By Mint Julep

1980 Kentucky Derby Winner Genuine Risk

1980 kentucky derby winner genuine risk

In 1980, Genuine Risk made history by winning the Kentucky Derby. Follow her incredible journey from a young foal to becoming only the second filly ever to win this prestigious race. Learn about the key players – trainer LeRoy Jolley, owner Diana Firestone, and jockey Jacinto Vásquez – who shaped Genuine Risk’s path to victory. Experience the thrilling atmosphere at Churchill Downs as more than 131,000 fans cheered on Genuine Risk against top colts. This moment symbolized progress in horse racing towards inclusivity and talent recognition regardless of gender.

Genuine Risk’s Early Life and Background

Born on February 15, 1977, Genuine Risk was a chestnut Thoroughbred racehorse who came from an impressive pedigree. Bred by Mrs. G. Watts Humphrey Jr., she got her speed and stamina from her sire Exclusive Native and dam Virtuous.

Her journey to greatness began when she was just a young foal, capturing hearts with each graceful stride.

LeRoy Jolley, the skilled trainer responsible for Genuine Risk’s success story, saw her potential early on. His expertise in developing young talents shone through as he nurtured Genuine Risk’s natural abilities and honed her racing skills for the challenges that awaited at Churchill Downs.

Owner Diana Firestone played a key role in guiding Genuine Risk towards victory at the Kentucky Derby in 1980. With unwavering belief in their filly’s abilities, Firestone stood firmly behind Genuine Risk throughout her training and races leading up to that historic moment under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs where dreams became reality amidst thunderous applause.

Road to the Kentucky Derby

Before the 1980 Kentucky Derby, Genuine Risk proved her worth by winning key races that secured her a spot in the prestigious event. With trainer LeRoy Jolley guiding her and jockey Jacinto Vásquez riding her, she was all set for success as she entered Churchill Downs’ revered grounds.

Genuine Risk faced challenges on her path to the Run for the Roses, but each obstacle only pushed her forward. On the racetrack, she not only displayed speed and endurance but also an unmistakable spirit that distinguished her from other competitors. The team supporting Genuine Risk believed in her abilities, their unwavering confidence boosting her drive to overcome any obstacles.

As race day arrived at Churchill Downs, excitement filled the air like electricity. Fans eagerly awaited history in action as they buzzed with anticipation in the grandstands. When Genuine Risk burst out of the starting gates with Vásquez skillfully guiding her, it was more than just another horse race—it was a moment teetering between triumph and disappointment.

With remarkable determination and elegance, Genuine Risk surged down the homestretch defying expectations and breaking stereotypes along with records. With each stride towards victory, she not only achieved glory for herself but also paved a way for female athletes everywhere—proof that talent transcends gender boundaries when courage takes charge.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Fans of the sport are in awe and admire racing legends.

  2. Their accomplishments motivate and inspire young athletes who dream of following in their footsteps.

  3. Racing legends frequently shatter records and push the limits of what people think is achievable in their sport.

  4. They create a legacy that shapes the future for upcoming generations of athletes.


  1. Current athletes may feel overwhelmed by the pressure to match the accomplishments of past racing legends.

  2. Some racing legends might have engaged in controversial or questionable behavior outside of their races, which could harm their reputation.

  3. The achievements of other talented athletes in the sport can be overshadowed by the constant focus on these legendary racers.

  4. The high expectations set for racing legends could contribute to burnout and mental health challenges.

Historic Victory at the Kentucky Derby

On May 3, 1980, something extraordinary happened at Churchill Downs that left a lasting mark on horse racing history. Genuine Risk, a remarkable filly with unmatched determination and skill, made waves by winning the prestigious Kentucky Derby. Jockey Jacinto Vásquez expertly guided her to victory against top colts, showcasing her fearless spirit and grit.

Under the guidance of seasoned trainer LeRoy Jolley, Genuine Risk became more than just another racehorse; she embodied resilience and captured hearts around the world. Despite initial doubts about entering such a male-dominated event, owner Diana Firestone’s decision proved to be a stroke of genius as their trio defied expectations and emerged victorious.

The atmosphere at Churchill Downs was electric as fans cheered for their favorites while witnessing an unforgettable moment in sports history unfold before them. With unwavering determination and grace, Genuine Risk surged ahead down the homestretch, leaving spectators in awe of her incredible performance. This wasn’t just about winning a race; it was about breaking barriers and proving that true champions can come from anywhere.

Genuine Risk’s triumph at the 1980 Kentucky Derby is a timeless story of courage overcoming challenges—a tale that has become legendary in horse racing circles. As she crossed the finish line amidst thunderous applause from the crowd at Churchill Downs, it symbolized empowerment for future generations—proof that passion and purpose can lead to limitless success without boundaries or limits.

Trainer Leroy Jolley’s Influence

LeRoy Jolley had a huge impact on Genuine Risk, much like a skilled conductor leading an orchestra. He expertly coordinated the horse’s training with precision and care, molding Genuine Risk into a strong competitor. Every gallop and stride was carefully planned to bring out the best in this spirited filly.

