Wyomia Tyus, one of America’s biggest track stars of the past, will have a 2-year-old filly named after her running in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs. Wyomia, a daughter of Vindication, will compete in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IIT) Nov. 5, starting from post 8 in the field of 14. The dark bay or brown filly was 12-1 on the morning line.
Real estate investor Ed Seltzer owns Wyomia in partnership with Beverly Anderson and he bred the filly in partnership with his ex-wife, Marilyn.
“I was called by Ed several weeks ago and he left a message not saying what it was about” said Tyus, who won back-to-back gold medals in the 100 meters at the 1964 and 1968 Olympics. “I didn’t know who this person was, but I had a talk with him. At first I was like, ‘Oh really; oh that’s nice. I hope the horse is a good one.’ I was shocked. Then I continued to talk to Ed and got to know him and what a wonderful person he seems to be, so now I feel somewhat honored.”
Wyomia, the filly, has won two of her three career races in Canada over Woodbine’s synthetic Polytrack surface. She was fifth in her first start in August and then she broke her maiden by 5 ¼ lengths in September. In her last outing prior to the Breeders’ Cup, she triumphed by 2 ¾ lengths in the Mazarine Stakes (Can-III).
“When I was a young man, I remembered reading about her (Wyomia Tyus),” Seltzer said. “I ran track a little bit in high school, but never at her level, and I was always fascinated at what she was able to do. She had a pretty name, and I thought if I ever got a filly that I thought was of that high of caliber, I would name her for Wyomia Tyus. After we won the Mazarine, I went on the Internet and found her (Tyus’) phone number and called her. She’s a lovely person.”
Tyus, who lives in Southern California, attended Tennessee State University, and one of her biggest rivals was college teammate Edith McGuire, also an Olympic gold medal winner. Seltzer invited both Tyus and McGuire to attend the Breeders’ Cup and watch Wyomia, the filly, run. But the race conflicts with homecoming-related activities at Tennessee State.
“Edith and I come back every year (to Tennessee State) because mainly because our former coach (Ed Temple) lives in Nashville,” Tyus said. “We come back to visit with him and to be together. To fly from Nashville to Kentucky, I would have to go to Chicago or Atlanta and it doesn’t make sense (to do in one day). I’m not going to be able to go to the Breeders’ Cup, but I will try to get to a television around when the race is run.
“Hopefully, she (Wyomia) is as good as I was,” Tyus added with a chuckle. “I guess I am proud that he (Seltzer) named her after me. I just wish the horse well and hope that she keeps up the good name.”
Tyus was the first person to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the 100 meters. She is a member of the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.