Unable to travel to Saratoga Springs for the national Hall of Fame induction ceremony Aug. 4, retired jockey Ismael “Milo” Valenzuela will receive his commemorative jacket and plaque on Sunday in a special induction ceremony at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame president Stella F. Thayer approved a request to induct Valenzuela near his home in Arcadia. It is the first time since the National Museum of Racing trustees formed the Hall of Fame in 1955 that an induction has taken place outside of Saratoga Springs.
The Hall of Fame’s Historic Review Committee elected the 73-year-old Valenzuela for enshrinement in March. He was the regular rider of the legendary Kelso, and in 1958 and in 1968 won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
Santa Anita president Ron Charles and Sherwood Chillingworth, executive vice president of the Oak Tree Racing Association, supported the plan to stage an event to honor Valenzuela. Santa Anita is hosting the reception from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Chandelier Room in the Turf Club. Mike Willman, Santa Anita’s director of publicity, will be the master of ceremonies.
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame trustee Beverly Lewis will present Valenzuela with his jacket and plaque. Also scheduled to take part in the ceremony are Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. and Jay Hovdey, the executive columnist of Daily Racing Form and a member of the Hall of Fame’s nominating and historic review committees. A video of Valenzuela’s career highlights produced by Amy Zimmerman, HRTV’s senior director of broadcasting, will be shown.
Valenzuela was born in McNary, Texas, on Dec. 24, 1934. He rode from 1951 through 1980, winning 2,545 races and earning purse money of $20,122,760. With Kelso, he won 22 of 35 races, including 19 stakes.
View HRTV's Inside Information Video feature on Milo Valenzuela