The New England Turf Writers Association has elected its Hall of Fame class of 2009, which will be honored along with the 2008 NETWA award winners July 16 at the Danversport Yacht Club in Danvers, Mass.
The class consists of champion Seabiscuit, jockey Chris McCarron, trainer Edward “Ned” Allard, owner and breeder Gilbert Campbell, and reporter and handicapper Dave Wilson. The Hall of Fame was founded in 2005.
Seabiscuit was a regular on the New England racing circuit prior to becoming a national icon, having competed at Suffolk Downs and several other New England tracks. He made 22 total starts in New England, including 14 as a 2-year-old. Seabiscuit returned to New England in 1937 to win the Massachusetts Handicap with jockey Red Pollard.
McCarron retired in 2002 as one of the most decorated jockeys in history. His career purse earnings of over $264,000,000 were at the time the most ever posted by a rider, and he is one of just seven jockeys to have won more than 7,000 races. McCarron, who grew up in Dorchester, Mass., earned Eclipse Awards as top apprentice jockey in 1974 and as a journeyman in 1980. He won the MassCap, Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Preakness (gr. I) ,and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) each on two occasions, and captured five runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).
Allard began his training career in 1970 at Lincoln Downs and became one of the leading trainers in New England for the next two decades. Allard gained national attention in 1985, conditioning Eclipse Award-winning filly Mom’s Command for New England Racing Hall of Famer Peter Fuller. Since moving out of the region, Allard has continued to support New England racing, shipping his horses in on a regular basis. Over the course of his career, Allard has amassed approximately 2,600 wins, including 175 stakes, nearly half of which were at New England tracks.
Campbell, a prominent local real estate developer, bought an interest in his first horse, Shananie, whom he co-owned with Fuller. Shananie went on to become a stakes winner on both coasts, but enjoyed a lot of his early success at Suffolk Downs. Campbell also campaigned local stakes winners Von Groovey, Demetroula, and Unreal Madness, among others. Campbell remains a supporter of New England racing and has a string of horses with Allard.
The late Wilson was known as "The King" for good reason. For four decades as handicapper and reporter for the Boston Record American, he was the man the vast majority of horse players relied on to pick a winner for them and keep them updated on all the racing news. It could be said that Wilson sold more newspapers than any reporter the paper ever had. People would wait at the newsstands for the Record American “Green Sheet” to come out at 11:00 p.m. just to see which horses The King would pick in the next day's races.