Thirteen Finalists Named for Hall of Fame

Edited press release

Seven horses, three jockeys, and three trainers have been selected as the 2007 finalists for nomination to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.

The candidates are:

Contemporary female horses: Inside Information, Mom’s Command, Silverbulletday, and Sky Beauty.

Contemporary male horses: Best Pal, Manila, and Silver Charm.

Jockeys: Randy Romero, Jose Santos, and Alex Solis.

Trainers: Gary Jones, John Veitch, and Robert Wheeler.

To be eligible, trainers must be licensed and actively involved with Thoroughbreds for 25 years or have been retired for a minimum of five years; jockeys must be licensed for 20 years or have been retired for a minimum of five years; horses must be retired for five full calendar years.

In early April, the about 185 members of the Hall of Fame Voting Panel will receive a ballot and an information packet on each of the finalists. The voters will be asked to select one name in each category. The individual with the highest number of votes in each category will be inducted into the Hall of Fame Aug. 6 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. In the event of a tie in the number of votes received, more than one finalist would be inducted.

In 2005 and 2006, finalists were required to receive at least 75% of the votes cast to earn induction. In two years, that system resulted in only one inductee. The executive committee of the museum’s board of trustees voted in October to return to the longstanding policy of inducting the candidate who received the highest number of votes.

To assure that high standards are maintained, the current system requires that a candidate must have the support of a majority of the nominating committee in order to be included as a finalist.

All inductees--including those elected by the Historic Review Committee, which will meet in April--will be announced during a national teleconference May 29.

The 13 finalists were determined by a vote of the nominating committee, which considered 102 candidates. Edward Bowen is the chairman of the committee.

COMTEMPORARY FEMALE HORSES

In the final start of her career, Inside Information won 1995 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) by 13 lengths, a record that still stands, and completed her championship season with seven wins and one second in eight starts. She won 14 of 17 starts in her career and earned $1,641,806 in purse money.

Mom’s Command was voted the 3-year-old filly champion of 1985 after winning the New York Filly Triple Crown of the Acorn (gr. I), Mother Goose (gr. I) and Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), as well as the Alabama (gr. I) at Saratoga. She led throughout in all four of those races and the smallest winning margin was 2½ lengths. During her career, she won 11 of 16 starts and earned $902,972.

Silverbulletday was the champion 2-year-old filly of 1998 and the champion 3-year-old filly of 1999. She won 15 of 23 career starts and compiled purse earnings of $3,093,207. Her victories included the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Ashland (gr. I), Kentucky Oaks (gr. 1), Alabama, and Gazelle (gr. I).

Sky Beauty won the New York Filly Triple Crown and the Alabama in 1993 and was champion older filly or mare of 1994. She completed her career for Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens with 15 victories from 21 starts and earnings of $1,336,000.

CONTEMPORARY MALE HORSES

Best Pal, winner of 17 stakes from ages 2 through 7, earned more than $5.6 million. During his long career, he won most of the top races on the West Coast, including the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), and Pacific Classic (gr. I).

Manila was the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner and the male grass horse champion of 1986. The son of Lyphard won 12 of his 18 career races and earned $2,692,799. From July 1986 through August 1987 he won nine consecutive races.

Silver Charm, won the 1997 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) and was voted champion 3-year-old. He won the 1998 Dubai World Cup, defeating Swain by a nose. During his 24-race career, he won 12 times and earned $6,944,369.

JOCKEYS

During his 26-year career, which ended in 1999, Romero, 49, had 4,285 victories from 25,995 mounts, purse earnings of $75,123,094, and 122 graded stakes wins. He was the regular rider of the unbeaten champion Personal Ensign and champion Go for Wand. He won three Breeders’ Cup races.

Santos, 45, won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 2003 on Funny Cide, and won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on Lemon Drop Kid in 1999. He was America’s leading rider in earnings four years in succession during the 1980s and was the Eclipse Award-winning jockey in 1988. Santos, who is recovering from injuries suffered in a spill in February, was the regular rider of champions Manila and Meadow Star. He has seven Breeders’ Cup victories, including Volponi’s win in the Classic (gr. I) in 2002. Through the end of 2006, he had 4,083 victories from 25,928 mounts, purse earnings of $155,273,397, and 327 graded stakes wins.

Solis, 42, is a finalist for the second consecutive year. Through the end of 2006, he had 4,453 victories from 29,239 mounts, purse earnings of $205,978,226, and 272 graded stakes victories.  The California-based rider won the 1986 Preakness with Snow Chief and has won three Breeders’ Cup races. In 2006, he won the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on Brother Derek, the Swaps (gr. I) on Arson Squad, the Acorn on Bushfire, and the San Juan Capistrano (gr. IT) on T.H. Approval.

TRAINERS

Jones, 61, was in his late 20s when he moved from assistant to head trainer after his father, Farrell Jones, suffered a heart attack in 1974. The younger Jones quickly established his credentials on the Southern California circuit. By the time he retired at the age of 52 in 1996, Jones had 1,465 victories from 7,900 starts, earned $42,672,611 in purses and won 102 graded stakes. He trained the champion Turkoman. Among the other major stakes winners he trained were Best Pal, Stuka, Lakeway, Kostroma, and Quiet American.

Veitch, 61, is now the chief state steward in Kentucky. He developed Hall of Fame members Alydar and Davona Dale, and four champions--Davona Dale, Our Mims, Before Dawn, and Sunshine Forever--during a career that began in 1974. He also trained Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Proud Truth. Veitch won 410 races in North America from 2,340 starts.

Wheeler was a trainer in California until his death in 1992 at the age of 72. Two of his best-known stakes winners were C.V. Whitney’s home-bred Silver Spoon, the co-champion 3-year-old filly of 1959, and the filly Bug Brush, winner of six stakes in 1959. Silver Spoon defeated males in the 1959 Santa Anita Derby. Wheeler also trained the champion Track Robbery. In 1960, Wheeler won the Santa Anita Derby for a second consecutive year, saddling the Whitney colt Tompion.

The nominating committee has 16 members: Bowen, president of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and a trustee of the museum; W. Cothran Campbell, president of Dogwood Stable and a trustee of the museum; Steven Crist, chairman and publisher of Daily Racing Form; Jane Goldstein, retired director of publicity and communications at Santa Anita Park; Russ Harris, retired New York Daily News turf writer who continues to handicap for the newspaper; Jay Hovdey, executive columnist for Daily Racing Form; Neil Milbert, turf writer for the Chicago Tribune; Leverett Miller, owner of  T-Square Stud and a trustee of the museum; William Nack, retired senior writer at Sports Illustrated and a free-lance journalist; Ray Paulick, editor-in-chief of The Blood-Horse; Jay Privman, national correspondent for Daily Racing Form; Jennie Rees, turf writer and columnist for the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky; John Sparkman, bloodstock/sales editor for Thoroughbred Times; Clark Spencer, turf writer for the Miami Herald; Michael Veitch, turf writer and columnist for the Saratogian, New York breeding columnist for Daily Racing Form, and a trustee of the museum; and John von Stade, chairman of the National Museum of Racing’s board of trustees.

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