Calder Race Course will induct four individuals into its Hall of Fame this year on Sunday, Sept. 3: Shocker T. (horse), Eddie Plesa, Jr. (trainer), Herb and Ione Elkins (owner/breeder), and Rosemary Homeister, Jr. (jockey). The Calder Hall of Fame committee made its selections early this year.Created in 1995, the Calder Hall of Fame honors those who are an important part of the history of the Thoroughbred racing facility in south Florida. Calder was first opened in 1971. A winner's circle ceremony will be held on Sunday, Sept. 3 to introduce this year's inductees.Following is a glimpse of each:Shocker T.
A versatile filly owned by Thomasina Caporella and trained by George Gianos, Shocker T. won stakes on both turf and dirt at ages three and four in 1985 and 1986. Her scorecard includes victories in the Office Queen Stakes, Sweet Tooth, Grassland, Coral Gables, and My Charmer handicaps at age three. At four, Shocker T. won the Black Helen at Hialeah, the Delaware Handicap, and the J.A. Morris Handicap at Saratoga.Eddie Plesa, Jr.
When Plesa was a youngster, his father, Eddie Plesa, Sr., was a leading jockey in Detroit and Cleveland. Plesa, Sr. became a trainer when his son was in his teens and involved him in the business. Beyond assisting his father in the early days of his career, Plesa, Jr. worked for Harbor View Farm, trainer Stan Hough and owner Fred Hooper. He has trained in New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Delaware and Florida. His stakes winners over the years have included J J's Dream, Miami Slick, My Nicole, Score A Birdie, Vaguely Double, Win Some Diamonds, Without Feathers, Valid Romeo, Donthelumbertrader, Tekken, Three Ring, Best of the Rest, One Last Trick, Miz United States, O'Rocky, Sara's Success, Sejm's Madness, Wander Mom, and Magic Mecke. Plesa, Jr. was the leading trainer at Tropical at Calder in 1994/95, surpassed his father on the Calder all-time winningest trainers list during the summer of 1997, tied with Luis Olivares for leading trainer honors for the 2002/03 Tropical meet, and was the leading trainer of the 2003/04 Tropical meet. He is currently the leading trainer of the 2006 Calder meet.Herb and Ione Elkins
The husband and wife team of Herbert and Ione Elkins has been in Thoroughbred racing since 1981 as owners and since 1986 as breeders and they have enjoyed success with a number of stakes winners over the years -- and mostly at Calder Race Course. Ravensmoor, Eloquack, Fortune Pending, Metrogrand, and Goldarama all raced to stakes victories with the Elkins' gray and purple-hearted silks. But the horse that usually comes to mind when speaking of the Elkins is Seacliff, their homebred who, in 1995, became the third of only five (to date) male horses to sweep the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder. More recently, the Elkins have campaigned popular multiple stakes winners Dream On Dream On and Castlebrook, the latter who, interestingly, won the Shocker T. Handicap in 2002. (Shocker T. is this year's equine inductee into the Calder Hall of Fame.) Throughout the years, the Elkins have teamed up with the Calder-based Bill Kaplan as their trainer of choice. Herb Elkins is a member of the board of directors of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.
Rosemary Homeister, Jr.
Rosemary Homeister, Jr., a winner of 1,726 races (953 of them at Calder), retired from Thoroughbred racing in November 2004, set off on a rewarding career as a real estate agent, and in June 2006, decided to return to horse racing. During her career as a jockey, Homeister, Jr. has been one of the top female riders in the country. She was the first and one of only two female riders to win the Eclipse Award as an apprentice, which she did in 1992. As an apprentice, she led the standings at Tropical at Calder during the 1992/93 season, and years later, was the leading jockey at Hialeah Park in 2001. That same year, she became the first woman to ride in the Clásico del Caribe at El Comandante Race Track in Puerto Rico, a race she won. In 2003, Homeister achieved the dream of every jockey - to have a mount in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). She counts the experience of riding Supah Blitz in the "Run for the Roses" as the best experience of her racing career. A fan favorite, Homeister, Jr. is the second female jockey to be inducted into the Calder Hall of Fame, following Mary Russ in 2003.