Jolley went beyond just physical preparation; he also focused on strategy and mindset. He instilled confidence in both Genuine Risk and her team, encouraging them to believe that they could overcome challenges and make history at Churchill Downs. His calm demeanor under pressure served as a guiding light during intense racing moments.

On Derby day, when all eyes were on Genuine Risk, Jolley’s experience really came through. From the sidelines, he made quick decisions that propelled his protege towards victory – showcasing not only tactical skill but also a deep connection with his equine partner.

Looking back now, LeRoy Jolley’s influence on Genuine Risk’s journey to success highlights the transformative power of effective coaching in sports – where expertise combines with intuition to create unforgettable moments that stand the test of time.

Top Performers at the Race Track

Finished Post Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Time / behind
1st 8 Genuine Risk Jacinto Vásquez LeRoy Jolley Diana Firestone
2nd 7 Rumbo Laffit Pincay Jr. Thomas R. Bell Jr. Gayno Stable and Bell Bloodstock Co.
3rd 2 Jaklin Klugman Darrel McHargue Riley S. Cofer Jack Klugman & John Dominguez
4th 3 Super Moment Donald R. Pierce Ron McAnally Elmendorf Farm
5th 5 Rockhill Native John Oldham Herbert K. Stevens Harry A. Oak
6th 1 Bold ‘n Ruling Pat Valenzuela Melvin F. Stute Hughes Brothers
7th 9 Plugged Nickle Buck Thornburg Thomas Joseph Kelly John M. Schiff
8th 4 Degenerate Jon Ruben Hernandez Joseph Trovato Barry K. Schwartz
9th 10 Withholding Michael Morgan Ronnie G. Warren Russell Michael Jr.
10th 12 Tonka Wakhan Melvin Holland Glen P. Bernis Glenn Bromagen
11th 11 Execution’s Reason Randy Romero J. Bert Sonnier Howard B. Noonan
12th 6 Gold Stage Ángel Cordero Jr. William Curtis Jr. Mrs. Philip B. Hofmann
13th 13 Hazard Duke Donald Brumfield David C. Kassen Andrew Adams

Owner Diana Firestone’s Impact

Diana Firestone and her husband Thomas Mellon Evans of The Meadow Stable played key roles in Genuine Risk’s journey to the 1980 Kentucky Derby. They were determined to see the filly succeed, which led to one of horse racing’s most memorable victories.

Firestone had a sharp eye for talent and decided to buy Genuine Risk as a yearling, despite facing doubts from some industry insiders because of the filly’s gender. She never doubted Genuine Risk’s potential, and that belief paid off on race day at Churchill Downs.

With Diana Firestone’s backing, trainer LeRoy Jolley was able to prepare Genuine Risk for her historic run at the Kentucky Derby. This partnership between owner and trainer was crucial in turning Genuine Risk into a strong contender against all odds.

On race day, jockey Jacinto Vásquez skillfully guided Genuine Risk through tough competition from male horses while Diana Firestone anxiously watched from the stands. Her presence not only represented ownership but also stood as a symbol of empowerment for women in horse racing—an inspiring message that resonated far beyond just that winning moment.

Jockey Jacinto Vásquez’s Winning Ride

In 1980, Jacinto Vásquez showed off his exceptional skills in horseback riding during the Kentucky Derby. His strong connection with Genuine Risk helped them zoom past their rivals as they raced around Churchill Downs. Vásquez’s smart decisions and perfect timing guided the filly smoothly to victory, leaving everyone watching amazed.

Vásquez and Genuine Risk demonstrated a great partnership between a jockey and a horse, highlighting how trust and communication are key in intense races like the Kentucky Derby. By understanding Genuine Risk’s movements and reacting quickly under pressure, they proved to be an unstoppable duo capable of overcoming any challenge.

The excitement at Churchill Downs was palpable as Vásquez skillfully navigated through tough spots and made bold moves with Genuine Risk. The crowd cheered loudly, recognizing that they were witnessing something extraordinary happening right before their eyes. With Vásquez’s expert riding skills combined with Genuine Risk’s determination, what started as an ordinary race day turned into an unforgettable moment that would go down in history.

Vásquez’s winning ride on Genuine Risk not only secured their place in racing history but also broke gender barriers within horse racing. It showed that talent has no limits when it comes to achieving success on the track. Their victory represented resilience, bravery, and defying stereotypes – proving that amazing things can happen when passion meets opportunity on a special day at Churchill Downs.

Legendary Tales of Genuine Risk's Derby Triumph

  1. The 1980 Kentucky Derby Victory of Genuine Risk:

  2. In a historic moment, Genuine Risk shattered horse racing norms by becoming the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby in over six decades.

  3. Despite facing doubts and skepticism from many in the industry, Genuine Risk silenced her critics with an outstanding display of talent and determination on the track.

  4. By triumphing at the 1980 Kentucky Derby, Genuine Risk set a new standard for female horses in racing, inspiring future generations of fillies to compete at elite levels.

  5. Jockey Jacinto Vasquez played a pivotal role in guiding Genuine Risk to victory through his expertise and skillful navigation of the challenging Derby course.

