LeRoy Jolley Passes Away at 80

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D.S. Williamson

December 22nd, 2017

There was a time when many considered LeRoy Jolley to be one of the top 5 horse racing trainers in the world. Jolley won two Kentucky Derbies, including one with filly Genuine Risk, the Wood Memorial, and the Arlington Million. The great Leroy Jolley passed away on Dec. 20, 2017. Some reports have him being 80 years-old. Some have him as being only 79. One thing is for sure, he was one of the greatest horseman to ever live. Keep reading for  profiles of 5 of LeRoy's most memorable horses.

1975 Kentucky Derby - Foolish Pleasure

Not only did Foolish Pleasure finish first in the Kentucky Derby, the What a Pleasure colt also finished second in both the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes. In his four-year-old season, Foolish Pleasure won the Donn Handicap, the Suburban Handicap, and the Arlington Golden Invitational.

1980 Kentucky Derby - Genuine Risk

Genuine Risk dominated her competition in the 1980 Kentucky Derby. By doing so, she became the first filly to win the Run for the Roses since Regret in 1915. Like Foolish Pleasure, she too finished second in both the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Her final signature win happened later in 1980 when she won the Ruffian Handicap at Belmont Park.

1979 Travers Stakes - General Assembly

In 1979, Jolley trained a son of Secretariat named General Assembly. There were huge hopes that Secretariat's son might repeat his father's amazing Triple Crown victory in 1973. Unfortunately for General Assembly, a horse named Spectacular Bid entered the 1979 Kentucky Derby field. General Assembly did go on to win that year's Travers Stakes, though.

General Assembly was so dominant in the Travers that he broke the record at 1 1/4 miles. General Assembly held the record until Arrogate won the 2016 Travers Stakes.

1987 Wood Memorial - Gulch

In 1987, at the age of 13, I went down to Turf Paradise and put money on Gulch to win the Kentucky Derby. 1987 is the year the brilliant Alysheba beat Cryptoclearance and Bet Twice in the Derby. Gulch ended up 6th.

He did win the Wood Memorial that year. Eventually, D. Wayne Lukas became Gulch's trainer. D. Wayne saddled Gulch to a win in the 1988 Breeders' Cup Sprint.

1987 Arlington Million - Manila

Manila was one of my favorite horses. He won the 1986 Breeders' Cup Turf. The next year, he won the Budweiser Arlington Million in a race that ended up being his swan song. Manila also won the United Nations Handicap, then held in Atlantic City, the Turf Classic at Belmont, and the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Belmont.

Those are just 5 of the Grade 1 winners that LeRoy Jolley trained. Horseplayers will miss the man that broke the filly Derby curse.