LEGEND OF RUFFIAN w/BONUS FOOTAGE
Just one year after SECRETARIAT wowed the racing world, this sensational creature of grace came fleeting into racing hearts. She was massive for a filly but her spidery legs carried her with her a balance and rhythm. Her eye was as bold as brass but there were times when she had a flash of recklessness. She was foaled at Claiborne Farm and had aristocratic bloodlines...by REVIEWER (BOLD RULER) out of SHENANIGANS (NATIVE DANCER).
In 1975, RUFFIAN reeled off another five wins in-a-row including the New York Filly Triple Crown - The Acorn Stakes, Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks, which proved to be a formality. During two short seasons at the track (15 months to be precise), RUFFIAN was hailed as the greatest filly of all time. Unbeaten in her first ten starts she had shattered one record after another, dazzling the crowds with both her beauty and brilliant speed. No other horse had ever passed her on the track; except for the first few steps out of the gate, at every point of call, in every race, short or long, RUFFIAN had always been on the lead. She was not only undefeated...she was perfect. That perfection ended in tragedy on July 6, 1975.
In what was popularly referred to as, "the battle of the sexes", the New York Racing Association (NYRA) agreed upon the terms for a match race between RUFFIAN and FOOLISH PLEASURE, the tough uncompromising winner of the Kentucky Derby and runner-up in the Preakness and Belmont. The forthcoming 1-1/4 mile race attracted attention as no other equine confrontation has ever done. The big, beautiful champion filly against the battle-hardened colt whose courageous stretch runs had brought him so close to a Triple Crown of his own. Many thought FOOLISH PLEASURE's hard, competitive edge would be too much for RUFFIAN to handle; she had, after all, won all her races with consummate ease...racing clear and staying there - no opponent had ever looked her in the eye.
A crowd of 50,000 assembled at Belmont on July 6, 1975, to witness what all felt would be a terrific and well-fought battle between the champions - no sporting event had ever carried more hopes and dreams as the contestants made their way down to the starting gate. As 18 million people watched the dual unfold on national television, RUFFIAN - a 1/2-length in front of the colt broke down! In the comparative quiet of the backstretch, a sharp snapping sound was heard and RUFFIAN's rider, JACINTO VASQUEZ, tried to haul the filly to a halt - she had shattered her sesamoid bones in her right front leg. The once cheering crowd now watched in stricken silence as the ambulance sped toward the filly and vets attended to her. When the wound was examined, it revealed an injury that surpassed the worst fears; the bones were smashed into splinters and clogged with sand and blood. The damage was greatly worsened by the fact that RUFFIAN had thundered forward after the impact, her fighting heart telling her to struggle on, to catch FOOLISH PLEASURE at any price.
Heroic efforts were made to save RUFFIAN, although the early prognosis gave her only a 10% chance of survival. A pneumatic cast was applied before she was loaded onto the ambulance and another was applied in the barn area. A team of four vets and an orthopedic surgeon labored for a total of twelve hours to accomplish the impossible. During the operation, RUFFIAN was twice revived after she had stopped breathing...finally the surgery was done. However, the worst was yet to come. The anesthesia wore off and the filly awoke, disorientated, confused, and in pain. She thrashed about wildly despite the attempts of several attendants to hold her down. She fractured the new cast and caused even greater damage to the fetlock. Knowing that she could not endure further surgery, the veterinarians put her mercifully to sleep.
She might have lived had she had a calmer spirit...if her soul could have been stilled. But then... she wouldn't have been RUFFIAN. She was lost to the racing industry but she left in memory an example of what the horse world is all about. She was lovely to the eye and exciting to the heart, and into her every striving breathed an excellence which is timeless. RUFFIAN...the triumph and the tragedy.
AS AN ADDED BONUS...a few nice segments looking back on RUFFIAN and her legendary career are included after the main feature such as Bill Knack's reflections of RUFFIAN and the comparison of RUFFIAN to her kindred spirit, BARBARO... in addition to news of the new RUFFIAN MEDICAL CENTER being erected at the sight of RUFFIAN's grave at Belmont Park; a state-of-the-art full-service medical facility inspired by the memory of RUFFIAN.
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|