04/30/2013 1:01PM

Remembering Casual Lies, Shelley Riley, and their Kentucky Derby run

Benoit & Associates
Casual Lies, a $7,500 purchase, ran second in the 1992 Kentucky Derby.

The city of Pleasanton seeps racing tradition. It has the oldest one-mile track in the United States, the track where 1922 Kentucky Derby winner Morvich trained before heading east. The town was known for its horse farms before urban sprawl swallowed up land.

The people of Pleasanton, naturally, are excited about the Kentucky Derby, and on Saturday they will be able to relive a season when one of their own made a big impact on the Triple Crown.

Twenty-one years ago, Casual Lies, owned and trained by Shelley Riley, left his stall at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton on a Triple Crown adventure that included a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, third-place finish in the Preakness, and fifth-place finish in the Belmont.

Riley, 63, is reliving the adventure with the publication last month of “Casual Lies – A Triple Crown Adventure.”

She’ll be at the Pleasanton satellite facility at the fairgrounds Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. signing copies of her book and talking about her Derby experience with fans. She also will be at Town Center Books on Pleasanton’s Main Street on Friday at 7 p.m. signing copies of the book and talking about the Derby.

Riley has lost none of her self-effacing charm since 1992, when she became the first woman to train a Derby runner-up.

She’s a storyteller and has plenty of stories about her $7,500 Lear Fan colt and his storybook Triple Crown adventure. The book does gloss over some of the controversies from Casual Lies’s Triple Crown run, such as when she replaced regular rider Alan Patterson with Gary Stevens for the Derby.

“I wanted to keep the book positive,” she said.

And, better late than never, the Alameda County Fair will run the Casual Lies Stakes for the first time this summer. The six-furlong race, previously named the Sam Whiting, will have a $75,000 purse.

Two other stakes will change names at the meet, which begins June 20. The Everett Nevin Alameda County Futurity for 2-year-olds will become simply the Everett Nevin, while the Alamedan will become the County of Alameda Stakes.