August 20, 2008

Remembering the Greatness of 3 Fillies - Genuine Risk Tribute

This week we mourn the loss of the second of three fillies to capture The Kentucky Derby. More painfully, we suffer the loss of three heroines of racing within a six month span... 2 Derby winners (Genuine Risk - 1980 and Winning Colors - 1988) and this year's Derby runner-up, Eight Belles. I guess there is something to the saying that bad things happen in "three's".

Genuine Risk (February 15, 1977 – August 18, 2008) was a chestnut mare who won the 1980 Kentucky Derby and was the first filly to ever finish in the money in all three U.S. Triple Crown races. Ridden by Jacinto Vasquez, she finished second in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes -- an extraordinary feat for any horse, male or female.

High hopes followed the star of the prized Firestone Stable into the breeding shed, but only heartache ensued. Genuine Risk's first mating was to the Triple Crown winner Secretariat in 1982. The resulting foal expected in 1983 would have made history as the first offspring of two Kentucky Derby winners. Tragically though, Genuine Risk delivered a stillborn colt. Over the next 17 years, she produced only two living foals and neither colt ever made it to the track.

Winning Colors was euthanized February 17, 2008 at the age of 23 as a result of complications from colic, a chronic horse condition. She did not have a great deal of success as a broodmare either, although some of her progeny did well racing in Japan. The original femme fatale, Regret (1915 Derby winner), likewise produced only one major stakes winner (Revenge) out of eleven foals and died at the age 22.

To end on a positive note, I will gladly report that 2007 Belmont Stakes winning filly (besting 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin), Rags to Riches, is in foal to Giant's Causeway and expecting a wobbly four-legger in spring 2009. Let's hope that baby is also a healthy filly and carries on the tradition of excellence!

Travers Stakes coming this Saturday, so please check back for weekend updates.

Horse Racing

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