Leroy Jolley has been down this road before. The veteran trainer likes to use the Wood Memorial as a prep for the Kentucky Derby, and twice it has paid off with a Derby victory.
One of his winners was Genuine Risk, a filly who lost her unbeaten status with a third-place finish in the 1980 Wood. She then became the second of three fillies to win the Derby.
Today, Jolley sends out another unbeaten filly in the $500,000 Wood, which will be simulcast to Pimlico Race Course and the Laurel intertrack outlet from Aqueduct in New York. This filly, Meadow Star, will try to go down a road no filly ever has gone. If she runs well, Jolley would also test uncharted waters on Derby day.
In 66 years, no filly ever has won the Wood. And no trainer ever has sent out two filly Derby winners.
"They're different physical types," Jolley said. "Genuine Risk was long and tall, and Meadow Star is a pretty type. We probably could go further staying undefeated against fillies, so it's a gamble to go against the colts."
Meadow Star is owned by Carl C. Icahn, chairman of TWA. Last year, Icahn set up the Children's Rescue Fund, a non-profit organization, and all of Meadow Star's earnings go to the fund. The filly already has won $1,086,850, and a Wood victory would make the fund $300,000 richer.
In a field of 10, Meadow Star is the 5-2 second choice in the morning line. Kyle's Our Man, winner of the Gotham Stakes in his last race, is listed at 2-1.
the Wood Memorial produced the Kentucky Derby winner six times from 1973 through 1981, but since that year, when Pleasant Colony won both -- it hasn't happened again.
The Wood is being simulcast as Pimlico's ninth race. The 11th will be another Derby prep, the $500,000 Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.
NOTES: Jolley's other Derby winner was Foolish Pleasure (1975). . . . Meadow Star is 9-for-9. Genuine Risk was 6-for-6 entering the Wood. . . . Chris Antley rides Meadow Star. If she runs impressively, Antley would have a difficult choice between her and Strike the Gold for the Derby. . . . Another rider with a tough choice ahead is Pat Day, who has been riding Unbridled and Summer Squall. Trainer Neil Howard is bypassing the Ben Ali Handicap at Keeneland next week and will run Summer Squall next in the May 11 Pimlico Special, where the colt will meet Unbridled and others. . . . The Racing Times, Daily Racing Form's new competitor, is on some local newsstands but won't include Pimlico past performances until distribution at area tracks, which has been delayed, starts next weekend. . . . The 4-furlong match race between the Thoroughbred, Valiant Pete and a quarter horse, Griswold, is today. The $100,000, winner-take-all event will be at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. . . . Hero's Hurrah, trained by Ben Perkins Jr., is a strong favorite in today's live Pimlico feature, the $40,000-added Primonetta Handicap. . . . Hansel heads a field of 5 in tomorrow's Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. . . . Trainer Bill Boniface is in Franklin, Ky., to saddle Big Warning in the $200,000 Sam Houston Handicap tomorrow at the Dueling Grounds. The track is holding its second 1-day meeting with the $250,000 Dueling Grounds International as the centerpiece of a 4-race card. The International was worth $750,000 last year, making it the richest steeplechase ever run in North America, but was lowered after Dueling Grounds' intertrack handle on other Kentucky races failed to meet expectations. . . . Jockey Herbie Hinojosa and apprentice rider Clinton Potts have been suspended for 7 days for recent riding violations at Pimlico.