Genuine Risk Leaves a Legacy Behind

It is always difficult to say good-bye to a legend, especially after they have made horse racing history and left behind memories of awe and wonder. The news that the magnificent filly, Genuine Risk, had passed away, rocked the horse racing industry, as her achievements and successes on the racetrack have always been admired and treasured by all. Fans, trainers, jockeys and her owners will never forget the day that Genuine Risk took on the colts in the Kentucky Derby and found victory in her determination to win.

Genuine Risk was born on 15 February 1977. She was sired by Exclusive Native, out of the mare Virtuous, and was bred by Sally Humphrey. Diane and Bertram Firestone bought Genuine Risk for $32,000 in 1978 at the request of their fourteen-year-old son, Matthew, who had taken a liking to her. The Firestones asked Leroy Jolley to train her, and little did they know that they were training the filly that would one day become a horse that would be admired and loved by all.

Being unbeaten as a two year old, the thought of running her against the colts did come to mind, but Jolley was not overenthusiastic about it. He decided, on request of the Firestones, to try her out in the Wood Memorial and after coming in, in third place, they looked towards the Kentucky Derby to see how she would perform. No-one could have predicted that she would outrun both Rumbo and Jaklin Klugman, to become the second filly to win the 1980 Kentucky Derby. Only three fillies have achieved this goal, namely Regret in 1915 and Winning Colors in 1988. And except for Secretariat, she also ran the last quarter mile stretch faster than any other winning horse of the Kentucky Derby has been able to. Her run in the Preakness Stakes was very controversial, as Codex, with jockey Angel Cordero on board, was seen to have bumped Genuine Risk in the final stretch, which everyone still believes cost her the victory at the Preakness, leaving her in second place. She lost narrowly to Temperance Hill in the Belmont, but became the only filly to have finished in a money winning and placed position in all three of the Triple Crown racing events.

After getting loose at the Belmont Racecourse and injuring her knee against a fire hydrant, she was retired to stud in 1981. She only managed to bear two live foals in her time as a broodmare, namely Genuine Reward in 1993 and Count Our Blessing in 1996. With fifteen career starts behind her name, of which ten were victories, three were second place positions and two in third place, in 2000 she was retired as a broodmare to live the rest of her life at the Firestones farm. After eating breakfast and being led out to her paddock, Genuine Risk passed away peacefully on the morning of 18 August 2008. At thirty one, Genuine Risk was the oldest living Kentucky Derby winner, a title now held by the twenty four year old Alysheba, who won the Derby in 1987. She is deeply mourned by her owners, staff members of the stable yard and her fans, who are consoled by the memories of a phenomenal horse and racing legend. Genuine risk was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1986.

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