Tag Archives: Racing Hall of Fame

Lloyd Hughes, Clifford elected to Racing Hall of Fame

Lloyd Hughes

Lloyd Hughes

Lloyd Hughes, the first jockey to win the Preakness Stakes three times, and Clifford, an elite racehorse of the 1890s, have been elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame by the Museum’s Historic Review Committee.

Hughes and Clifford will be inducted along with contemporary selections Ashado, Curlin, Gary Jones and Alex Solis at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion Aug. 8. The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. It is open to the public and free to attend.

Hughes was born in Wales, United Kingdom, in 1857. He made his riding debut in the United States in 1872 at Monmouth Park and quickly rose to stardom by winning the Preakness Stakes in 1875, 1879 and 1880, becoming the first three-time winner of the event. He also won the Belmont Stakes (1878, 1880) and Travers Stakes (1878, 1880) twice each, the Jerome Handicap (1878, 1879, 1880) and Saratoga Stakes (1878, 1879, 1883) three times each and four consecutive runnings of the Dixie Handicap (1878, 1879, 1880, 1881), among others.

Some of the notable horses Hughes rode included Hall of Famer Duke of Magenta, the undefeated Sensation, Tom Ochiltree, Spinaway, Harold, Grenada, Crickmore, Danger, Monitor, Oriole, Blazes, Idler, Balance All, and Ferida. He rode for many of the top owners in the sport, including George Lorillard, Leonard Jerome, Milton Sanford, J. F. Chamberlain, J. E. Kelly and Maryland Gov. Oden Bowie.

Along with becoming the first rider to win the Preakness Stakes three times (only Hall of Famers Eddie Arcaro and Pat Day have won the Preakness more times), Hughes became the first jockey to win the Dixie Handicap four times (he remains the only one to win it four consecutive years), and the first to win the Jerome Handicap three consecutive years (Hall of Famers Angel Cordero, Jr. and Jerry Bailey are the other riders who have since accomplished the feat). Hughes also won the Alabama, Manhattan Handicap, Fordham Handicap (3), Monmouth Oaks (2), Flash (2), Long Island Derby, Falls City Handicap, Hunter Handicap, Juvenile (2), Nursery (2), Sequel, Kenner, Harding, Tennessee, Misses, Surf, West End (2), and Peyton Handicap (2), among others.

Hughes was described by the famous turf writer Walter Vosburgh as “one of the most successful jockeys in the great stakes races” and “the most expert rider of two-year-olds in America. Hughes has justly earned a reputation as a rider of two-year-olds second to no jockey in America. He is by long odds the quickest to get away with the flag and has not been inaptly termed ‘the lightning starter.’ But Hughes is almost as good a finisher as he is a starter; he is cool, shrewd, cunning and deliberate, and has excellent hands. His success in the great stake races has been enormous.” Hughes died in New York in 1925.

Clifford (Bramble—Duchess, by Kingfisher) was foaled in Tennessee at W. H. Jackson’s Belle Meade Stud in 1890. He raced from 1892 through 1897, compiling a record of 42-10-8 from 62 starts and purse earnings of $65,143.

Clifford was owned by Clifford Porter (who named him) and later Eugene Leigh and Robert L. Rose. He was trained by Charles H. Hughes, Leigh and Hall of Famer John W. Rogers. Clifford made his debut in September 1892 and won the only start he made that year as a 2-year-old. In his first start at age 3, Clifford was left at the post and finished out of the money. That race was notable because it was the only time in 24 starts that year — and one of only two times in his 62-race career — in which Clifford was out of the money. Clifford finished 18-1-4 in 24 starts as a 3-year-old, including 11 wins in a row (all during a five-week period at Hawthorne Park). He carried as much as 133 pounds during the win streak, which was snapped when he was forced to carry 140 pounds, giving the winner 36 pounds, when he finished third in the Austin Handicap.

Among Clifford’s wins as a 3-year-old were the Phoenix Handicap, Latonia Spring Prize, Melrose Handicap, Forest Handicap, and Special Sweepstakes. In the Special Sweepstakes, Clifford defeated the great mare Yo Tambien by eight lengths and Lamplighter, a top handicapper, by 11 lengths. It was Clifford’s 18th and final victory of the season.

