she was running," she remembered.

To see a clip of the show, visit HRTV's Web site, www.hrtv.com.