Clifford, Jockey Hughes to Join Hall of Fame
Clifford, an elite racehorse of the 1890s, and Lloyd Hughes, the first jockey to win the Preakness Stakes three times, have been elected to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame by the Museum's Historic Review Committee.
Clifford and Hughes will be inducted along with contemporary selections Ashado, Curlin , Gary Jones, and Alex Solis at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion Aug. 8 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. EDT and is free and open to the public.
Clifford (Bramble—Duchess, by Kingfisher) was foaled in Tennessee at W. H. Jackson's Belle Meade Stud in 1890. He raced from 1892 through 1897, compiling a record of 42-10-8 from 62 starts and purse earnings of $65,143. The New York Times described Clifford as "one of the most brilliant performers the American turf has ever known."
Clifford was owned by Clifford Porter (who named him) and later Eugene Leigh and Robert L. Rose. He was trained by Charles H. Hughes, Leigh, and Hall of Famer John W. Rogers.
In his first start at age 3, Clifford was left at the post and finished out of the money. That race was notable because it was the only time in 24 starts that year—and one of only two times in his long career—in which Clifford was out of the money. Clifford finished 18-1-4 in 24 starts as a 3-year-old, including 11 wins in a row (all during a five-week period at Hawthorne Park). He carried as much as 133 pounds during the win streak, which was snapped when he was forced to carry 140, giving the winner 36 pounds, when he finished third in the Austin Handicap.
Among Clifford's wins as a 3-year-old were the Phoenix Handicap, Latonia Spring Prize, Melrose Handicap, Forest Handicap, and Special Sweepstakes. In the Special Sweepstakes, Clifford defeated the great mare Yo Tambien by eight lengths and Lamplighter, a top handicapper, by 11 lengths.
At 4, Clifford went 10-4-1 in 16 starts. Early in the year, he defeated Yo Tambien again, this time in the Montgomery Stakes. Clifford then won four consecutive stakes: the Albany, Sea Foam, Flight, and Moet and Chandon. In the fall of 1894, Clifford defeated Hall of Famer Henry of Navarre in the Second Special at Gravesend. Henry of Navarre entered the race with 10 wins in a row, including the Belmont and Travers.
Clifford also won his first four races at age 5 and finished the year 7-2-1 in 10 starts. His wins that year included the Club Members' Handicap, Kearney Stakes, Omnium Handicap, Oriental Handicap, and another victory in the Second Special. At 6, Clifford won the Memorial Handicap and the Flight Stakes. As a 7-year-old in his final season during 1897, Clifford won the Long Island Handicap. He carried top weight in the race and defeated Hall of Famer Ben Brush, a 4-year-old at the time. That year, he also dead-heated with Hastings (the 1896 Belmont winner) in the Kearney Stakes.
Clifford pulled up sore after finishing third in the Omnium Handicap in September 1897 and was retired. He was purchased for $7,000 by John Sanford for stud duty and sent to Sanford's Hurricana Farm in Amsterdam, N.Y., where he produced some nice horses, including Molly Brant, Hill Top, Kennyetto, Cliff Edge, Sea Cliff, and Blackford.
Clifford died at age 27 in 1917 at Hurricana Farm. In his 1970 book The Great Ones, the late Kent Hollingsworth, former editor of The Blood-Horse, compiled a list of retrospective champions based on extensive contemporary opinions and recognized Clifford as the co-champion 3-year-old male of 1893 and the co-champion handicap horse of 1894.
Hughes was born in Wales in 1857. He made his riding debut in the United States in 1872 at Monmouth Park and quickly rose to stardom by winning the Preakness Stakes in 1875, 1879 and 1880, becoming the first three-time winner of the event. He also won the Belmont Stakes (1878, 1880) and Travers Stakes (1878, 1880) twice each, the Jerome Handicap (1878, 1879, 1880) and Saratoga Stakes (1878, 1879, 1883) three times each, and four consecutive runnings of the Dixie Handicap (1878, 1879, 1880, 1881), among others.
Some of the notable horses Hughes rode included Hall of Famer Duke of Magenta, the undefeated Sensation, Tom Ochiltree, Spinaway, Harold, Grenada, Crickmore, Danger, Monitor, Oriole, Blazes, Idler, Balance All, and Ferida. He rode for many of the top owners in the sport including George Lorillard, Leonard Jerome, Milton Sanford, J. F. Chamberlain, J. E. Kelly, and Maryland Gov. Oden Bowie.
Hughes also won the Alabama, Manhattan Handicap, Fordham Handicap (three times), Monmouth Oaks (twice), Flash (twice), Long Island Derby, Falls City Handicap, Hunter Handicap, Juvenile (twice), Nursery (twice), Sequel, Kenner, Harding, Tennessee, Misses, Surf, West End (twice), and Peyton Handicap (twice), among others.
Hughes was described by the famous turf writer Walter Vosburgh as "one of the most successful jockeys in the great stakes races" and "the most expert rider of two-year-olds in America.
"Hughes has justly earned a reputation as a rider of two-year-olds second to no jockey in America," Vosburgh wrote. "He is by long odds the quickest to get away with the flag and has not been inaptly termed 'the lightning starter.' But Hughes is almost as good a finisher as he is a starter; he is cool, shrewd, cunning, and deliberate, and has excellent hands. His success in the great stake races has been enormous."
Hughes died in New York in 1925.
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