LeRoy Jolley dies at 79

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LeRoy Jolley, a Hall of Fame trainer who twice won the Kentucky Derby and was involved in one of thoroughbred racing’s most famous match races that ended in tragedy, has died. He was 79.

He died Monday.

Jolley won the 1975 Kentucky Derby with Foolish Pleasure, who went on to finish second in the Preakness and in the Belmont.

In 1980, Jolley won the Derby with Genuine Risk, only the second filly to win the Run for the Roses and the first in 65 years. In 1976, he trained 2-5 favorite Honest Pleasure to a second-place finish in the Derby, and he finished second in 1979 with General Assembly.

Jolley enjoyed a bit of crossover fame through a Miller Lite beer commercial in 1976 that featured him with Foolish Pleasure and Honest Pleasure.

On July 6, 1975, a match race was run between Foolish Pleasure and unbeaten filly Ruffian at Belmont Park. It was highly anticipated and attracted a crowd of over 50,000 and a huge television audience.

While on the lead, Ruffian broke down, snapping both sesamoid bones in her right front leg. She still tried to run and finish the race, which Foolish Pleasure won unchallenged. Ruffian underwent surgery and when the anesthesia wore off, she thrashed about wildly on the floor as if still running in the race. She had to be euthanized.

Jolley won two Breeders’ Cup races: the 1986 Turf with Manila and the 1990 Juvenile Fillies with Meadow Star.

Training mostly on the New York circuit, he saddled 991 winners in 6,907 career starts and had purse earnings of $35,125,553, according to Equibase.

During the height of his career from 1975-91, Jolley’s earnings often topped $1 million a year. Among his clients was investor Carl Icahn.

Jolley’s major stakes victories included the Travers, Whitney, Wood Memorial, Florida Derby, Metropolitan Handicap, Woodward Stakes, Arlington Million and Blue Grass.

In 1987, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Born Jan. 14, 1938, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Jolley was the son of famed trainer Moody S. Jolley. At age seven, he began cooling off horses after morning workouts for his father and spent summers working in his father’s barn.

Jolley took out his trainer’s license in 1958. His first stakes winner was Ridan, the co-champion 2-year-old male horse of 1961 that was owned by his parents. Riden won the Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes in 1962.

He is survived by sons LeRoy Jr., who has trained horses, and Tim, and daughter Laurie.

Arabian Knight off Kentucky Derby trail; will return later

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Arabian Knight is off the Kentucky Derby trail.

Wagering has been suspended on the 3-year-old colt for the Derby’s future wager after owner Amr Zedan announced the decision. Arabian Knight was the second choice on the morning line behind favorite Forte for the May 6 race.

“Trainer Tim Yakteen wasn’t happy with his last work & we feel it’s in Arabian Knight’s best interest not to rush & allow him more time to develop,” Zedan tweeted. “We know he’s a superior talent & our plan is to point him toward a summer and fall campaign.”

Purchased for $2.3 million as a 2-year-old, Arabian Knight won his debut by 7 1/4 lengths at Keeneland last November. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest at Oaklawn in January and won by 5 1/2 lengths.

Arabian Knight had his third workout at Santa Anita.

Tapit Trice wins Tampa Bay Derby, earns Kentucky Derby points

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tapit Trice rallied from last to win the $360,000 Tampa Bay Derby by two lengths and earn qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Luis Saez, Tapit Trice ran 1 1/16 miles 1:43.37. The 1-2 favorite in the field of 12 paid $3 to win. The 3-year-old colt earned 50 qualifying points, which places him in the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby on May 6.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher extended his record for most wins in the Grade 3 race to six. He already has the early Kentucky Derby favorite in Forte, who won the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream last weekend.

Classic Car Wash was second and Classic Legacy was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Tapit Trice was making his stakes debut after winning two of three starts.

“Once he got clear down the lane, he really extended himself,” Pletcher said. ”I loved the way he finished up. He relished the two turns, and the longer he goes, the better he’ll get.”