08/21/2008 11:00PM

Kentucky Derby-winning fillies left their mark


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Both of the modern fillies who won the Kentucky Derby died this year: Genuine Risk earlier in the week and Winning Colors in February.

The only other filly to take the classic was Regret in 1915, and when Genuine Risk won the race 65 years later, her success brought such public acclaim and recognition of the accomplishment that others set out to emulate the feat. Only Winning Colors managed to win, but the competition has added color and excitement to the classic. And some fillies (as part of entries) even have gone off favored in the race at Churchill Downs.

Althea and Life's Magic were the favored entry in 1984 when Swale won the race, and the entry of the filly Excellent Meeting and General Challenge was the favorite in 1999 when Charismatic won.

In contrast, Genuine Risk was 13-1 in 1980, and Winning Colors had the same odds as Private Terms in 1988, although slightly more dollars were wagered on the colt, making him the favorite.

Both Genuine Risk and Winning Colors won their classic when they had lost only a single race each. But whereas Genuine Risk had slipped in Derby favoritism due to her third in the Wood Memorial to Plugged Nickle and Colonel Moran, Winning Colors had boosted her reputation before the Derby with a crushing victory over colts in the Santa Anita Derby.

Both fillies lost the Preakness, with Genuine Risk second to Codex and Winning Colors third to Risen Star and Brian's Time, after becoming tremendous favorites with many fans among the general public.

Both Genuine Risk and Winning Colors ended their 3-year-old seasons on high notes and were named champion filly. Genuine Risk defeated fillies and mares in the Ruffian, and Winning Colors pushed unbeaten Personal Ensign to one of her greatest efforts when finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

And both Genuine Risk and Winning Colors were part of the great arch of classic form that represents the pinnacle of American breeding during the 1970s and 1980s.

Genuine Risk, for example, was by the Raise a Native stallion Exclusive Native, who also sired Triple Crown winner Affirmed, and she was out of Virtuous, by the Belmont Stakes winner Gallant Man.

Winning Colors was by the high-class Irish-bred stallion Caro, who sired classic winners abroad as well champion Cozzene and many other good horses after his importation to the United States.

And Winning Colors was out of the Bold Hour mare All Rainbows, a stakes winner and half-sister to champion filly Chris Evert, who won what was called the NYRA Filly Triple Crown - the CCA Oaks, Mother Goose, and Acorn - as well as a match race against Miss Musket on the West Coast.

As exceptional as they were as racehorses, neither Genuine Risk nor Winning Colors came close to emulating that success in their subsequent careers as broodmares.

Of the two, Genuine Risk clearly had much the worst luck, as the mare produced only two live foals, and neither raced.

Genuine Risk's first foal was born in 1993, when she was 16, and the second foal came three years later.

Perhaps even worse luck for the mare and her owners, Bert and Diana Firestone, was the fact that both were colts.

Winning Colors, on the other hand, produced 10 live foals. Of those, nine are of racing age, seven started, and five won, including the mare's 2-year-old of 2008, Ocean Colors.

The latter is a daughter of champion sprinter Orientate and went straight into stakes competition after an impressive victory in a maiden race at Churchill Downs.

The foals from Winning Colors have tended to be big, scopy, athletic, and very good-looking. Two sold at public auction for more than $1 million, including the Mr. Prospector mare Golden Colors, who topped the Keeneland July select yearling sale in 1994, won three times in Japan, was stakes-placed, and earned $509,963. She was placed in a group stakes, since only those Japanese races are granted black type through the international cataloging standards.

Another point of considerable interest with Winning Colors is that eight of her foals were fillies. Of these, Stormin Winnie, an unraced daughter of Storm Cat, has already produced stakes winner La Conseillante, by Elusive Quality.

With so many daughters by so many outstanding sires, such as Mr. Prospector, Danzig, and Broad Brush, the prospects are very good that one or more of the broodmares from Winning Colors will be much above average as a producer and will continue the historic legacy of her dam.