The remains of Hall of Famer Ruffian have been transferred from the infield at Belmont Park to Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, where the legendary filly was born and raised, officials at the New York Racing Association announced Thursday. NYRA has also relocated the plaque from Ruffian's gravesite at Belmont Park to Claiborne Farm.
Ruffian was buried Thursday at Marchmont Cemetery on the grounds of the famed nursery, the final resting place of the likes of Damascus, Danzig, Easy Goer, Unbridled, Personal Ensign, her daughter My Flag and granddaughter Storm Flag Flying, Special–the dam of Nureyev–Obeah, the dam of Go For Wand, and many more.
Ruffian's remains had been buried at the base of the flagpole near the Belmont Park finish line since 1975. NYRA is beginning the construction of a one-mile all-weather track at that location. The move to Claiborne will allow greater public access to her gravesite.
“We are honored that Ruffian will be returning home,” said Walker Hancock, President of Claiborne Farm. “She is known throughout racing as one of the greatest fillies of all time and it's only fitting that she returns to her birthplace and will lie alongside other great mares such as Personal Ensign, Inside Information and Moccasin, among others, in our Marchmont Cemetery.”
Ruffian was bred by Stuart Janney, Jr. and his wife Barbara Phipps Janney. In her two-year career, Ruffian won all of the 10 races she finished, including the Acorn, Mother Goose and CCA Oaks, then referred to as the American Triple Tiara. Ruffian was dominating from the start, winning her maiden by 15 lengths on debut while equaling the Belmont track record for 5 1/2 furlongs. She was never headed in any of her starts and set records in each of the eight stakes she won. The champion 2-year-old filly of 1974, she was also champion of her generation at three, but died in July 1975 from injuries sustained in a 10-furlong match race with Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure. She was inducted into the hall of fame in 1976.
“I'd like to thank NYRA for preserving and protecting Ruffian's gravesite at Belmont for close to 50 years,” said Stuart Janney, III, who made the decision to move the remains jointly with Claiborne and NYRA, where he is a board member. “We have been working with NYRA and Claiborne for months, and this is a wonderful outcome that will increase the public's ability to visit the site and pay tribute to Ruffian and her incredible legacy. Claiborne is one of the most beautiful and revered Thoroughbred farms in America and the home of some of the greatest horses in racing history, and the ideal place for Ruffian.”
In addition, NYRA announced that the remains of Timely Writer, winner of the 1981 Hopeful S. and Champagne S., will be transferred to Old Friends in Georgetown, Kentucky. A one-time claimer, he won the Florida Derby in 1982, but missed the Kentucky Derby due to injury. He won nine of his 15 starts for earnings in excess of $605,000.