Jockey Alex Solis, trainer Gary Jones and champion racehorses Ashado and Curlin have been elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in the contemporary category. The electees will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday, Aug. 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion.
Solis, 50, who is closing in on 5,000 career victories (he has 4,986 through Thursday), ranks ninth all time in purse earnings with $234,981,821 and 30th in wins. In a career that began in 1982, Solis, a native of Panama City, Panama, has won 321 graded stakes and 633 overall stakes. He has won three Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2003 Classic with Pleasantly Perfect. Solis won the 1986 Preakness, as well as seven other graded stakes, with champion Snow Chief.
Major victories for Solis include multiple editions of the Santa Anita Derby, Florida Derby, Hollywood Derby, Norfolk, Hollywood Futurity, Santa Monica Handicap, Hollywood Turf Cup, Yellow Ribbon, Charles Whittingham Handicap, Eddie Read Handicap and Shoemaker Mile, among others. He has also won the Dubai World Cup, Pacific Classic, Santa Anita Handicap, Haskell Invitational, Secretariat, Manhattan Handicap, Jockey Club Gold Cup and Carter Handicap, among others.
The winner of 18 riding titles on the Southern California circuit, Solis won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1997. He won 11 stakes races with champion Kona Gold, including the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Other notable mounts for Solis include Criminal Type, Bertrando, Jewel Princess, Timber Country, The Wicked North, Pleasant Tap, Victory Gallop, Megahertz, Dare and Go, Brother Derek, After Market, Flat Out and Magical Fantasy.
Jones, 69, 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. A native of Long Beach, Calif., Jones trained 104 stakes-winning horses, including Turkoman, the 1986 Champion Older Male. Jones won 15 meet titles on the Southern California circuit, including four at Santa Anita, where he ranks sixth all time in wins (576) and seventh in stakes victories (72). He set a record with 47 wins at Santa Anita in 1976, surpassing the previous standard of 44 established by his father, Farrell Jones. At Hollywood Park, Jones ranks 13th all time in wins (463) and 10th in stakes victories (58). He also won 17 stakes at Del Mar, including the inaugural Pacific Classic with Hall of Famer Best Pal in 1991.
Jones guided Turkoman to victories in the Marlboro Cup, Widener Handicap and Oaklawn Handicap in his 1986 championship season. Jones twice won the signature handicap in California, the Santa Anita Handicap, with Best Pal and Stuka. Along with the Pacific Classic and Santa Anita Handicap, Jones trained Best Pal to wins in the Oaklawn Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, Swaps Stakes and Strub Stakes.
Jones trained Kostrama to a world turf record of 1:43 4/5 in the 1 1/8-mile Las Palmas Handicap at Santa Anita, sent out Time to Explode to equal a world record of 1:19 2/5 at Hollywood and conditioned Beautiful Glass to a five-furlong track mark of :55 4.5 at Hollywood. Other major victories for Jones include the Mother Goose, Santa Barbara Handicap, Hollywood Oaks, Del Mar Futurity, Hollywood Futurity, Yellow Ribbon, Apple Blossom Handicap, San Antonio Handicap, La Brea, San Felipe, Santa Anita Oaks, NYRA Mile, Milady Handicap, Fantasy, Californian and Norfolk, among others. Other notable horses trained by Jones include Quiet American, Wishing Well, Lakeway, By Land by Sea, Fali Time, Radar Ahead, Eleven Stitches and Lightning Mandate.
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 as a 2-year-old in 2003. She compiled a record of 4-1-1 and earnings of $610,800 in six starts that year. At 3, she won the Kentucky Oaks, Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Coaching Club American Oaks, Fair Grounds Oaks and Cotillion Handicap en route to a ledger of 5-2-1 and earnings of $2,259,640 in eight starts that year. In her final season, at age 4 in 2005, Ashado won the Go for Wand Handicap, Ogden Phipps Handicap and Beldame. She finished 3-1-1 with earnings of $1,061,000 in seven starts that year.
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 Hall of Fame member Cigar.
Curlin, who was trained for the majority of his career by Steve Asmussen, did not race as a 2-year-old. As a 3-year-old in 2007, Curlin won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Preakness, Arkansas Derby and Rebel to be named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male. He finished 6-1-2 with earnings of $5,102,800 from nine starts that year. At 4, Curlin was once again Horse of the Year and added Champion Older Male honors. He won the Dubai World Cup, Stephen Foster, Woodward and his second Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2008, compiling a mark of 5-1-0 and earnings of $5,399,000 in seven starts. Overall, he won nine graded/group stakes, including seven Grade/Group 1s.
The contemporary electees were chosen from a nationwide voting panel comprised of 185 racing writers, broadcasters, industry officials and historians from a group of nine finalists selected by the Hall of Fame’s Nominating Committee.
Results of the Hall of Fame’s Historic Review process, which examines candidates who have not been active within the past 25 years, will be announced in May. Results of the Pillars of the Turf election process, which honors individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Thoroughbred racing in a leadership or pioneering capacity at the highest national level, will be announced in June.