Woody Stephens Remembered
1987 Belmont Stakes program showing Woody surrounded by his 5 consecutive Belmont winners
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.
- ESPN obit - includes a photo with Conquistidor Cielo
- ESPN/Reuters obit - different from the first two with additional biography info
- Augusta Chronicle obit - includes comments from the Aiken training tracks connections and some great quotes
- Startribune.com obit - a bit more background info and some additional quotes -->
- Legendary trainer dies at 84 - a nice memorial article by Maryjean Wall of the Lexington Herald Leader. Includes a timeline of his career.
- Growth spurt set trainer's destiny - another nice article by Maryjean Wall that concentrates more on his early career.
- 'Artful codger' came up hard, won his rightto racing pride - by Billy Reed of the Lexington Herald Leader with memories from his classic wins
- Andy Beyer's farewell - some nice personal remembrances
- His official retirement notice - from September 24, 1997
- Guess I'm Lucky: My Life in Horseracing - his biography which is sadly now out of print but Amazon.com will try to find you a copy
- Video clips of the stretch runs of his Belmont wins in AVI format:
Barn "M" at Hialeah where Woody conditioned his 5 consecutive Belmont winners
Photo by author, 1987 Belmont program from the author's collection