With her victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 1990, Florida-bred Meadow Star completed a stellar undefeated juvenile season on her way to an Eclipse Award.

By JoAnn Guidry

Describing Meadow Star as precocious would be a bit of an understatement. A flashy bright chestnut built like a Quarter Horse with a dished Arabian-like head, Meadow Star was as eye-catching as she was talented. She posted an undefeated 2-year-old season in 1990 that included six graded stakes wins. Of those, four were at the Grade 1 level. Meadow Star won at sprint distances and was able to carry her speed going longer. Her combined winning margin in her seven juvenile seasonal wins was an impressive 26 ¼ lengths. Not surprisingly, she earned an Eclipse Award for her outstanding season.
But Meadow Star was not a one-trick pony. She came back in her sophomore season to dazzle again, winning three graded stakes. Two of those were Grade 1 victories, including one of the all-time best races that ended in a photo finish that took more than six minutes to sort out the winner.

And not only was Meadow Star a Florida-bred, she was a Florida-bred top and bottom. The 1988 chestnut mare was by Florida-bred Meadowlake out of Florida-bred Inreality Star, by Florida-bred In Reality. Jamie Carrion, who owned Ocala-based The Oaks, bred not only Meadow Star but her sire Meadowlake as well. Graded stakes-winner Meadowlake, a 1983 chestnut horse by Hold Your Peace out of Suspicious Native, by Raise A Native, was standing at The Oaks when Meadow Star was conceived.

Carrion consigned Meadow Star through Robert E. Courtney to the 1989 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where she was bought for $90,000 by Carl Icahn’s Foxfield. Meadow Star raced for Icahn and was trained by LeRoy Jolley throughout her outstanding career.


Meadow Star signaled her extraordinary talent in her very first start. On June 13, 1990, she broke her maiden by five-and-a-quarter lengths at Belmont Park. Her winning time for the five furlongs was :58.80.

Jolley no doubt knew Meadow Star was indeed something special. Not only was her next race in stakes company, it was in graded-stakes company. On July 18 in the Grade 3 Astoria Breeders’ Cup, Meadow Star did not disappoint, winning by a length-and-a-quarter ahead of Sweet Sarita. Pay’n and Play’n was third. Winning time for the five-and-a-half furlongs was 1:04.20.

Only two weeks later, Jolley moved Meadow Star up one more notch in graded-stakes company. In the Grade 2 Schuylerville on Aug. 1 at Saratoga, she was more than up for the challenge. Meadow Star cruised to a three-length victory over Garden Gal with Prayerful Miss third. Meadow Star posted a 1:11.20 time for the six furlongs.

Jolley did not shy away from the next logical step, starting Meadow Star the Grade 1 Spinaway. Again Icahn’s runner responded magnificently, besting Garden Gal by two lengths with Good Potential third. Meadow Star stopped the clock in 1:10.20 for the six furlongs.

Meadow Star seemingly just got better and better, closing out her juvenile season with a trio of Grade 1 victories at Belmont Park. She won the Matron by six lengths on Sept. 16 in 1:22.80 for the seven furlongs. Then in a tour de force performance on Oct. 6, Meadow Star captured the Frizette by an eyebrow-raising 14 lengths in 1:35.40 for the mile distance.

After Meadow Star’s Frizette, Icahn announced that he was donating a majority of his filly’s earnings to the Children’s Rescue Fund. Billionaire financier Icahn established the charity to provide homes and scholarships for underprivileged children. Meadow Star added more money to the Children’s Rescue Fund in her next start, the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Oct. 27 at Belmont Park.

Meadow Star went off the 1-5 favorite in the 13-horse field, but it was Dance Smartly who took the early lead. With stablemate Wilderness Song just to her inside, Dance Smartly posted fractions of :22.60, :45.80 and 1:11. Jockey Jose Santos kept Meadow Star well off the rail down the backstretch before beginning a four-wide rally on the far turn. Dance Smartly, Wilderness Song and Lite Light were contesting the lead when Meadow Star surged past the trio. By midstretch, Meadow Star was now leading by two lengths and crossed the finish line a five-length winner. She posted a winning time of 1:44 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth.

Her Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies victory was the cherry on top of an undefeated season for Meadow Star. In seven wins in seven starts, she banked $992,250. Meadow Star was named the 1990 Florida-bred champion 2-year-old filly and nabbed an Eclipse Award in that same division.

It was a very good day for Florida-breds in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Championship races. In addition to Meadow Star’s Juvenile Fillies triumph, Florida-bred Unbridled, who had won the 1990 Kentucky Derby (G1), captured the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). And Florida-bred Itsallgreektome led in deep stretch of Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) before succumbing to the furious late run of winner Royal Academy. Unbridled collected an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old colt and Itsallgreektome garnered an Eclipse Award as champion turf male.


