Velazquez surpasses $300 million in career earnings

John Velazquez (NYRA photo)

John Velazquez (NYRA photo)

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez became the first rider in North American history to surpass $300 million in career earnings this past weekend. Velazquez, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, has $300,432,663 in earnings in North American races and 5,112 wins.



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National Museum of Racing announces 2014 Hall of Fame finalists


Curlin at Saratoga Race Course (NYRA photo)

Four jockeys, four Thoroughbreds and two trainers comprise the 10 finalists on the National Museum of Racing’s 2014 Hall of Fame ballot, as selected by the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. The candidates are: jockeys Chris Antley, Garrett Gomez, Craig Perret and Alex Solis; Thoroughbreds Ashado, Curlin, Kona Gold and Xtra Heat; and trainers Steve Asmussen and Gary Jones.

Curlin, Kona Gold and Asmussen are finalists for the first time. Hall of Fame voters may select as many candidates as they believe are worthy of induction to the Hall of Fame. 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 84 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, while 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. The 20- and 25-year requirements for jockeys and trainers, respectively, may be waived, but a five-year waiting period is then observed before they become eligible. Candidates not active within the past 25 years are eligible through the Historic Review Committee.

The results of the voting on contemporary candidates will be announced on Friday, April 25. The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Friday, Aug. 8 at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Antley won 3,480 races and had purse earnings of $92,261,894 in a career that spanned from 1983 to 2000. He won 127 graded stakes races and 293 overall stakes. The leading North American rider by wins in 1985 with 469, Antley was a two-time Kentucky Derby winner, taking the Run for the Roses with Strike the Gold in 1991 and with Charismatic in 1999. He also won the Preakness with Charismatic.

Other major victories for Antley included the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Woodward, Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Derby, Alabama, Wood Memorial, Manhattan Handicap, Carter Handicap, Louisiana Derby, Blue Grass Stakes, Coaching Club American Oaks and Jerome Handicap, among others.

Gomez has won 3,769 races and has purse earnings of $205,224,899 in a career that began in 1988. He has won 318 graded stakes and 566 overall stakes. Gomez won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2007 and 2008 and led all North American riders in earnings each year from 2006 through 2009.

Gomez won a record 76 stakes races in 2007 and has 13 Breeders’ Cup wins to his credit, including the 2010 Classic with champion Blame. Among Gomez’s major victories are the Pacific Classic, Travers, Santa Anita Derby, Whitney Handicap, Stephen Foster, Kentucky Oaks and Jockey Club Gold Cup. He won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2011.

Perret won 4,415 races and had purse earnings of $113,837,299 in a career that spanned from 1967 through 2005. He was the leading apprentice jockey in earnings in 1967 and won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 1990. Perret won the Kentucky Derby with Unbridled in 1990 and the Belmont Stakes with Bet Twice in 1987.

Along with four Breeders’ Cup victories, Perret has also won the Haskell, Travers, Queen’s Plate, Florida Derby, Coaching Club American Oaks, Wood Memorial, Hopeful, Clark Handicap, Jerome, Withers and Carter, among others. He won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1988.

Solis has won 4,980 races and has purse earnings of $234,665,846 in a career that began in 1982. He has won 321 graded stakes and 633 overall stakes. Solis has won three Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2003 Classic with Pleasantly Perfect. He won the 1986 Preakness with Snow Chief. He ranks ninth all time in earnings and 30th in wins.

Major victories for Solis include the Santa Anita Derby, Florida Derby, Hollywood Derby, Malibu, Pacific Classic, Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Handicap, Dubai World Cup, Bing Crosby Handicap, Manhattan Handicap, Metropolitan Handicap, and Jockey Club Gold Cup, among others. He won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1997.

Ashado (Saint Ballado—Goulash, by Mari’s Book), bred in Kentucky and owned by Starlight Stables, Paul Saylor and Johns Martin, 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, Ashado won the Spinaway, Schuylerville and Demoiselle at 2. At 3, she won the Kentucky Oaks, Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Coaching Club American Oaks, Fair Grounds Oaks and Cotillion Handicap. In her final season, at age 4 in 2005, Ashado won the Go for Wand Handicap, Ogden Phipps Handicap and Beldame.

