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LeRoy Jolley

LeRoy Jolley
Induction Year: 
Jan. 14, 1938, Hot Springs, Ark.
Dec. 18, 2017, Albany, N.Y.
Career Years: 
Number of Starters: 
Number of Winners: 
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Tab Wrapper


A two-time winner of the Kentucky Derby, LeRoy Jolley began walking hots for his father, trainer Moody Jolley, at the age of 7 and spent his summers growing up working in his father’s barn. After a year at the University of Miami, Jolley returned to work for his father and took out his trainer’s license in 1958.


Jolley’s first stakes winner, Ridan, was owned by Moody Jolley and his wife, Dorothy. Ridan won the Florida Derby, Blue Grass Stakes and Arlington Classic in 1962 to help establish the younger Jolley.


Jolley won his first Kentucky Derby with John L. Greer’s Foolish Pleasure in 1975 and added his second Derby win with Diane M. Firestone’s Genuine Risk five years later. Genuine Risk became only the second filly to win the Derby.


“My father and my uncle were trainers, so I grew up around the racetrack,” Jolley told BloodHorse in 2015. “You think, ‘Someday I’d love to have a horse good enough to run in this race or that race.’ And for me, Foolish Pleasure was the horse that won all of those races. He was an outstanding, great horse. He was a great competitor and no matter who you ran him with, he gave it his best and that’s all you can ask of a horse or anybody else.”


Both Foolish Pleasure and Genuine Risk were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Another champion trained by Jolley, Manila, is also in the Hall of Fame.


Jolley won two Breeders’ Cup races, the 1986 Turf with Manila and the 1990 Juvenile Fillies with champion Meadow Star.


According to Equibase data, Jolley won a total of 96 graded stakes from 1976 through 1994, including 47 Grade 1 events. Along with Foolish Pleasure, Genuine Risk, Manila and Meadow Star, Jolley also trained Grade 1 winners Gulch, Track Baron, Mogambo, Rose’s Cantina, Irish Actor, Honest Pleasure, General Assembly, Pillaster, For the Moment, Optimistic Gal and Stately Don.


Jolley trained a total of six Eclipse Award winners: Foolish Pleasure, Genuine Risk, Manila, Meadow Star, Honest Pleasure and What a Summer. He won a total of 991 races and had purse earnings of more than $35 million.


A 1987 Hall of Fame inductee, Jolley was still an active trainer when he died Dec. 18, 2017 at the age of 79.