Ruffian, a dark brown filly, by Reviewer out of Shenanigans by Native Dancer, was foaled April 17, 1972 at Claiborne Farm, Paris KY.

Undefeated in 10 starts against fillies, Ruffian entered a match race against Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure at Belmont Park on July 6th, 1975. Leading the colt, Ruffian took a misstep fracturing her ankle. Her jockey tried in vain to pull her up, but she ran on, exposed bone grinding the track with every stride, determined not to let Foolish Pleasure head her. By the time she stopped her hoof hung from a piece of skin.

Rushed from the track she received immediate medical attention, but thrashed wildly coming out of surgery, breaking her cast and damaging her leg even further. Ruffian was humanely destroyed at 2am on July 7th, 1975. She's buried at Belmont Park, with her nose pointing to the finish line.

Reviewer and Shenanigans would each suffer an identical fate, following their daughter to the grave within two years.

1974
  • Fashion Stakes - 1st Place
    • Equalled Track Record
  • Astoria Stakes - 1st Place
    • Equalled Track Record
  • Sorority Stakes - 1st Place
    • New Stakes Record
  • Spinaway Stakes - 1st Place
    • New Stakes Record
  • Champion 2 yo Filly

1975
  • Comely Stakes - 1st Place
    • New Stakes Record
  • Acorn Stakes - 1st Place
    • New Stakes Record
  • Mother Goose Stakes - 1st Place
    • New Stakes Record
  • Coaching Club American Oaks - 1st Place
    • Equalled Stakes Record
  • Champion 3yo Filly


Sports Illustrated for Women named Ruffian the 57th greatest female athlete of all time.

Related categories 1

ESPN.com: Great Match Race Still Haunts Jockey
Foolish Pleasure's jockey, Braulio Baeza, remembers the race that ended Ruffian's life.
Ruffian: Racing's Greatest Filly
Full race record, pedigree bios, and racing bio.
[Jockey_Mozilla]
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September 3, 2016 at 14:15:59 UTC
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