Meadow Star began her 1991 sophomore season in the same way she had closed out her juvenile year by winning. In the Queen of the Stage on March 16 at Aqueduct, Meadow Star was the best by four-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of fellow Florida-bred Nany’s Appeal. Christina Czarina was third. Winning time for the seven furlongs was 1:23.19.

A mere two weeks later on March 30, Meadow Star was wheeled back in the Grade 2 Comely at Aqueduct and rolled to win by a length-and-three-quarters ahead of Do It With Style and I’m a Thriller in third. Over a surface rated wet, Meadow Star stopped the clock in 1:38.02 for the mile.

In a head-scratcher move, Jolley next saddled Meadow Star in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Invitational on April 20 at Aqueduct. Running against the best 3-year-old colts in the country was too much to ask of Meadow Star as she suffered the first defeat of her career, finishing a distant fourth behind winning Florida-bred Cahill Road, a full brother to Unbridled. But gutsy competitor that she was, Meadow Star rebounded to post two of the most impressive wins of her career.

In the Grade 1 Acorn on May 25 at Belmont Park, Meadow Star rolled to a six-length win over Versailles Treaty with Dazzle Me Jolie nabbing third. Winning time for the mile was 1:37.42. Then only a little over two weeks later, Meadow Star would add to her legend with a gritty triumph in a race that instantly became a classic.

The 1991 Grade 1 Mother Goose was not lacking for publicity. Not only was Meadow Star in the race, but so was Lite Light. The latter, who had finished 12th to Meadow Star in the aforementioned Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, raced for rap star M.C. Hammer’s Oaktown Stable. Lite Light had developed into a multiple Grade 1 winner and came into the Mother Goose with Grade 1 wins in that season’s Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks at Santa Anita, in the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn Park and the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

Only two other fillies, Nalees Pin and Risen Colony, rounded out the four-horse Mother Goose field. The Belmont Park crowd was no doubt expecting a battle royale between Meadow Star and Lite Light, and the two stars did not disappoint.
When the gates opened, jockey Jerry Bailey immediately sent Meadow Star to the lead and she opened up a two-length lead in a pedestrian :49.48 for the half-mile. Jockey Corey Nakatani on Lite Light began his drive to challenge Meadow Star, going six-wide in the stretch. A big, rangy bay filly, Lite Light’s long stride began closing the gap, slowly but surely, as she caught up to Meadow Star in deep stretch. But the much-smaller Meadow Star, almost overshadowed by Lite Light, would not concede. For a moment, Lite Light seemed to get the advantage, but Meadow Star fought back on the inside. The two fillies hit the wire in tandem in a classic photo finish. Six minutes later, Meadow Star was the official winner by a sliver of a nose. Winning time for the nine furlongs was 1:48.92.

As for Nalees Pin and Risen Colony, they finished third and fourth, respectively, more than 15 lengths behind Meadow Star and Lite Light. The Daily Racing Form dubbed, and rightfully so, the 1991 Mother Goose as “The Mother of All Gooses.” It was also reported that Icahn won a $35,000 private bet with M. C. Hammer.


Unfortunately, Meadow Star’s magnificent gritty win in the Mother Goose took its toll and she was never the same. In a rematch with Lite Light in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 7 at Belmont Park, Meadow Star was second by seven lengths to her rival. Meadow Star closed out her sophomore season with four wins, including three graded, of which two were Grade 1, with one second, also in a Grade 1, with earnings of $414,700.

She was named the 1991 Florida-bred champion 3-year-old filly.

Their battles impacted both Meadow Star and Lite Light. Following the Coaching Club American Oaks, Meadow Star’s best finish was third in the 1992 Spinster Stakes (G1). Lite Light never won another race either, posting two thirds in graded-stakes company in the next two seasons. But thanks to YouTube.com, Meadow Star and Lite Light’s epic 1991 Mother Goose Stakes legacy lives on.

Meadow Star retired at the end of the 1992 season with 11 wins, one second and two thirds for career earnings of $1,445,740. She recorded victories nine graded stakes, six of them being Grade 1 victories.

As a broodmare, Meadow Star produced only five foals with four winners. Her best offspring was graded stakes placed-winner Grechelle, a 1995 filly by Deputy Minister. Grechelle produced Grade 3-winner Bubbler, by Distorted Humor, and stakes-winner Unbridled Femme, by Unbridled. Bubbler’s claim to fame is as the dam of the late Arrogate, who earned a 2016 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old colt, making Meadow Star is the third dam of Arrogate.

Meadow Star and the Fusaichi Pegasus colt she was carrying both died on April 11, 2002, from foaling complications at Hagyard Davidson McGee equine hospital near Lexington, Ky.