(Edited from track report)
Five weeks before his 70th birthday, Laurel-based trainer Buddy Delp prepares for one of the biggest days in his legendary career. On August 5, he will be inducted into Thoroughbred Racing's Hall of Fame at Saratoga Springs, New York.
"I've got to keep pinching myself; it's a great honor," said Delp Wednesday, after saddling Favorite One to victory in the first race.
Delp is best known for conditioning Spectacular Bid, a three-time champion, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 1979. A year later, Delp guided him through an undefeated campaign, winning all nine races en route to Horse of the Year honors. Delp earned the Eclipse Award as top trainer.
Delp has seven Pimlico training titles to his credit in a career that began in a victory with Our Rocky at Laurel Park in the fall of 1962. He has won training titles at Delaware Park, Monmouth Park, Arlington Park and Hawthorne, and has nearly 3,600 victories with earnings exceeding $37 million.
"I was told by some members of the media over the years that I needed another good horse. I thought I had a lot of good horses," added Delp, who has won stakes with 68 different horses. "To be considered for nomination was an honor, but to be elected is overwhelming. I'm looking forward to the entire weekend."
Maryland-bred Cigar, Horse of the Year in 1995 and 1996, will also be inducted to the Hall. Bill Mott, Cigar's trainer, is throwing a party for Delp and the Cigar connections on Saturday night.