AP Photo

LeRoy Jolley dies at 79

Leave a comment

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.

Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano rides 5,000th winner

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NEW YORK — Javier Castellano won consecutive races to give the Hall of Fame jockey his 5,000th career victory in North America.

The 41-year-old rider won the $200,000 Mohawk aboard Offering Plan in the third race at Belmont Park on Saturday and followed up in the next race aboard Runaway Lute in the $150,000 Hudson to reach the milestone.

Castellano is the 34th jockey in North American history to reach 5,000 wins.

He began his career in his native Venezuela in 1996 before moving to the U.S. a year later and riding his first winner at Calder in Florida.

Castellano is a four-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s top jockey. He won the Preakness in 2006 and 2016 and has notched eight Breeders’ Cup victories.

Best Solution, Northern Ireland jockey win Caulfield Cup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia — Godolphin stable’s Best Solution won the Caulfield Cup in a photo finish ahead of American-bred Homesman, with The Cliffsofmoher finishing third on Saturday in the 2,400-meter race.

Ridden by Pat Cosgrave of Northern Ireland, Best Solution recovered from a bad start to follow Taj Mahal at 600 meters to go and hold on for the Group One win.

Cosgrave was later suspended by race stewards for 11 meetings for a careless riding charge.

The jockey decided to take his suspension immediately, which means he will miss the Cox Plate, another major lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s richest and most prestigious race on Nov. 6 at Flemington.

Cosgrave plans to ride in Dubai on Nov. 3 before returning to Melbourne to again partner Best Solution in the Melbourne Cup.

Cosgrave pleaded guilty to the charge that he allowed Best Solution to shift in near the 1,800-meter mark of the Caulfield Cup, tightening Japanese runner Sole Impact.

Japanese rider Ryusei Sakai was also suspended for causing interference at the same point of the Caulfield Cup when he too shifted ground when not clear. He was suspended for 11 meetings and is able to ride again on Oct. 31.

The victory gave trainer Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin their second Caulfield Cup after All The Good won in 2008.

Pre-race favorite Kings Will Dream had a bad start to drop a couple of lengths and never recovered, finishing sixth after being caught in traffic.