SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — 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 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 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 on April 23. The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Friday, Aug. 10 at 10:30 a.m. 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 and seven editions of the Canadian Breeders’ Stakes. He won his first Breeders’ Cup race in 2011 when Perfect Shirl took the Filly and Mare Turf.
Ashado (Saint Ballado-Goulash, by Mari’s Book) 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 Stakes, Schuylerville Stakes, and Demoiselle Stakes 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 the Beldame Stakes.
Ghostzapper (Awesome Again-Baby Zip, by Relaunch) won 9 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. Trained by Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel, Ghostzapper won the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic in stakes-record time, covering the 1¼-mile distance of the Classic in 1:59.02. That year, he also won the Woodward Stakes, Tom Fool Handicap, and Iselin Handicap. At 3, Ghostzapper won the Vosburgh Stakes. He closed out his career with a victory in the Metropolitan Handicap at age 5.
Housebuster (Mt. Livermore-Big Dreams, by Great Above) won 15 times in 22 starts and earned $1,229,696. He was named Champion Sprinter in 1990 and 1991. Trained by Hall of Famer Warren A. Croll, Jr., 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.
Xtra Heat (Dixieland Heat-Begin, by Hatchet Man) won 26 times and finished out of the money only twice in 35 career starts en route to earning $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 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.
Borel has won 4,932 races, including 278 stakes, and has earned more than $117 million in purses. 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, who has four Derby wins. Borel, one of only two riders with more than 1,000 wins at Churchill Downs (Hall of Famer Pat Day is the other), 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, and Stephen Foster. He also won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2010.
Gomez has won 3,569 races, including 530 stakes, and has earned more than $188 million in his career. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2007 and 2008 and led all North American riders in earnings from 2006 through 2009. He won a record 76 stakes races in 2007 and has 12 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, Stephen Foster, Kentucky Oaks, and Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Solis has won 4,921 races, including 618 stakes, and has earned more than $228 million. The recipient of the 1997 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, Solis has won three Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2003 Classic with Pleasantly Perfect. He has also won the Preakness and multiple editions of the Santa Anita Derby and Florida Derby. Other major victories for Solis include the Hollywood Derby, Malibu Stakes, Del Mar Futurity, Pacific Classic, Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Handicap, and Dubai World Cup.
Velazquez has won 4,771 races, including 733 stakes, and has earned more than $267 million. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2004 and 2005 and led all North American riders in earnings during those years. He led all New York jockeys in wins from 2001 through 2004 and set a record with 65 wins at Saratoga in 2004. Velazquez has won 22 riding titles at New York Racing Association tracks and has nine Breeders’ Cup wins. He posted 50 Grade 1 wins from 2006 through 2011. Velazquez won the Kentucky Derby in 2011 with Animal Kingdom and the Belmont Stakes in 2007 with Rags to Riches. His other major victories include the Travers, Alabama, Champagne, Sanford, Personal Ensign, Whitney, King’s Bishop, Hollywood Derby, and Kentucky Oaks.
Wheeler, whose career spanned from 1938 through 1992, won 1,336 races and trained for prominent owners such as C.V. Whitney, J. Rukin Jelks, Greentree Stable, and Nelson Bunker Hunt. He conditioned 56 stakes-winning horses, including 1982 Champion Older Female Track Robbery. The majority of his career predates the grading of races, but from 1976 on he won 18 of the 69 (26 percent) graded stakes his horses ran in and 44 of his 175 (25 percent) overall stakes attempts. In 1959 and 1960, Wheeler’s West Coast-based division included Tompion, winner of the Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass Stakes, and Malibu, and the distaff pair of Bug Brush and Silver Spoon. Bug Brush won six stakes at 4 and set a world record the day she beat males Hillsdale and Terrang in the San Antonio Stakes. Silver Spoon won 10 stakes in two years, including the trainer’s first of back-to-back wins in the Santa Anita Derby, in which she defeated Preakness winner Royal Orbit. He also sent out five winners of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship, which prior to the Breeders’ Cup era was one of the nation’s top races for 2-year-olds. From 1959 through 1969, Wheeler was on the leaders list of the top 30 North American trainers seven times in terms of earnings.