Ticker
  • Lady Shipman dominates in Saratoga's Coronation Cup.Posted 10 hours ago
  • Stopchargingmaria out-duels Untapable to win the G3 Shuvee.Posted 1 day ago
  • American Pharoah wins the Haskell completely in hand!Posted 1 day ago
  • Heart to Heart takes them wire to wire in the G3 Oceanport.Posted 1 day ago
  • Casual Smile closes from second last to win the G3 Matchmaker Stakes.Posted 1 day ago
  • Bradester snags the G2 Monmouth Cup in front-running fashion.Posted 1 day ago
  • Rachel's Valentina, daughter of champion Rachel Alexandra, wins her debut at the Spa!Posted 1 day ago
  • Beholder wins the G1 Clement L. Hirsch for fun!Posted 2 days ago
  • Texas Red returns to the winner's circle with a Jim Dandy victory over Frosted!Posted 2 days ago
  • Red Rifle squeezes through rivals to win the Bowling Green.Posted 2 days ago

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

A Foolish Pleasure: My First Hopeful

Foolish Pleasure vid

 

By all too many, Foolish Pleasure is only remembered as the ‘other horse’ on that fateful afternoon of July 6, 1975 that ultimately claimed the life of the great Ruffian. That’s a shame, because the son of What a Pleasure was a marvelous runner that otherwise thrilled fans with three excellent seasons of racing. While the match race was Ruffian’s initial attempt against male runners, it seemed that the careers of both horses were intertwined long before that. At least that is how I remember it, and it all began with my very first live viewing of the Hopeful Stakes.


Spending the afternoon away from the track one afternoon 39 years ago, my family and I missed out on seeing the most impressive performance in the history of the Spinaway Stakes. Ruffian dominated the grade 1 race like never before, and no horse has done since. Just one day later, the colts in two divisions of the historic Hopeful Stakes would have plenty to do if they were to come close to living up to the race run by the fleet filly. One colt would do his best to try.


While the first division was won in nothing special sort of fashion by a colt named The Bagel Prince (word is his ability to win a juvenile championship had a noticeable hole in the middle), it was the second division that would see one juvenile live up to the fantastic history of the Hopeful. Missing Ruffian the day before may have been a mistake, but we were all glad to see another young champion doing his thing at the Spa.


Foolish Pleasure was no secret. Owned by John L. Greer, and trained by Leroy Jolley, the bay colt had impressed right out of the gate. After an impressive debut, winning off in a Hialeah maiden race, Foolish Pleasure moved right into stakes company in a big way, snaring Delaware’s Dover Stakes by ten lengths. Wins in the Tremont, and then the Grade 1 Sapling Stakes were not as easy, but when the horse he had just defeated in New Jersey by a decisive 1 ¾ length margin, came back to win the first division of the Hopeful (The Bagel Prince), it was clear that the undefeated Foolish Pleasure was the horse to beat in division two. He would not disappoint.


Sent off as the 11-10 chalk in the eight horse field, Foolish Pleasure stayed within striking distance of a blistering early pace. As Greek Answer smoked through early fractions of :21 4/5 and :44 2/5, the race favorite, with Braulio Baeza in the irons for the first time, stayed glued to the rail until the stretch run. When the real running began inside the quarter pole, Foolish Pleasure angled out well of the rail, and once he got to running straight again, exploded past Greek Answer for a dominating win. Nearly a full second faster than the first division, he may not have carried the flare of Ruffian (he never did for that matter), but there was no doubt that in my very first Hopeful, or at the least the second division of my very first Hopeful, we had seen a good one. Talk quickly moved to a Ruffian-Foolish Pleasure showdown.


A hairline fracture in the right hind leg of Ruffian ended hopes of a likely meeting in the Champagne Stakes. Foolish Pleasure did run, and he won his seventh consecutive race, winning at Belmont by six lengths. Both two year old champions of 1974 (male and female) went into the winter undefeated.


Foolish Pleasure would carry that streak to nine consecutive wins, before finally losing in the Florida Derby. The 1975 Kentucky Derby favorite, Foolish Pleasure went on to win the roses, before narrow second place finishes in both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. The highlight of his four-year-old season was a wonderful victory in which he defeated Forego and Lord Rebeau in one of the best stretch drives you'll ever see. All in all, he won 16 of 26 races and more than $1.2 million back in the day when millionaire status really meant something. Foolish Pleasure was so much more than the ‘other horse’ and I was lucky to see him in my very first Hopeful.

 

 

comments powered by Disqus

Older Comments about A Foolish Pleasure: My First Hopeful...

It should be worth noting that the race in which Foolish Pleasure defeated Forego and Lord Rebeau was the 1976 Suburban Handicap. Foolish Pleasure carried 125 pounds, Lord Rebeau had 116 and Forego carried 134 pounds.
Foolish Pleasure was a big part of the great decade of racing, the 1970's.

Related Pages


      Connect With Brian
Google+
Find 

Me On Facebook
Follow Me On Twitter

 

 ZATT's Star of the Week 

American Pharoah

Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. 

Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also consults for Derby Wars, is on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.  

Related Stories

Best of the Blogs

Top Stories