Winning Colors, Last Filly To Win Kentucky Derby, Dies At 23

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Winning Colors, the 1988 Kentucky Derby
winner who was the last filly to win the race, has died, Gainesway
thoroughbred farm said Monday. She was 23.

The roan mare was euthanized Sunday after a bout with colic and
buried at Greentree Farm, which is now part of Gainesway, Gainesway
Vice President Charlie Aker said.

As a 3-year-old, Winning Colors thrilled Derby watchers when she
led wire to wire under Gary Stevens, defeating Forty Niner. She
also won the Grade I Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Oaks that
year and finished with eight wins, three seconds and a third. Her
earnings totaled $1,526,837, the farm said.

Her win at Santa Anita helped Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne
Lukas, who bought Winning Colors as a yearling at Keeneland for the
late Eugene Klein, decide she could compete with the colts at the

"She started out dominating competition in her own sex pretty
handily, and we then decided that we would step out of the box and
try her in the Santa Anita Derby," he told The Associated Press on
Monday night.

"When she won ... she was one of the best 3-year-olds in the
nation," he said. "From there, we decided we were going to try

She was the third filly to win the Derby, after Regret in 1915
and Genuine Risk in 1980.

Gainesway purchased her in 1989 for $4 million, one of the
farm's first big broodmare purchases, Aker said.

She left an 2-year-old by Orientate in training and a yearling
filly by Mr. Greeley at the farm, Gainesway general manager Neil
Howard said.

Her Derby win was "really special" to Lukas. She was the first
of four Derby winners for him.

"The Derby winner always captivates the imagination of the race
fan," he said. "But being a filly and beating the colts made it
even sweeter."

One of Winning Colors' second-place finishes was in the 1988
Breeders' Cup Distaff, where she led until the end, when Personal
Ensign edged ahead to win by inches and retire undefeated in 13

"If you look back through the history books, (that is) one of
the great races of all times," Lukas said.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 20, 2008 at 05:14 AM
    Do you thing Purina will make a special "Winning Colors Diet" Dog food "while supplies last"?
  • by Duh Location: Lexington on Feb 19, 2008 at 06:55 PM
    Mickey: Did your dog win the Kentucky Derby? Come on...
  • by jane Location: ky on Feb 19, 2008 at 01:42 PM
    I had the great privilege of working with three of this great mare's sisters. They were all special mares, kind, dignified and great mothers. I loved them all. I'm sure she was the same and will be missed.
  • by BARBARA Location: FRANKFORT on Feb 19, 2008 at 08:38 AM
    I was 20 when this magical horse won the kentucky derby.She was beautiful when she won for a filly to win the derby over a bunch of boys. She ranks up there with all the greats
  • by Gayle Location: Winchester on Feb 19, 2008 at 08:23 AM
    AWWW.... I am so sorry about Buster!!! Dogs are better anyways! They can fit on the bed. Its great to have them around when your feeling Down.
  • by Mikey on Feb 19, 2008 at 04:31 AM
    My dog Buster died last week and nobody printed a story about him :( Horses get all the stories about them all the time.


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