Jockey Romero, Three Horses to Hall of Fame

Jockey Romero, Three Horses to Hall of Fame
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Azeri, one of 3 horses elected into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. for 2010.
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Jockey Randy Romero and three horses--Azeri, Best Pal, and Point Given  —have been elected into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. for 2010.

The induction ceremony will take place Aug. 13 at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga.

Under a new voting format undertaken by the Hall of Fame committee this year, candidates were no longer segmented by category. Voters could vote for up to four of the horses and individuals listed on the ballot, and the four with the highest number of votes were elected. As a result of the new process, neither of the two trainers who were among the finalists—Gary Jones and Robert Wheeler—were elected.

Romero, 52, said he was gratified to finally get into the Hall of Fame in his eighth appearance on the ballot.

"This is a great honor and I am so happy," Romero said. "Dreams really do come true."

The rider, who receives dialysis treatments three times a week as a result of having a kidney removed in 2008, said he is working on a movie based on the book "Randy Romero’s Remarkable Ride," written by Bill Heller.

As the only jockey elected to the Hall this year, Romero will be inducted on the basis of a career in which he won 4,294 races from 26,091 from 1973-99. With a career win rate of 16%, Romero’s mounts earned more than $75.2 million. Included among his 122 graded stakes victories were Breeders’ Cup World Championship wins with top distaffers Go for Wand and the undefeated Personal Ensign. With 342 total stakes wins to his credit, Romero won titles at 10 tracks, including Belmont Park, Arlington Park, Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, and Fair Grounds.

Azeri, who was bred by the late Allen E. Paulson and raced for the Allen E. Paulson Living Trust, won 17 of 24 starts and was the all-time leading female earner at the time of her retirement with $4,079,820, which has since been eclipsed by Zenyatta. Trained for two seasons by Laura De Seroux and then by D. Wayne Lukas, the daughter of Jade Hunter was voted 2002 Horse of the Year and champion older female in 2002-04. Included among her dozen grade I victories were the 2002 Breeders’ Cup Distaff and three consecutive runnings of the Apple Blossom, from 2002-04.

A homebred racing for Mr. and Mrs. John C. Mabee’s Golden Eagle Farm, Best Pal was a durable campaigner who won 18 of 47 starts in seven years of competition while trained by Ian Jory, Gary Jones, and Richard Mandella. The gelded son of Habitony earned $5.6 million and is only one of four horses to win the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Charles H. Strub Stakes, all grade I. In addition, Best Pal won the 1991 Pacific Classic and finished second in Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).

Trained by Bob Baffert, Point Given raced for his breeder, The Thoroughbred Corporation, while winning nine of 13 starts and compiling earnings of $3.9 million. The son of Thunder Gulch was Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male in 2001 after winning the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Haskell Invitational, and Travers Stakes, all grade I, in succession. Point Given finished fifth in the 2001 Kentucky Derby.

 

Romero, Azeri, Best Pal and Point Given were elected in the contemporary category by the 182 members of the Hall of Fame’s voting panel. The Hall of Fame’s historic review committee will announce its selections on June 9.

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