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Woody Stephens Remembered

Dateline: 08/22/98

1987 Belmont Stakes program showing Woody surrounded by his 5 consecutive Belmont winners
Hall of Fame trainer Woody Stephens, best remembered for his 5 consecutive Belmont wins in the 1980s, died today from complications of chronic emphysema. He would have been 85 on September 1st.

He first started as a jockey at age 16 but soon switched to training. He started training on his own in 1940 and officially retired last September with over 2000 career winners. He won the Eclipse award for outstanding trainer in 1983 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976. In his long career he trained 11 Eclipse award winners, including 1982 Horse of the Year Conquistador Cielo, and over 100 Grade 1 stakes winners. He won the Kentucky Derby with Canonade in 1974 and Swale in 1984; the Preakness with Blue Man in 1952; and five consecutive Belmonts, from 1982 through 1986, with Conquistador Cielo, Caveat, Swale, Creme Fraiche, and Danzig Connection. Champions he trained include Bald Eagle, De La Rose, Devil's Bag, Heavenly Cause, Never Bend, Sensational, Smart Angle, and Swale.

The funeral will be in Lexington, Kentucky, on Wednesday morning. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the National Emphysema Foundation.

If you would like to add a remembrance to this page, please email me.

Barn "M" at Hialeah where Woody conditioned his 5 consecutive Belmont winners

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Photo by author, 1987 Belmont program from the author's collection

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