Curlin (Smart Strike—Sherriff’s Deputy, by Deputy Minister), bred in Kentucky and owned by Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables after a private sale early in his 3-year-old season, won 11 of 16 career starts and has the highest purse earnings in North American history at $10,501,800, surpassing the previous mark set by Cigar. Trained for the majority of his career by Steve Asmussen, Curlin won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Preakness, Arkansas Derby and Rebel at 3 in 2007 to be named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male. At 4, he was once again Horse of the Year and added Champion Older Male honors. Curlin won the Dubai World Cup, Stephen Foster, Woodward and his second Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2008. Overall, he won nine graded/group stakes, including seven Grade/Group 1s.

Kona Gold (Java Gold—Double Sunrise, by Slew o’ Gold), bred in Kentucky and owned in partnership by trainer Bruce Headley, Irwin and Andrew Molasky and Michael Singh’s High Tech Stable, won 14 of 30 career starts with earnings of $2,293,384. He won the Eclipse Award for Champion Sprinter and was runner-up for Horse of the Year in 2000 when he won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Ancient Title, Bing Crosby, Potrero Grande and Palos Verdes. In winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Kona Gold broke the Churchill Downs and Breeders’ Cup record for six furlongs with a time of 1:07.77. A five-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint participant, Kona Gold won the Bing Crosby and Potrero Grande again in 2001. He also had multiple victories in the El Conejo Handicap, including a Santa Anita track record in 1999. Kona Gold’s other major wins included the San Carlos Handicap and Los Angeles Handicap. Overall, he won 10 graded stakes, including two Grade 1s.

Xtra Heat (Dixieland Heat—Begin, by Hatchet Man) won 26 of 35 career starts and finished out of the money only twice with earnings of $2,389,635. 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 both the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap and the Grade 3 Endine Stakes. She also won the Vagrancy Handicap, Genuine Risk Handicap, Beaumont Stakes and Astarita Stakes.

Asmussen has won 6,703 races with  purse earnings of $214,030,552 in a career that began in 1986. He ranks second all time in wins and fifth in earnings. Asmussen won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer in 2008 and 2009 and has led all North American trainers in wins nine times and earnings three times. Asmussen has won 164 graded stakes and 752 overall stakes. In 2004, Asmussen won 555 races to surpass the single-year record of 496 that had been held by Jack Van Berg since 1976. Asmussen broke his own record in 2008 with 621 wins and topped it once again with 650 wins in 2009.

Asmussen trained Curlin to Horse of the Year honors in 2007 and 2008 and Rachel Alexandra to the Horse of the Year title in 2009. With Curlin, Asmussen won the Preakness, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Woodward, Stephen Foster, Arkansas Derby, Rebel and two editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He trained Rachel Alexandra to wins in the Preakness, Woodward, Haskell and Mother Goose. Asmussen has also trained champions Kodiak Kowboy and My Miss Aurelia. He has four Breeders’ Cup victories.

Jones won 1,465 races and had purse earnings of $52,672,611 in a career that spanned from 1975 to 1996. He won 102 graded stakes and 233 overall stakes. Jones trained 104 stakes-winning horses, including Turkoman, the 1986 Champion Older Male. Jones trained Turkoman to victories in the Marlboro Cup, Oaklawn Handicap and Widener Handicap. He conditioned Hall of Famer Best Pal to wins in the Santa Anita Handicap, Oaklawn Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup and Strub. Jones also trained Kostroma to a world turf record of 1:43 4/5 in the 1 1/8-mile Las Palmas Handicap.

Other major victories for Jones included the Mother Goose, Santa Barbara Handicap, Hollywood Oaks, Del Mar Futurity, Hollywood Futurity, Yellow Ribbon, Swaps, Apple Blossom Handicap, San Antonio Handicap, La Brea, San Felipe, Santa Anita Oaks, Hollywood Gold Cup, NYRA Mile, Milady Handicap, Fantasy, Californian and Norfolk, among others.

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Blood-Horse Q & A with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith

Mike Smith and Zenyatta (photo by Bill Mochon)

Mike Smith and Zenyatta                                                    (photo by Bill Mochon)


Check out this great Q & A with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith from The Blood-Horse


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1938 Pimlico Special: Seabiscuit’s landmark victory over War Admiral still resonates 75 years later

1938 Pimlico Special program

1938 Pimlico Special program

Today marks the 75th anniversary of one of the most important events in thoroughbred racing history. On Nov. 1, 1938, Seabiscuit defeated War Admiral in the Pimlico Special at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.

Seabiscuit was a 5-year-old at the time, while War Admiral was 4. A former claimer, Seabiscuit had lost his first 17 career starts before rising to stardom. War Admiral, meanwhile, won the Triple Crown in 1937 and was viewed by many as invincible.

Seabiscuit proved otherwise.

Both horses were eventually elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.

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The remarkable Mr. Morrissey


John Morrissey, founder of Saratoga Race Course


Of all the longshots that have achieved unlikely glory in the storied history of thoroughbred racing in the Spa City, perhaps there is no greater rags-to-riches odyssey than that of the founding father of Saratoga Race Course, the remarkable John Morrissey.

Morrissey was many things during his turbulent and triumphant life. In his early years, he was an illiterate street brawler, gang member, cargo thief, brothel bouncer, and low-level political enforcer. He eventually parlayed the power in his sledgehammer fists into riches and fame as the undefeated American heavyweight boxing champion.

Striving to become more than a bare-knuckle barbarian, the uneducated Morrissey taught himself to read and write. He then found success as the owner and operator of numerous gambling establishments in New York City. Finally, he became one of the most improbable politicians in American history, serving with distinction in both the United States Congress and the New York state Senate.

And somehow Morrissey also found the time to orchestrate the inaugural thoroughbred racing meet in Saratoga Springs at the age of 32, build one of the sport’s most iconic venues a year later, and preside over it with an iron first to make sure that his endeavor would thrive. With his fists, Morrissey became a legendary gladiator who was capable of bashing the skull of anyone who got in his way. With his ambition, intelligence, and entrepreneurial vision, he established a tradition of thoroughbred racing excellence that remains the standard of the sport almost 150 years later.

John Morrissey was born on Feb. 5, 1831, in Templemore, County Tipperary, Ireland. His family arrived in America three years later, seeking to escape the poverty and famine that ravaged Ireland. They settled in Troy, but life wasn’t much different than in Templemore. Morrissey’s father, Tim, worked odd jobs along the docks of the Hudson River for meager wages. While his father struggled to keep the family afloat financially, young John Morrissey was busy developing a reputation with the local authorities as a menace to society.

By the time he was 18, Morrissey stood six feet tall and weighed a chiseled 175 pounds, measurements that were uncommon for the time. He was an intimidating figure with a propensity for violence.

Morrissey decided to venture to California with hopes of making a fortune at the height of the gold rush in 1849. In his travels on the West Coast, Morrissey became a renowned gambler and set up several lucrative faro dens. He was skilled on the gaming tables and acquired a sizeable bankroll by bilking prospectors of their gold. Morrissey also won his professional boxing debut while in California, and began to believe he could defeat any fighter in the country, including the American champion, Yankee Sullivan.

Sullivan agreed to step into the ring with Old Smoke on Oct. 12, 1853. The fighters traveled to the tiny village of Boston Corners to determine American fistic supremacy. Morrissey and Sullivan engaged in a bloody battle for the ages. The 22-year-old Morrissey, a heavy betting favorite, was much bigger and stronger than the 40-year-old Sullivan.

As the rounds progressed, Morrissey’s incredible will and stamina began to turn the tide. In the 37th round, Morrissey seized control. He pummeled Sullivan with a dozen consecutive blows and was on the verge of finishing the champ off when a riot broke out among the drunken spectators at ringside. The referee awarded the fight — and the American championship — to Morrissey.

The top contender for Morrissey’s championship was 23-year-old John Camel Heenan, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound physical marvel who, like Morrissey, grew up on the streets of Troy. Morrissey and Heenan agreed to slug it out on Oct. 20, 1858, at Long Point, Canada, just across the border from Buffalo.

Knowing it would be his most challenging fight, Morrissey poured his heart and soul into his training. He was lauded by writers as being in the best physical condition of his life. Contemporary accounts said Morrissey was “a magnificent animal” and “one of the most splendid specimens of human development we have witnessed.”

The bigger and younger Heenan was a slight betting favorite and overpowered the 27-year-old Morrissey early in the contest. In fact, Heenan hit Morrissey with such force and frequency that one writer noted “Heenan would have knocked out any man in the United States — except Morrissey.”

Morrissey, however, weathered the storm and began to clobber Heenan. Morrissey grew stronger as the rounds progressed, while Heenan faded badly. Morrissey ended the encounter with a vicious knockout in the 11th round, inflicting so much damage that Heenan was crumpled up in the dirt completely motionless for several minutes. Morrissey retired from the ring after successfully defending his championship, leaving the sport at the peak of his physical skills.

After establishing a popular gaming house in Saratoga in 1861, Morrissey contemplated other ways to increase his wealth and stature even more, so he set up a four-day experimental thoroughbred meeting at the Saratoga Trotting Course in August 1863. The track was the site of Lady Suffolk’s famous victory over Moscow in Saratoga’s first official race, a harness event, in 1847.

Just one month before Morrissey’s inaugural Saratoga meeting, Union soldiers won two of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, respectively. To secure victory, the Union requisitioned every healthy horse it could find. Morrissey, meanwhile, somehow managed to convince several wealthy sportsmen to support racing at Saratoga. While war raged elsewhere, Morrissey rounded up 26 quality thoroughbreds to run at the old trotting grounds.

On what was described as a “shimmering summer day” by an old newspaper account, thousands of spectators witnessed a 3-year-old filly named Lizzie W. with a one-eyed jockey in the irons defeat a colt named Captain Moore in a series of one-mile heats in the first official thoroughbred race at Saratoga on Aug. 3, 1863.

As a result of Morrissey’s ambition and resolve, thoroughbred racing had arrived at Saratoga. There were only eight races in the four-day meeting that summer, but the foundation for future success was in place. John Morrissey had delivered another winner.

The first organized races at Saratoga were so successful that Morrissey enlisted three partners — sportsmen William Travers, Leonard Jerome, and William Hunter — and financed construction of a grand racecourse across the street from the original track. In 1864, Saratoga Race Course opened its gates for the first time. Morrissey described his new track as “the most classic racecourse in this country, located among the pines, beautiful to the eye and rejuvenating to the horse.”

The new track was a resounding success, but Morrissey didn’t sit back and rest on his laurels. He opened his Club House in 1870, a gambling palace in Congress Park that attracted individuals from all walks of life. The first floor was open to the public and offered faro and roulette, while the second floor was much more discriminating, accessible only to the rich and famous with deep pockets.

Morrissey’s “Elegant Hell,” as it was dubbed, attracted all sorts of characters, including presidents Chester A. Arthur and Rutherford B. Hayes, and future president Ulysses S. Grant, who was a celebrated former Civil War general at the time. Business tycoons such as Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt and John Rockefeller were also among Morrissey’s guests, as was a young writer named Samuel Clemens, who later became better known as Mark Twain.

Morrissey then set his sights on the political arena. Tammany Hall backed him in a successful run for the U.S. Congress in 1866. Although he was not known as a great orator, Morrissey was a charismatic and respected politician. On the rare occasions he didn’t get what he desired, Morrissey was known to revert to his strong-arm tactics to sway the opinions of those who opposed him politically. After two terms in Congress, he was elected to the New York state Senate in 1875 and re-elected in 1877.

Morrissey, however, became ill at the beginning of his second term in the state Senate and died of pneumonia on May 1, 1878, at the Adelphi Hotel. He was 47. Morrissey left behind a most interesting legacy. He was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996 and the John Morrissey Stakes for New York-breds is run in his honor each summer at the historic track he conceptualized and brought to prominence. The Club House, now known as the Canfield Casino, remains in Congress Park and is now the Saratoga Springs History Museum.

Although his origins were humble, what Morrissey accomplished in boxing, business, gambling, politics, and thoroughbred racing secured him a legacy as one of the most unique American figures of the 19th century.


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August Belmont II, Paul Mellon to be inducted into Hall of Fame

August Belmont II

August Belmont II

Esteemed sportsmen August Belmont II and Paul Mellon have been selected as the inaugural Pillars of the Turf inductees into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

Belmont II and Mellon will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with jockey Calvin Borel and the Thoroughbreds Housebuster, Invasor, Lure, McDynamo, and Tuscalee on Friday, Aug. 9. The ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion at 10:30 a.m. It is open to the public and free of charge.

Belmont II was born in 1853 and spent the first four years of his life at The Hague, where his father was serving as U.S. Minister to the Netherlands. He later graduated from Harvard and went into the family banking business before having a profound influence on racing.

Upon his father’s death in 1890, Belmont II became heavily involved with racing and took over August Belmont & Co., a New York City bank. He also served as chairman of the board of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and director of the National Park Bank.

Belmont II bought seven of his father’s mares at a dispersal auction and continued his father’s practice of raising horses at Nursery Stud in Kentucky. Belmont II bred more than 100 stakes winners, including seven champions: Man o’ War, Beldame, Rock View, Friar Rock, Hourless, Mad Hatter, and Chance Play. Belmont II sold his entire 1917 yearling crop, including Man o’ War, because of his involvement in World War I. At the age of 65, Belmont II served his country in Spain with the Quartermaster Corps, procuring supplies for the American forces.

Before and after his military service, Belmont II was deeply entwined in the workings of American racing. He was associated with William Collins Whitney in the revitalization of Saratoga in the early 1900s, and also served as chairman of both The Jockey Club and the New York Racing Commission. Belmont II was among the founding members of The Jockey Club, in 1894, and served as chairman from 1895 until his death in 1924. He was also a founding member of the National Steeplechase Association in 1895 and organized the Westchester Racing Association that same year.

In 1905, Belmont II opened Belmont Park on Long Island, N.Y. That year, the Belmont Stakes, inaugurated in 1867, and named in his father’s honor, was transferred from Morris Park to Belmont Park. Belmont II won the prestigious race in 1902 with Masterman, and in 1916 and 1917 with Friar Rock and Hourless, respectively.

Away from the track, Belmont II founded the Interborough Rapid Transit Company in 1902, helping finance the construction and operation of New York City’s first underground rapid transit line. He also spent much of his personal fortune on the construction of the Cape Cod Canal.

After his death in 1924, fellow members of The Jockey Club expressed their admiration for Belmont II: “He loved the horse as an animal and saw in racing an opportunity for raising the standard and improving the qualities of the thoroughbred, thus adding to the prosperity of the breeder and furnishing broader avenues for clean and honest sport.”

Time magazine said Belmont II “is credited with having saved thoroughbred racing when it was at its lowest ebb in the East.”

Mellon was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1907. After graduating from Yale in 1929, he went to work for Mellon Bank, which was founded by his grandfather, Thomas, and later passed to his father, Andrew, who served more than a decade as the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Mellon later joined the U.S. Army, serving in the Office of Strategic Services in Europe, where he earned four Bronze Stars.

Mellon began racing under the banner of Rokeby Stables in 1948. His horses won more than 1,000 stakes races and had total earnings in excess of $30 million. Mellon won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder in 1971 and 1986. Among his many exceptional runners, Mellon campaigned Hall of Fame members Arts and Letters and Fort Marcy. Other standouts included Kentucky Derby and Travers winner Sea Hero, Belmont winner Quadrangle, and champions Key to the Mint and Run the Gantlet.

Along with his success in America, Mellon had a prominent European division of horses, including champions Mill Reef, Glint of Gold, and Gold and Ivory. Virginia-bred Mill Reef won the Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, among other Group 1 events. Mellon is the only individual to win the Kentucky Derby, Epsom Derby, and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Mellon was a trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and one of only six individuals to be named an Exemplar of Racing by the Museum. He was inducted into the English Jockey Club Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. Mellon also served as vice chairman of The Jockey Club, director of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, and maintained key leadership and support roles with the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the National Steeplechase Association.

A noted philanthropist, Mellon donated many priceless works of his art collection to various museums, one of which, the Yale Center for Sporting Art, he also paid to have built. He donated and bequeathed millions of dollars to support equine research and Thoroughbred aftercare programs. He also received the Eclipse Award of Merit. Mellon died in 1999 at the age of 91.

Belmont and Mellon were selected as finalists by the Museum’s Pillars of the Turf Selection Committee and were required to receive 75 percent approval from the committee’s members to gain election.

In an effort to tell a more comprehensive history of Thoroughbred racing in America, the National Museum of Racing’s Executive Committee approved a motion to expand its Hall of Fame with a new category, Pillars of the Turf, beginning this year.

Joining the three original Hall of Fame categories — horses, jockeys, and trainers — the Pillars of the Turf category is designated honor individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Thoroughbred racing in a leadership or pioneering capacity at the highest national level. Candidates must be deemed to have represented the sport with indisputable standards of integrity and commitment through disciplines including, but not limited to, innovation, philanthropy, promotion and education, and breeding and ownership.

A committee of 12 industry experts and historians, under the guidance of Edward L. Bowen, comprise the Pillars of the Turf Selection Committee: Bowen, Christopher Dragone, Jane Goldstein, Ken Grayson, Jay Hovdey, G. Watts Humphrey, Bill Marshall, Bill Mooney, Mary Simon, D.G. Van Clief, Michael Veitch, and Gary West.

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National Museum of Racing announces 2013 Hall of Fame inductees


Calvin Borel (Brien Bouyea photo) 

Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel and the racehorses Housebuster, Invasor, Lure, McDynamo, and Tuscalee have been elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Borel, Housebuster, Invasor, and Lure were selected in the contemporary category, while McDynamo and Tuscalee were chosen by the Museum’s Steeplechase Review Committee. The electees will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday, Aug. 9 at 10:30 a.m. at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion.

Borel, 46, has won 5,012 races and has purse earnings of $120,859,986 in a career that began in 1983. He is the only jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times in a four-year span, accomplishing the feat with Street Sense (2007), Mine That Bird (2009), and Super Saver (2010). His three victories in the Run for the Roses are surpassed only by Hall of Famers Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack with five each, and Hall of Famer Bill Shoemaker with four.

One of only two riders with more than 1,000 wins at Churchill Downs (Hall of Famer Pat Day is the other), Borel won the Preakness, Woodward, Haskell, Mother Goose, and Kentucky Oaks with 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. Among Borel’s other major victories are the Travers, Alabama, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Sword Dancer, Florida Derby, and Stephen Foster. He also won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2010. Borel has won riding titles at Churchill Downs, Oaklawn Park, Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs, and Delta Downs, among others.

Housebuster (Mt. Livermore—Big Dreams, by Great Above) won 15 times in 22 career starts and earned $1,229,696. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Sprinter in 1990 and 1991. Bred in Kentucky by Blanche P. Levy and owned by her son, Robert P. Levy, Housebuster won the Jerome Handicap, King’s Bishop, Spectacular Bid, Swale, Hutcheson, Withers, Lafayette, and Derby Trial in 1990 at age 3 en route to an 8-for-10 campaign. A winner of eight consecutive races at one point in his career, Housebuster won the Carter Handicap, Forego Handicap, and Vosburgh Stakes at 4 in 1991. Eleven of his 15 wins were in graded stakes races. He was trained by Hall of Famer Warren A. Croll, Jr.

Invasor (Candy Stripes—Quendom, by Interprete), was bred in Argentina and won 11 of 12 career starts with earnings of $7,804,070. He was named Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male in 2006 when he won the Pimlico Special, Suburban Handicap, Whitney Handicap, and Breeders’ Cup Classic. At age 5 in 2007, Invasor won the Donn Handicap and Dubai World Cup. He was trained at ages 4 and 5 by Kiaran P. McLaughlin. Prior to that, Invasor won the Uruguayan Triple Crown in 2005 for trainer Anibal San Martin. Following the Uruguayan Triple Crown victories, Invasor was purchased by Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum to run for Shadwell Stable. Nine of his wins were in Grade/Group 1 events.

Lure (Danzig—Endear, by Alydar) won 14 of 25 career starts with earnings of $2,515,289. Bred and owned by Claiborne Farm (Seth Hancock, president), Lure won the Breeders’ Cup Mile in 1992 and 1993. He won nine graded stakes, including three Grade 1 events. Trained by Hall of Famer Claude R. McGaughey III, Lure set track records at 5 furlongs and 1 mile. He also won the Gotham, Kelso Handicap, Turf Classic, Dixie Handicap, Caesars International Handicap, Elkhorn, Fourstardave Handicap, Bernard Baruch Handicap, and Daryl’s Joy. 

McDynamo (Dynaformer—Rondonia, by Monteverdi (IRE)) won 17 of 34 career starts and retired as the all-time leading earner among steeplechase horses with $1,310,104. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Steeplechase Horse in 2003, 2005, and 2006. Owned by Michael J. Moran and trained by Sanna Hendriks, McDynamo won five consecutive runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Grand National (2003 through 2007), the final one at age 10, to become the oldest horse to win the race. McDynamo set course records in each of his first two Grand National victories. He also won the Colonial Cup three times, including a record performance in 2003. McDynamo’s victory in the 2006 Grand National allowed him to surpass Hall of Fame member Lonesome Glory’s career record for steeplechase earnings.

Tuscalee (Tuscany—Verna Lee, by British Buddy) won 39 of 89 career starts with career earnings of $130,917 while racing from 1963 through 1972. He remains the all-time leader in steeplechase victories with 37. Tuscalee also set the single-year record for steeplechase wins with 10 in 1966. Tuscalee’s 1966 campaign of 10-2-0 from 13 starts garnered him recognition as the Champion Steeplechase Horse by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations. Bred and owned by Alfred H. Smith, Sr., and trained by Joe Aitcheson, Sr., Tuscalee won four editions of the National Hunt Cup, including his final career victory at age 12 in 1972. Tuscalee also won the Georgetown Steeplechase Handicap and the Indian River Steeplechase twice each. Other notable victories included the Midsummer Hurdle, Clark Cup, and Manly Steeplechase Handicap.

The contemporary electees were chosen from a nationwide voting panel comprised of 179 racing writers, broadcasters, industry officials, and historians from a group of 10 finalists selected by the Museum’s Nominating Committee. The Museum’s Steeplechase Review Committee, which meets once every four years, requires 75 percent approval from its members for a candidate to gain election to the Hall of Fame. Following the changes made to the contemporary voting system in 2010 that eliminated a mandate of the top vote-getter in a particular category (i.e. jockey, trainer, male horse, and female horse) being elected to the Hall of Fame, the Steeplechase Committee received approval from the Museum’s Executive Committee to select a maximum of three candidates of their choosing without regard to whether or not the candidate is human or equine.

The Museum will announce as many as two inductees as inaugural selections to the Pillars of the Turf category for the Hall of Fame in May. Pillars of the Turf is a new Hall of Fame designation approved by the Museum’s Executive Committee to honor esteemed individuals who have made valuable contributions to the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

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