Focus on Art – Bronze

“Inquiry” Bronze 1981

by Pam Foss

available at Project1 Home Furnishings

Great art tells us a story, and when the art is cast in bronze stories can display great detail, movement, and emotion. “Inquiry,” a work in bronze by artist Pam Foss (1981), tells the story of an exceptional filly, a successful jockey, and controversy.

Inquiry by Pam Foss at Project1 Home Furnishings in Richmond, VA

The Filly

On a bright first Saturday in May of 1980, the 3-year-old filly Genuine Risk challenged a dozen colts in the 105thrunning of the Kentucky Derby. She ran a spectacular race and at the finish, became only the second filly since Regret in 1915, to ever win the Kentucky Derby.

The Challenger

Two weeks later May 17, Genuine Risk entered the starting gate at Pimlico, the favorite to win the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown. Codex was third choice in the wagering that day, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr.

The Controversy

Codex had the lead at the home stretch with the filly quickly gaining ground. Sensing that he was beaten, Cordero jerked his reins and pulled Codex to the right. The two horses brushed, and Cordero’s flashing whip lashed Genuine Risk on the head. The filly could not recover, and when the two horses resumed their strides, Codex was two lengths ahead, defeating the filly.

The Decision

The stewards flashed the “Inquiry” sign and Jacinto Vasquez, the rider of Genuine Risk lodged a foul claim but both were disallowed. The next day an appeal by Diana & Bert Firestone, owners of Genuine Risk was filed. After a 3-day hearing conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission, it was determined to let the Codex victory stand.


Genuine Risk finished second that day and third in the Belmont Stakes. When she retired, the filly had won 10 of her 15 races, and never finished worse than third. The events of that day in Baltimore continue to be a topic of conversation among horsemen, and lead the Jockey Club to create changes in the appeals process at all thoroughbred race tracks in America.

The Race

A different angle of the controversial win by Codex, ridden by Angel Cordero Jr.

A different angle of the controversial win by Codex, ridden by Angel Cordero Jr.