Girls Horse Club Blog

My Tribute to the Running Girls: Part 1

Published by • Jun 21st, 2008 • Category: Junior Blogger Archives, Showing & Sport

by SB, age 14

Most horses that race are boys. No one can deny it, or to be more truthful, the only horses you hear about in racing are the boys. I think it’s high time the girl racers received some kudos and recognition. This two-part blog will cover some of my favorite and most notably famous racing fillies–

(Just a warning, Ruffian is, by far, my favorite racing filly, if not horse, ever, so forgive me if I seem to spend a little more time and effort with her than I do the others. It also depends on the amount of information at my disposal.)


Regret was born in 1912 in New Jersey. Her claim to fame is to be the first of only three fillies to win the Kentucky Derby. She also won the Saratoga Stakes Special on August 8, 1914 against an all male field. This was her first real career starter. She also won the Stanford Memorial and the Hopeful Stakes as a two year old. She was awarded the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year in 1915 and was inducted into National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1957. Regret went on to win nine of her eleven starts, and placed second in one. She was retired and died at Whitney Farm in Lexington where she was buried at the age of 22. In The Blood-Horse magazine, Regret was ranked as 71 in the Top 100 US Thoroughbred Champions of the 20th Century. Two of the best horses in her generation that she beat where ranked well below her at 88 and 99.


Ruffian was born on April 17, 1972 at Claiborne Farm. She was nicknamed Queen of the Fillies as she overtook the track on her first race to win by 15 lengths in record time. As a two year-old she won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Two Year-Old Filly in her 1974 season. As she turned three, Ruffian went on to win the Filly Triple Crown. Her average winning distance was 8 1/3 lengths and equaled if not broke the record of almost every track she set foot on.

By now even Secretariat’s trainer had said that “she may be even better than Secretariat.” Ruffians 11th and final start came on July 6, 1975. Here there was to be a match race between herself and the Kentucky Derby winner of the year, Foolish Pleasure. Known as the Equine Battle of Sexes, over 50,000 spectators showed up to watch the anticipated race. At the starting bell, Ruffian rammed her shoulder into the gate and continued on, unnoticed by most. She was obviously in pain as she leaned heavily on the right leg. After the first few lengths, Ruffian was ahead by half a length, but then her right foreleg snapped. Ruffian was known around the world for her heart and love of running, but no one expected the big filly to keep running even on three legs. She was eventually brought to a stop by her jockey and rushed into a surgery that lasted three hours. When Ruffian woke up, she banged her elbow against the wall and smashed it too. Her cast slipped and ripped open her leg again. The veterinarians thought that it would be better for her to be put out of her misery, and she was euthanized a short time later. For her three year old career, unfinished as it was, Ruffian was awarded the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Filly and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. She is ranked by the Blood- Horse as 35th in their list of Top 100 US Thoroughbred Champions of the 20th Century, and she is also the only non-human on Sport’s Illustrated’s list for the top female athletes of the century at 53rd.

Read SB’s newest Loft Book Club contribution Ruffian: Legend of the Track


Genuine Risk was born on February 15, 1977 in Kentucky. She is the second filly to ever win the Kentucky Derby and is the first filly ever to place in the money in all of the Triple Crown races. Genuine Risk won ten of her fifteen races and was eventually retired to be a broodmare. She was bred to Secretariat but delivered a stillborn foal. With her failure to have foals, Genuine Risk was retired from breeding in 2000. Genuine Risk was inducted in to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1986. The Blood-Horse magazine placed her as 91 in their list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century. She is currently the oldest living Kentucky Derby winner.

Check back tomorrow for PART 2 featuring more of racing’s greatest fillies!

6 Nickers »

  1. Wow, who knew fillies were so amazing! I thought most fillies had all filly races, like most female jockeys race against other females.

  2. WHAT ! Genuine risk is the oddest name I ever heard. But the article was awsome!

  3. Lots of fillies do race all filly fields. There aren’t that many girl jockeys.

  4. Go the girls! This blog is much appreciated to let the girls and fillies have better respect and recognition for their hard work. Brilliantly written and at the same time very meaningful :)

  5. I absolutely love, and I mean LOVE this blog. Some of the horses’ history is so sad, yet happy at the same time. I am going to read Part 2 and 3 right now!

    Amazing blog, SB!

  6. Ooops. There is no Part 3. I guess I loved it so much I expected there to be one!

    ha ha…..