Genuine Risk

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Genuine Risk
SireExclusive Native
GrandsireRaise a Native
DamsireGallant Man
FoaledFebruary 15, 1977[1]
DiedAugust 18, 2008(2008-08-18) (aged 31)
CountryUnited States
BreederSally Humphrey
OwnerDiana M. Firestone
TrainerLeRoy Jolley
Major wins
Demoiselle Stakes (1979)
Tempted Stakes (1979)
Ruffian Handicap (1980) American Classic Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1980)
U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Filly (1980)
U.S. Racing Hall of Fame (1986)
#91 - Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century
Genuine Risk Handicap at Belmont Park Genuine Risk has been ranked in the top ten female horses of the 20th century
Last updated on 25 July 2006

Genuine Risk (February 15, 1977 – August 18, 2008) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare best known for winning the 1980 Kentucky Derby.


Genuine Risk was a chestnut mare bred in Kentucky by Sally Humphrey. She was sired by Exclusive Native, a top-class track performer who was even better as a breeding stallion, siring the Triple Crown winner Affirmed. Her dam Virtuous was descended from the British broodmare Iona, a half-sister to Ocean Swell and the grandmother of Tomy Lee.[2]

Kentucky Derby[edit]

The first filly to win the Kentucky Derby was Regret who won the 1915 Derby 65 years earlier. Since then, the filly Winning Colors won in 1988.

Ridden by Jacinto Vasquez, she finished second in the Preakness, after being bumped and carried wide by the winner Codex (horse) and also second in the Belmont Stakes to Temperence Hill. The only other filly to compete in all of the triple crown legs was Winning Colors, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1988, placed 3rd in the Preakness Stakes and 6th in the Belmont Stakes.

Breeding record[edit]

Genuine Risk's first mating was to the Triple Crown winner Secretariat in 1982. The resulting foal expected in 1983 would have made history as the first offspring of two Kentucky Derby winners. Genuine Risk, however, delivered a stillborn colt. Though scheduled to be bred to Nijinsky II in 1983, she was rebred to Secretariat without success.

Over the next 17 years, she produced only two living foals: Genuine Reward, a chestnut colt by Rahy in 1993, and Count Our Blessing, a chestnut colt by Chief Honcho foaled in 1996. Neither colt ever raced. Genuine Reward went to stud in 1997, sired 47 horses with 13 winners, and was in Wyoming until, July 2015 when he was moved to Old Friends Equine in Georgetown, Kentucky due to the philanthropic efforts of author Laura Hillenbrand. He died in 2018 at the age of 25.[3]

Count Our Blessing was eventually gelded and is currently a show horse under the name of Westley.

Honors and retirement[edit]

Genuine Reward at Old Friends in 2018.

Genuine Risk was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1986. In the Blood-Horse magazine List of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century, she is ranked #91.

Retired from breeding in 2000 after losing several foals or failing to conceive, Genuine Risk spent the rest of her life at the Firestone's Newstead Farm in Upperville, Virginia. During Memorial Day Weekend in 2007, several hundred visitors visited Genuine Risk at Newstead during the annual Hunt Country Stable Tour, on what was to be her last public appearance.

At the age of 31, she died in her paddock at the Firestone family's Virginia-based Newstead Farm on Monday, August 18, 2008.[4]

Racing Yacht names after Genuine Risk[edit]

The first boat to win the Chicago Yacht Club's 100th Race to Mackinac, a 333-mile course up Lake Michigan from Chicago to Mackinac Island, was the Genuine Risk with a time of 35 hours 8 minutes.[5] The boat, owned by Randall Pittman, was so named in honor of the aforementioned race horse. "All my boats are named after race horses," says Randall. "Whirlaway, Genuine Risk, Ruffian. I see a parallel between race horses and racing sailboats—all have grace, power and speed."[6]


Pedigree of Genuine Risk, chestnut mare, 1977[1]
Exclusive Native (USA)
Raise a Native (USA)
Native Dancer Polynesian
Raise You Case Ace
Lady Glory
Exclusive (USA)
Shut Out Equipoise
Goose Egg
Good Example Pilate
Parade Girl
Virtuous (USA)
Gallant Man (GB)
Migoli Bois Roussel
Mah Iran
Majideh Mahmoud
Due Respect (GB)
Zucchero Nasrullah
Auld Alliance Brantome
Iona (family: 1-n)[2]


  • McEvoy, Hallie. Genuine Risk: Thoroughbred Legends Eclipse Press (2003) ISBN 978-1-58150-092-9
  • Blood-Horse Aug 18, 2008 "Derby Winner Genuine Risk Dies"
  • Sailing World July 21, 2008 'Genuine Risk Takes Chicago Mackinac Line Honors'
  • 48 Degrees North, August 2004, 'Coming Back in Style'