  6. The enduring legacy of Genuine Risk's triumph is etched into horse racing history as a legendary tale that underscores how perseverance, courage, and belief can defy all odds to achieve greatness – showcasing what true champions are made of!

Legacy of Genuine Risk

In 1980, Genuine Risk made history by winning the Kentucky Derby, a major moment in horse racing. Trained by the legendary LeRoy Jolley, she defied expectations and broke gender barriers as only the second filly to win since Regret did so in 1915. Owned by Diana Firestone, Genuine Risk wowed fans with her speed and stamina at Churchill Downs that day.

The partnership between Genuine Risk and jockey Jacinto Vásquez was magical on their journey to Derby victory. Vásquez expertly guided her through a crowded field of contenders with precision and skill. Their teamwork elevated them above others, securing their place as true champions in racing history.

Genuine Risk’s legacy goes beyond one win; she showed that fillies could excel in Thoroughbred racing. By breaking stereotypes based on gender, she inspired future generations of female horses and riders to chase their dreams without limits or constraints.

At Churchill Downs in May 1980, an electric atmosphere buzzed with excitement as spectators watched Genuine Risk surge ahead with determination down the homestretch. Her brilliance left rivals awestruck as she crossed the finish line victorious amidst cheers from fans touched by her historic achievement—a symbol of triumph over adversity inspiring all dreamers to reach for greatness against all odds.

Attendance and Atmosphere at Churchill Downs

The 106th Kentucky Derby had a massive turnout of 131,859 fans on May 3, 1980. Genuine Risk made history with her incredible win that day. The energy at Churchill Downs was electric as supporters rooted for their top picks.

In the midst of the excited crowd and fluttering bet slips, you could feel the tension in the air. Anticipation filled every corner like a thick fog above those famous twin spires reaching into the sky. Each hoofbeat sounded like a drumroll leading to an exciting climax.

As Genuine Risk raced down that legendary track, her hooves pounding out a rhythm reverberating through time, it seemed as if the ground beneath you trembled. It felt like she carried not just herself but also the aspirations of every woman who defied expectations and aimed for greatness.

When Genuine Risk crossed that finish line first, it wasn’t just about winning; it was about breaking stereotypes and proving that gender doesn’t limit success in this fast-paced sport. Amidst cheers and tears alike, Genuine Risk secured her place in history—a symbol of motivation for future generations.

Impact on Gender Barriers in Horse Racing

In 1980, Genuine Risk made history by winning the Kentucky Derby and challenging gender norms in horse racing. Trainer LeRoy Jolley, known for his expertise and careful training methods, played a crucial role in getting Genuine Risk ready for the race. With Jolley’s guidance, Genuine Risk showed exceptional talent and determination that surprised many people, proving that female horses could compete at top racetracks like Churchill Downs.

Owner Diana Firestone strongly believed in Genuine Risk’s abilities and helped break down barriers for female competitors in a sport dominated by men. Her passion for racing and dedication to her filly demonstrated not only her love for the sport but also her commitment to showing that success on the racetrack should not be limited by gender. With Firestone’s support, Genuine Risk became an inspiration for aspiring female jockeys and trainers who wanted to succeed despite facing outdated perceptions in their industry.

Jockey Jacinto Vásquez expertly guided Genuine Risk through a crowded field at Churchill Downs with skillful precision and unwavering focus. Their partnership showcased teamwork surpassing gender boundaries, proving that when talent meets opportunity without bias, remarkable achievements can occur. Vásquez’s strategic moves during the Derby race highlighted his deep understanding of Genuine Risk’s capabilities while cementing their status among legends who defy odds – regardless of gender differences.


1. Who trained Genuine Risk for the 1980 Kentucky Derby?

LeRoy Jolley skillfully trained Genuine Risk for the 1980 Kentucky Derby.

2. What made Genuine Risk's victory at the Kentucky Derby in 1980 historic?

Genuine Risk made history by winning the 1980 Kentucky Derby as only the second filly ever to claim victory in the prestigious race. Her triumph broke gender barriers in horse racing and captured the world's attention with her impressive underdog win.

3. How did owner Diana Firestone come to acquire Genuine Risk?

Diana Firestone boldly and decisively won Genuine Risk in a competitive auction at Keeneland. She outsmarted other buyers to claim the talented filly for herself.

4. What role did jockey Jacinto Vásquez play in Genuine Risk's triumph at the Kentucky Derby?

In 1980, Jockey Jacinto Vásquez expertly rode Genuine Risk to win the Kentucky Derby. He showed off his skills and worked closely with the talented filly to secure their victory.

5. How did Genuine Risk break gender barriers in horse racing with her win at the 1980 Kentucky Derby?

Genuine Risk broke down gender barriers in horse racing when she became just the second filly ever to win the famous Kentucky Derby. She defied the odds and showed off the amazing talent and strength of female horses in a sport that has typically been dominated by males.

6. What was the atmosphere like at Churchill Downs during Genuine Risk's memorable race day in 1980?

In 1980, the energy at Churchill Downs on Genuine Risk's race day was buzzing with excitement and anticipation. The underdog filly made history by winning the Kentucky Derby, breaking gender barriers and defying all odds.