Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Another Big, Beautiful Chestnut Filly
ABC missed an opportunity at a wonderful tie-in story during its Belmont Stakes coverage, and certainly, some media outlet ought to bring it to the public’s attention now, if for no other reason than to further engage those newcomers to racing who are thirsty for knowledge and good stories. Commentators and writers made much of Tanya being the last filly to win the Belmont back in 1905, but just 27 years ago another big chestnut filly with a striking white blaze made racing history.
Genuine Risk is still the first and only filly to race and finish in the money in all three Triple Crown races. A $32,000 yearling purchase, trained by Leroy Jolley and ridden by Jacinto Vasquez (who also rode Ruffian), Genuine Risk finished third in the Wood Memorial in her first try at the colts, but turned the tables in the Kentucky Derby, winning as a 13-1 longshot. She finished second in a controversial Preakness, when Angel Cordero Jr. aboard Codex was accused of striking the filly in the face with his whip as they battled down the stretch. The Pimlico stewards disallowed the protest, but to this today, many believe that Cordero’s physical actions impeded Genuine Risk from winning that race.
In the Belmont, she bested Codex, but a 50-1 longshot Temperance Hill defeated her by two lengths on a sloppy track. A Derby win, and two second place finishes. An incredible achievement by a beautiful filly that, ironically, is presently the oldest surviving Kentucky Derby winner, celebrating her 30th birthday this year. In 15 lifetime starts, she never finished out of the money (10 wins, 3 places, 2 shows). Her life as a broodmare was heartbreakingly unsuccessful, with only two healthy offspring. Aimee Crawford wrote a nice piece on her for Sports Illustrated last year.
Watch all three of her Triple Crown races if you are too young to remember her (or if you do, just to bask in the memories). Notice especially in the Derby and Preakness her sweeping outside moves around the final turn; remind you of another chestnut filly with a white blaze down her nose?
1980 Kentucky Derby
1980 Preakness Stakes
1980 Belmont Stakes