Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky, USA
Death 7 Jul 1975 (aged 3)
Elmont, Nassau County, New York, USA
Burial Elmont, Nassau County, New York, USA
Plot Under infield flagpole
Memorial ID 912 · View Source
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Champion Race Horse. She was catapulted to fame more by the manner of her death rather than a lengthy record breaking career. After only ten races she was pitted against Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure in a match race at Belmont Park on July 5, 1975. The fifty thousand spectators who packed the small track that day, along with hundreds of thousands who ordinarily didn't follow racing watching on televison, were witness to the greatest horse racing tragedy in history. The two horses burst from the starting gate, when suddenly Ruffian's front leg snapped. She continued to run on three legs, the broken limb dangling, refusing to be stopped by her jockey. The track ambulance arrived at the same time the animal lurched to a halt. Taken to a stall where surgery failed, Ruffian was destroyed. The emotional impact of this event across the country recorded by televison was so great, the film was actually censored and never rerun. The horse was honored with the flags at Belmont flown at half mast with burial in the infield beneath the flagpole nose pointed toward the finish line in plain view of all sitting in the main grandstand.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 912
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ruffian (17 Apr 1972–7 Jul 1975), Find a Grave Memorial no. 912, citing Belmont Park Race Track, Elmont, Nassau County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .