The biggest racing news of the past 24 hours is the death of Genuine Risk; as a tribute, Washingtonian.com has re-published a great 2002 article detailing her racing success, breeding troubles and eventual happy retirement. Genuine Risk’s Derby is the first one I can clearly remember looking forward to and watching on television (and hey, I picked the winner), so her death is particularly poignant. The ‘oldest living Derby winner’ tag has been passed to another of my favorites, Alysheba.
A small aside – Alysheba’s success on the track was, at the time, the focus of some consternation since there was a perception that he needed Lasix to run his best races (and one which seemed fairly justified by his results without it). The great William Nack’s article on how he hesitated to vote for him for Horse of the Year in 1987 for that reason is interesting re-reading in light of the current climate, although pulling Lasix back off the table isn’t quite as popular a notion (yet) as getting rid of steroids.
While he was perhaps not of the same caliber as Genuine Risk, I was still saddened to hear of the death of Bowman’s Band following colic surgery; the 10-year-old stallion always seemed solid on the track and ran until age 6 – that in itself can seem like a feat nowadays. But let us focus on the great mare once more; here, her Derby victory:
Genuine Risk certainly has worthy successors on the track; Proud Spell and Music Note put on quite a show in the Alabama this past weekend. The only downside to their battle is that it is likely the last time this year we will see them face off; Proud Spell is unlikely to run in the Breeders’ Cup (although she may be Philly Park-bound), and Music Note’s plans include a trip back to Belmont.
Racing success is not just for 3-year-olds; Ginger Punch runs in the Personal Ensign on Friday against the likes of Spring Waltz and Unbridled Belle, while Hystericalady takes to Monmouth Park on Saturday. Prior to their races, the turf fillies are in action – Wait a While, Rutherienne, Sharp Susan et al. are running in the Ballston Spa on Thursday (although I have an eye on Valbenny). The depth of the filly and mare divisions seems nearly bottomless this year.
It’s a shame Eight Belles isn’t around to really make them work for it.