With the recent death of 1982 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Gato Del Sol, Genuine Risk’s position as the oldest living Kentucky Derby winner takes on additional importance. That’s to be expected, because the daughter of Exclusive Native is currently in her 30th year. The second of only three fillies to win the Run for the Roses, Genuine Risk resides at Bertram and Diana Firestone’s Newstead Farm near Upperville, Va., where she enjoys status as the resident queen.
“She’s a little arthritic but she’s managing as well as could be expected for her age,” farm general manager Eric Connolly said. “She has her own stall and goes out daily depending on weather conditions. She stays out as long as she wants. This summer, she spends time outside during the early morning and in the early evening.”
Genuine Risk burst into stardom when she won the 1980 Derby for Diana Firestone. It was the first time since Regret in 1915 that a filly had won the Derby. Since her historic victory, only one other filly, Winning Colors in 1988, has gone on to win America’s greatest race.
Genuine Risk’s day isn’t all relaxation. “She’s a very good babysitter,” Connolly said. “Sometimes when we have a filly right off the track, we’ll place them out in a field together. She’s kind of a good influence on them; keeps them quiet and calm.”
Although she is 30, Genuine Risk gets by on a routine diet. “Plus, we give her lots of carrots and as many peppermints as she can eat,” Connolly said.
Genuine Risk, who was bought for $32,000 by the Firestones’ son, Matthew, at the 1978 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale, ran second in both the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and beat older fillies that fall in the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) in New York. She was voted champion 3-year-old filly.
Though Genuine Risk remains a fan favorite, she is no longer shown to visitors on a regular basis. “Newstead was on this year’s hunt country stable tour Memorial Day weekend, and that’s when we opened her up to visitation,” Connolly said. “More than 2,000 came during that time. We might have another type of visitation in the fall.”
View the Genuine Risk Slide Show