Carl Hanford, trainer of five-time Horse of the Year Kelso; Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winning jockey Bill Boland; and Cougar II, a turf champion who was also adept on dirt, have been elected to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame. None of the 12 finalists in the contemporary racing categories qualified for induction by receiving at least 75% of the votes cast.Noting that changes made effective with the 2005 Hall vote to make it harder to get into the Hall apparently made it "too tough," Hall of Fame nominating committee chairman Ed Bowen said he hopes changes are made in the voting procedures before the 2007 vote takes place. Bowen said the Hall executive committee would conduct a survey among voters to gauge support for changes.Under the voting format, each of the 186 eligible voters can vote "yes" or "no" for any or all of the three nominees in each category. But 75% approval is required for induction."The results are perplexing," said Bowen, noting that 28 of the 175 voters cast ballots for only one in each of the categories. "It is such an unusual result we want to open it up."In the voting for contemporary jockey, the leader received 47.43% of the votes cast. The finalists were Eddie Maple, Craig Perret, and Alex Solis. From finalists Mel Stute, John Veitch, and Robert Wheeler, the leading trainer in the voting received 55.43% of the vote. The contemporary male leader was 67.43%; the contemporary female leader was 63.43. Finalists for contemporary male horse were Best Pal, Manila, and Silver Charm. Finalists in the contemporary female category were Inside Information, Silverbulletday, and Sky Beauty.Bowen would not say which horse or person received the highest percentage of votes in each category because it could prejudice future voting involving any of those on this year's ballot.Since the new system was put in place, Nick Zito has been the only contemporary person or horse elected to the Hall out of the 24 total on the ballots over two years.Boland, Hanford, and Cougar II, who was raced by Mary Jones Bradley, will be inducted into the Hall during a ceremony at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga on Aug. 7.Hanford, 90, was born and raised in Fairbury, Nebraska. He was a jockey for about five years in the 1930s before turning to training. He rode the winner of the first race run at Suffolk Downs in July 1934.In 1939, Hanford began his training career at Charles Town in West Virginia. After serving five years in the Army's Remount Division during World War II, he resumed training in 1945. Hanford operated a public stable until 1960 when he was hired to manage Allaire du Pont's stable. Kelso was the lone winner in the group of seven maiden fillies and two geldings.
The Kelso-Hanford partnership reached unprecedented heights, including the half-decade reign as the outstanding Thoroughbred in training.Kelso, considered by many observers as one of the top horses of the 20th Century, retired in 1966 after winning 39 of 63 starts. He won the prestigious Jockey Club Gold Cup, then run at two miles, five years in a row. His career earnings record of $1,977,896 stood until 1979 when it was broken by Affirmed. "I just can't see myself with guys like Ben Jones and Preston Burch, those type of trainers, but I guess when you're the Horse of the Year five years in a row, you might have to be considered," he said. "Charlie Whittingham and those guys had many good horses. I had a few stakes horses, but I never had anything else like Kelso, but I don't think any of them in the Hall of Fame had a Kelso either."
Hanford retired as a trainer in 1968 and began a second career as a racing official. He is retired and lives in Delaware. Boland, 72, was shocked when he was notified that he had been voted into the Hall of Fame. He said he did realize that he was no longer eligible for the contemporary categories, whose nominees are made public. However, his resume was being looked at by the Historic Review Committee, which does not list the nominees it is considering.
"I was the most surprised guy in the world," he said. "I read something in the paper that there were 10 or 15 jockey nominations, and my name wasn't on there, so it was a complete surprise. It's wonderful." Boland was a 16-year-old apprentice when he rode Middleground to victory for King Ranch in the 1950 Kentucky Derby. He was the second apprentice jockey to win the race, following Carl Hanford's brother, Ira, who rode Bold Venture to victory in 1936. Prior to Middleground's Derby victory, Boland won the Kentucky Oaks on Ari's Mona. Middleground, second in the Preakness after a rough trip, also won the 1950 Belmont Stakes carrying the apprentice rider from Corpus Christi, Texas. He also won another running of the Belmont, on Amberoid, in 1966. Before retiring as a jockey in 1969 to begin training, Boland won such important races as the Santa Anita Handicap, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Acorn, Man o' War, Metropolitan Handicap, Alabama, Whitney, Wood Memorial, Hawthorne Gold Cup and Hialeah Turf Cup. On Beau Purple, he defeated Kelso three times. During his career, Boland rode 1,980 winners from 16,639 mounts and had purse earnings of $14 million. Boland retired as a trainer in 1988 and spent 10 years as an official with the New York Racing Association. He is retired and lives in Florida. Bradley purchased the Chilean-bred Cougar II on the advice of her trainer, Hall of Fame member Charlie Whittingham. The son of Tale of Two Cities out of the Madara mare Cindy Lou, became the first foreign-bred millionaire in American racing history when he won the Century Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 5, 1973. He completed his career with an overall record of 20-7-17 in 50 starts and purse earnings of $1,162,725. In 38 starts over four seasons in the United States, he had a record of 15-7-11. "I'm very honored and thrilled and delighted," Bradley said. "I thought he was a wonderful, wonderful horse and I'm just so glad he's getting this recognition." During his turf championship season in 1972, Cougar II won the Century Handicap, the Californian, the Carlton F. Burke Handicap, and the Oak Tree Invitational and was second in the San Juan Capistrano. On dirt, he was second in the San Pasqual and Santa Anita Handicap and third in the San Antonio. He was a major winner over several years and his triumphs on dirt included the Santa Anita Handicap in 1973.