Six horses, four trainers and one jockey make up this year’s list of potential National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame inductees. The induction ceremony is a staple of the Saratoga horse racing season. This year’s event will be on Friday, Aug. 5, at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion near Saratoga Race Course.
Voters will soon consider the merits of each finalist for enshrinement this summer in Saratoga Springs.
Who are the horses?
- Beholder: Considered the first-ballot lock by many voters, Beholder won 11 Grade 1 races during her five-season career. She won three Breeders’ Cup races, including two renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Another of her biggest wins came in the 2015 Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic when she romped over a field of the best older males in California by more than eight lengths.
- Blind Luck: Blind Luck won 12 of 22 career starts and finished worse than third just once. Her career included six Grade 1 wins, earnings of nearly $3.3 million, and a tremendous, six-race rivalry with Havre de Grace. Speaking of that one …
- Havre de Grace: The 2011 Horse of the Year is another that beat male competition. She did so in that year’s Grade 1 Woodward Stakes and went on to run fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
- Kona Gold: A stalwart of America’s sprint division, Kona Gold was named Champion Sprinter in 2000. He lost just once that season and capped off the year with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs. In total, he won 14 races and nearly $2.3 million during a career that ended in 2003.
- Rags to Riches: Trained by 2021 Hall of Fame inductee Todd Pletcher, this filly did something not seen for more than 100 years. She won the 2007 Belmont Stakes over a field that included Hall of Famer Curlin, and became the first female to do so since Tanya in 1905. Her 3-year-old campaign also included an easy score in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.
- Tepin: A back-to-back Eclipse Award winner as America’s Champion Grass Mare, Tepin’s run in 2015 and 2016 included five Grade 1 wins in the US and a victory in the Group 1 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. She beat the boys several times, including in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.
Who are the trainers?
- Christophe Clement: Clement earned his 2,000th victory in 2020 and has been one of New York’s most prominent trainers. Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist and two-time Eclipse Award honoree Gio Ponti are among his most notable runners.
- Graham Motion: Motion emerged as one of the top turf trainers in the country in the mid-2000s. He then trained Better Talk Now to a career that included a win in the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Turf. He also saddled 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Shared Account.
- Doug O’Neill: O’Neill is one of only a handful of trainers to win the Kentucky Derby twice. He did so with I’ll Have Another in 2012 and Nyquist in 2016. His resume includes five Breeders’ Cup wins, and he was also the Hall of Famer Lava Man’s trainer.
- John Shirreffs: It’s easy to only remember Shirreffs as the trainer of Zenyatta, but he’s trained several other top runners. He won the 2005 Kentucky Derby with longshot Giacomo. His charges have also taken down the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby three times.
- Corey Nakatani: A winner of 3,909 races, Nakatani’s career includes 10 victories in Breeders’ Cup races. From 1995 to 2000, he strung together six consecutive years where his mounts earned more than $10 million. He also captured 10 single-meet riding titles on the ultra-competitive California circuit.
What happens now?
Ballots will be distributed to museum Hall of Fame voters in the coming weeks. The voters may cast ballots for as many options as they want. Each finalist receiving more than 50% of the vote will be honored with induction later this spring.