Finalists For Horseracing Hall of Fame Include 4 Horses, 4 Jockey’s and 2 Trainers
The ballot for induction into the 2016 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame has been narrowed down and includes 10 finalists. Among those on the ballot are four thoroughbreds, four jockeys and two trainers.
Horses nominated include two of racing’s most popular thoroughbreds in recent memory, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, along with English Channel and Kona Gold. Jockey’s include Ramon Dominguez, Victor Espinoza, Garret Gomez and Craig Perret. Trainers David Whiteley and the controversial Steve Asmussen make up other two finalists eligible for the Hall of Fame.
The finalists were selected by the Hall of Fame’s 16-member nominating committee from a total of 82 initial candidates suggested by turf journalists, thoroughbred industry participants and racing fans. To be eligible, trainers must have been licensed for 25 years and jockeys for 20 years. Thoroughbreds are required to be retired for five calendar years.
Asmussen was nominated in 2014 but had his nomination withdrawn by the Hall of Fame directors after PETA released results of an investigation into the trainers methods of medicating horses. PETA is appealing again to the president of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame to withdraw his nomination once again.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez rode from 1996-2013 before he suffered a career-ending head injury. The 20-year requirement was waived by the Hall of Fame’s executive committee.
Ramon Dominguez: Won 4,985 races while earning $191,620,277. He won the Eclipse Award for outstanding rider in 2010-12 and was the top North American rider in earnings in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He won 20 individual meet titles on the New York Racing Association circuit and had a record 68 wins at Saratoga in 2012. In 2004 he rode Preakness Stakes runner-up Scrappy T. Dominguez retired in 2013 due to injuries suffered in an accident at Aqueduct.
Victor Espinoza: He’s won 3,266 races with earnings of $186,231,530. He was the regular rider of American Pharoah, who, last spring, became the sport’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Espinoza has won a Triple Crown race four other times including twice in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with California Chrome and War Emblem.
Garrett Gomez: Rode from 1988-2013 and won 3,769 races and $205,224,899. He won the Eclipse Award winner in 2007 and 2008. Gomez totaled 13 Breeders’ Cup wins and won the Bill Shoemaker Award for top jockey at the Breeder’s Cup on four separate occasions.
Craig Perret: Rode from 1967-2005 and won 4,415 races with earnings of $113,837,299. He won the Eclipse Award in 1990 as the Outstanding Jockey. That same year he won the Kentucky Derby aboard Unbridled as part of 57 stakes victories that year.
Steve Asmussen: In 2014, had his name removed from a list of finalists due to PETA’s claims of animal abuse. Since being cleared, he is eligible again. Ranks second all-time in career wins (7,246 through March 8) and fourth in earnings ($237,473,515). The 50-year-old trainer’s highlights include two Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer designations, three Horse of the Year honors, twice with Curlin and once with Rachel Alexandra, and five Breeders’ Cup victories
David Whiteley: Trained champions Revidere, Waya and Just a Game and won 678 races during his 25- year career from 1970-1995. Won 45 graded stakes races and 62 overall stakes.
Rachel Alexandra: Named Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old filly in 2009. She beat the boys three times that season, in the Preakness, Haskell and Woodward at Saratoga while also dominating the Kentucky Oaks. Has a career record of 13 wins and five seconds in 19 career starts and earnings of $3,506,730.
Zenyatta: Named Horse of the Year in 2010 and won four Eclipse Awards during her career. Won 19 of 20 career starts, the only loss coming in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic. to Blame.
English Channel: Started 23 times in his career and won 13 races including six Grade 1 stakes while earning $5,319,028. He won his only start as a 2-year old at Saratoga in 2004. English Channel won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Grass Horse in 2006 and in 2007 for Outstanding Turf Horse.
Kona Gold: Had 30 starts in his career with 14 wins and seven seconds with career earnings of $2,293,384. The 2000 Horse of the Year runner-up won the Breeders’ Cup Spring and collected 10 graded stakes victories. He also won the Eclipse Award as Champion Sprinter in 2000.