Working for Woody

On Belmont day 2006, the name of one New York Hall of Famer and racing legend was swapped out for another, when the Riva Ridge Stakes became the Woody Stephens.

Stephens’ legacy is cemented in his long list of accomplishments, among them the 11 champions he trained, the Eclipse he won as the nation’s top trainer in 1983, the dozens of Grade 1 races he won, and of course, the five consecutive Belmont Stakes he won from 1982 to 1986.  Celebrating the Belmont means celebrating Stephens, and on Belmont day 2006, June 10, the first edition of the Woody Stephens was run. It won by Songster, trained by Tom Albertrani, owned by Darley Stable, ridden by Edgar Prado.

Stephens’ legacy is memorialized in the name of the race, and in “Woody’s Corner,” just inside the clubhouse entrance to Belmont Park, and in his Hall of Fame plaque in Saratoga. More vibrantly, that legacy lingers on backstretches and press boxes, in the people Stephens influenced.


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