Riva Ridge (KY)

A two-time Eclipse Award winner, Riva Ridge was bred in Kentucky by Christopher Chenery’s Meadow Stud. A bay son of First Landing out of the Heliopolis mare Iberia, Riva Ridge was trained by Lucien Laurin and ridden primarily by Ron Turcotte.

Riva Ridge (Ron Turcotte up) in the winner's circle (Bob Coglianese/Museum Collection)
Inducted

1998

Foaled

1969

Sire

First Landing

Dam

Iberia

Damsire

Heliopolis

Breeder

Meadow Stud, Inc.

Owner

Meadow Stable

Trainer

Lucien Laurin

Career

1971-1973

Earnings

$1,111,347

Racing Record

30

Starts

Year Starts First Second Third Earnings
Year Sts 1 2 3 $
1971 9 7 0 0 $503263 $503,263
1972 12 5 1 1 $395632 $395,632
1973 9 5 2 0 $212452 $212,452

Biography

A two-time Eclipse Award winner, Riva Ridge was bred in Kentucky by Christopher Chenery’s Meadow Stud. A bay son of First Landing out of the Heliopolis mare Iberia, Riva Ridge was trained by Lucien Laurin and ridden primarily by Ron Turcotte.

Riva Ridge broke his maiden in his second career start on June 23, 1971, at Belmont Park (Key to the Mint finished second). Later that summer, he won his first stakes race, the Flash at Saratoga. Riva Ridge followed the Flash victory with four more consecutive wins — the Futurity Stakes, Champagne Stakes, Pimlico-Laurel Futurity, and Garden State Stakes — to conclude his juvenile campaign with a record of 7-0-0 from nine starts and earnings of $503,263. He was named the Eclipse Award winner for Champion 2-Year-Old Male.

As a 3-year-old, Riva Ridge won the Hibiscus Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes before a 3¼-length victory as the favorite in the 1972 Kentucky Derby. A fourth-place finish on a wet track in the Preakness dashed Riva Ridge’s Triple Crown hopes, but he bounced back with a seven-length victory in the Belmont. Riva Ridge also won the Hollywood Derby that year. 

Returning as a 4-year-old in 1973, Riva Ridge won the Massachusetts, Brooklyn, and Stuyvesant handicaps. He tied the Suffolk Downs track record for 1⅛ miles in the Massachusetts Handicap, while his time of 1:52⅖ in the Brooklyn (held at Aqueduct) set a world record for 1 3/16 miles on dirt. That year, Riva Ridge also finished second to Triple Crown winner and stablemate Secretariat in the Marlboro Cup Invitational. Riva Ridge won his second Eclipse Award in 1973 (Champion Older Male).

Riva Ridge was retired to Claiborne Farm in Kentucky at the conclusion of his 4-year-old season with a career mark of 17-3-1 from 30 starts and earnings of $1,111,347. He died at the age of 16 on April 21, 1985.

Achievements

Eclipse Award Champion 2-Year-Old Male — 1971
Eclipse Award Champion Older Male — 1973

Triple Crown Highlights

Won the Kentucky Derby — 1972
Won the Belmont Stakes — 1972

Media

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