At 4, Clifford went 10-4-1 in 16 starts. Early in the year, he defeated Yo Tambien again, this time in the Montgomery Stakes. Clifford then won four consecutive stakes: the Albany, Sea Foam, Flight, and Moet and Chandon. In the fall of 1894, Clifford defeated Hall of Famer Henry of Navarre in the Second Special at Gravesend. Henry of Navarre entered the race with 10 wins in a row, including the Belmont and Travers. Clifford won his first four races at age 5 and finished the year 7-2-1 in 10 starts. His wins that year included the Club Members’ Handicap, Kearney Stakes, Omnium Handicap, Oriental Handicap and another victory in the Second Special. At 6, Clifford won the Memorial Handicap and the Flight Stakes. As a 7-year-old in his final season during 1897, Clifford won the Long Island Handicap. He carried top weight in the race and defeated Hall of Famer Ben Brush, a 4-year-old at the time. That year, he also dead-heated with Hastings (the 1896 Belmont winner) in the Kearney Stakes.

Clifford pulled up sore after finishing third in the Omnium Handicap in September 1897 and was retired. He was purchased for $7,000 by John Sanford for stud duty and sent to Sanford’s Hurricana Farm in Amsterdam, N.Y., where he produced some nice horses, including Molly Brant, Hill Top, Kennyetto, Cliff Edge, Sea Cliff, and Blackford.

Clifford died at age 27 in 1917 at Hurricana Farm. In his 1970 book “The Great Ones,” Kent Hollingsworth compiled a list of retrospective champions based on extensive contemporary opinions and recognized Clifford as the co-champion 3-year-old male of 1893 and the co-champion handicap horse of 1894. The New York Times described Clifford as “one of the most brilliant performers the American turf has ever known.”

The Hall of Fame’s Historic Review Committee is comprised of chairman Edward L. Bowen and racing historians Michael Veitch, Al Carter, Jay Hovdey, Ken Grayson, Gary West, John von Stade, Jane Goldstein, Bill Mooney, Bill Nack, Steve Haskin, and Mary Simon. From an initial candidate pool featuring nominations by those in the racing industry, historians and members of the public, the Historic Review Committee selects a maximum of three finalists to be considered for election to the Hall of Fame. The candidates that become finalists are required to receive 75 percent approval from the Historic Review Committee to gain election to the Hall of Fame.


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Ashado, Curlin, Jones and Solis elected to Hall of Fame

Alex Solis (courtesy of The Blood-Horse)

Alex Solis (Blood-Horse photo)


Curlin (NYRA photo)

Gary Jones (Benoit photo)

ashado spinaway9

Ashado (NYRA photo)

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.

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Flatterer, oldest Hall of Fame horse, dead at 35


Flatterer, a four-time Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Steeplechase Horse and a 1994 Racing Hall of Fame inductee, was euthanized April 24 at owner Bill Pape’s My Way Farm in Pennsylvania.

Flatterer compiled a record of 24-8-5 from 52 career starts with earnings of $534,854. Bred in Pennsylvania by Pape and trained by Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard, Flatterer was a four-time winner of the Colonial Cup. In all, he won 13 steeplechase stakes, including the Iroquois, National Hunt Cup and Temple Gwathmey.

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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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Flatterer becomes oldest living Hall of Fame horse of all time

Flatterer surpassed Count Fleet on Monday to become the oldest living Hall of Fame member of all time.

Flatterer surpassed Count Fleet on Monday to become the oldest living Hall of Fame member of all time. (NYRA photo)

Flatterer, the dominant American steeplechaser of the 1980s, officially became the oldest Hall of Fame thoroughbred on Monday at 33 years and 265 days old, passing the former longevity standard of Triple Crown winner Count Fleet, who was 33 years and 264 days old when he died on Dec. 3, 1973.

Flatterer, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994, won 24 of 51 career starts, and at age 8 in 1987 became the frist steeplechase Triple Crown winner when he took home the Grand National, Temple Gwathmey, and Colonial Cup. Flatterer won the Colonial Cup four times and was a four-time Eclipse winner, as well as the 1987 Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase winner. He also set an American record when he carried 176 pounds in winning the 1986 National Hunt Cup.

Trained by Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard, Flatterer resides at owner Bill Pape’s My Way Farm in Pennsylvania. Flatterer will turn 34 on June 5.

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Hall of Fame class of 2012 inductee profile: John Velazquez

John Velazquez (NYRA photo)

By BRIEN BOUYEA, Communications Officer

One of the most accomplished and respected jockeys in the history of the sport, John Velazquez was still in the prime of his remarkable career when he was elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2012.

After attending jockey school in his native land of Puerto Rico, the 18-year-old Velazquez journeyed to the United States in March of 1990. His natural skill set caught the eye of Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero, Jr., who mentored the young Velazquez and later became his agent.

Velazquez steadily worked his way into the upper echelon of the competitive jockey colony in New York and began to assert himself as a star in the late 1990s. Velazquez won the first of his five Saratoga riding championships in 1998 and set a Spa record with 65 victories in 2004. He has won a total of 22 riding titles at New York tracks and topped the national standings in wins from 2001 through 2004.

The Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey in 2004 and 2005, Velazquez has always been at his best in the biggest races. He won a total of 50 Grade 1 races from 2006 through 2011, including the 2007 Belmont Stakes and the 2011 Kentucky Derby. His Belmont victory with Rags to Riches marked the first time in 102 years that a filly was victorious in the final leg of the Triple Crown.

Velazquez has won 11 Breeders’ Cup races and multiple runnings of the Alabama, Beldame, Champagne, Clark Handicap, Dwyer, Flower Bowl, Frizette, Hollywood Derby, King’s Bishop, Metropolitan Handicap, Mother Goose, Personal Ensign, Remsen, Test, Vosburgh, Whitney Handicap, and Sanford. He has also won single editions of the Travers, Florida Derby, Kentucky Oaks, Blue Grass, Louisiana Derby, Wood Memorial, and Woodward, among others. Velazquez has also shined on the international stage with a victory in the Dubai World Cup and two stakes wins at the 2009 Royal Ascot meet in England.

At the time of his election to the Hall of Fame, Velazquez had won more than 4,800 career races and ranked fourth all time in earnings with more than $265 million.

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Hall of Fame class of 2012 inductee profile: Anthony Hamilton

Anthony Hamilton aboard Pickpocket, 1893 (Keeneland Collection)

By BRIEN BOUYEA, Communications Officer

Anthony “The Black Demon” Hamilton was a natural in the irons. Born in Charleston, S.C., in 1866, Hamilton was a complete rider, possessing a rare balance of strength and finesse, and the innate ability of knowing when to be aggressive and when to be patient throughout the course of a race.

Hamilton’s first notable victory was in 1881 when he piloted Sligo to victory in the Phoenix Handicap. Throughout the next 15 years, Hamilton won many of the most prestigious races in America, including all three of the major New York handicaps — the Brooklyn (twice), Suburban, and Manhattan. Hamilton is the only black rider to win all three of New York’s major handicaps.

In 1890, Hamilton won the third edition of the Futurity with the champion Potomac. The race was the richest event to date on the American turf with a purse of $67,675. Hamilton enjoyed a remarkable year in 1890, leading all riders with a 31.2 win percentage. The following year, Hamilton increased his win percentage to a staggering 33.8 and had 154 victories, which ranked second in the national standings.

Hamilton’s success in the major American races of his era was phenomenal. His prominent victories included the 1887 American Derby, back-to-back editions of the Monmouth Oaks in 1889 and 1890, the inaugural Gazelle Handicap in 1887, as well as the 1890 Gazelle, the 1891 Lawrence Realization Stakes, the 1888 St. Louis Derby, the inaugural Toboggan Handicap in 1890, the Monmouth Handicap in 1889 and 1892, the 1886 Nursery Stakes, the 1892 Great Trial Stakes, and five runnings of the Twin City Handicap (1886, 1888, 1889, 1892, and 1894), among others.

Many of the top owners in the sport sought out the services of Hamilton. He rode in the colors of Pierre Lorillard, Billy Lakeland, Mike Dwyer, J.R. Keene, and the Belmont family. Hamilton’s most famous mounts included Hall of Famers Firenze and Salvator, and the retrospective champions Potomac and Lamplighter.

Following his outstanding career in America, Hamilton enjoyed considerable success riding overseas. He won the Metropolitan Stakes of Vienna and the Karoli Memorial in Budapest, as well as the Ruler Stakes, the first leg of the Polish Triple Crown. Hamilton briefly rode in Russia during 1904, but his career came to an end there when he was thrown from a horse.

Hamilton then moved to France, where he died in 1907. Racing historian Fred Burlew, the son of a Hall of Fame trainer, ranked Hamilton third on his list of the 10 greatest African-American jockeys of all time behind only Hall of Famers Isaac Murphy and Willie Simms.

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