Five newcomers and five returning finalists comprise the National Museum of Racing’s 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. The first-time finalists are trainer Roger Attfield and Thoroughbreds Ashado, Ghostzapper, Housebuster, and Xtra Heat. They join jockeys Calvin Borel, Garrett Gomez, Alex Solis, and John Velazquez, and trainer Robert Wheeler, all of whom were finalists in 2011.
Hall of Fame voters may select as many candidates as they believe are worthy of induction. The four candidates with the highest vote totals will be elected.
The finalists were selected by the Hall of Fame’s 16-member nominating committee from a total of 82 candidates suggested throughout the year by turf journalists, Thoroughbred industry participants, and racing fans. To be eligible, trainers must have been active for 25 years and jockeys must have been active for 20 years. Thoroughbreds must have been retired for five years. All candidates must have been active within the past 25 years. A separate Historic Review Committee is assigned to consider candidates whose careers were completed more than 25 years ago.
The results of the voting on contemporary candidates will be announced April 23. The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Aug. 10 at 10:30 a.m. ET. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
Attfield has saddled the winner of 1,727 races, including 369 stakes, and has purse earnings of more than $88 million. He has won the Sovereign Award for outstanding Canadian trainer a record eight times and trained three Canadian Triple Crown winners (Izvestia, With Approval, and Peteski). Attfield has won a record-tying eight runnings of the Queen’s Plate (Can-I) and won his first Breeders’ Cup race in 2011 when Perfect Shirl took the Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).
Ashado won 12 of her 21 career starts with purse earnings of $3,931,440. She was named champion 3-year-old female in 2004 and champion older female in 2005. Trained by Todd Pletcher for Starlight Stable, Paul Saylor, and Johns Martin, Ashado won seven grade I stakes, including the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I).
Ghostzapper won nine of 11 career starts and earned $3,446,120. He was named Horse of the Year and champion older male in 2004 when he posted a 4-for-4 record. A homebred campaigned by Stronach Stables and trained by Bobby Frankel, Ghostzapper won the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) in stakes-record time. Among his additional victories were the Woodward Stakes, Vosburgh Stakes, and Metropolitan Handicap, all grade I.
Housebuster won 15 times in 22 starts and earned $1,229,696. He was named champion sprinter in 1990 and 1991. Trained by Warren A. Croll, Jr., for Robert P. Levy, Housebuster scored grade I victories in the Jerome Handicap, Carter Handicap,and Vosburgh Stakes. Eleven of his 15 wins were in graded stakes races.
Xtra Heat won 26 times and finished out of the money only twice in 35 career starts en route to earning $2,389,635. Owned by Classic Star Stable and trained by John Salzman Sr., Xtra Heat was named champion 3-year-old filly in 2001. She won 10 stakes races, including the grade 1 Prioress. Xtra Heat won six races in a row twice during her career and posted two victories in the grade II Barbara Fritchie Handicap and the grade III Endine Stakes.