National Museum of Racing announces 2022 Hall of Fame finalists
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Six racehorses, four trainers, and one jockey account for the 11 finalists that will comprise the National Museum of Racing’s 2022 Hall of Fame ballot, as chosen by the Museum’s Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. The finalists are racehorses Beholder (first year of eligibility), Blind Luck, Havre de Grace, Kona Gold, Rags to Riches, and Tepin (first year of eligibility); trainers Christophe Clement, Graham Motion, Doug O’Neill, and John Shirreffs; and jockey Corey Nakatani.
Hall of Fame voters may select as many or as few candidates as they believe are worthy of induction to the Hall of Fame. All candidates that receive 50 percent plus one vote (majority approval) from the voting panel will be elected to the Hall of Fame. All of the finalists were required to receive support from two-thirds of the 15-member Nominating Committee to qualify for the ballot.
Ballots will be mailed to the Hall of Fame voting panel this week. The results of the voting on the contemporary candidates will be announced on Wednesday, May 11. That announcement will also include this year’s selections by the Museum’s Historic Review and Pillars of the Turf committees. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Friday, Aug. 5, at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony is open to the public and free to attend.
To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, trainers must be licensed for 25 years, while jockeys must be licensed for 20 years. Thoroughbreds are required to be retired for five calendar 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 at the discretion of the Museum’s Executive Committee. Candidates not active within the past 25 years are eligible through the Historic Review process.
A bay filly bred in Kentucky by Clarkland Farm, Beholder (Henny Hughes—Leslie’s Lady, by Tricky Creek) won four Eclipse Awards during her career and is one of only two horses to win three Breeders’ Cup races (along with Hall of Famer Goldikova). Campaigned by Spendthrift Farm and trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, Beholder won Eclipse Awards for Champion Filly as a 2-year-old in 2012 and at age 3 the following year. She was named Champion Older Dirt Female in both 2015 and 2016. Beholder won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) in 2012 and the Distaff (G1) in both 2013 and 2016. She won a total of 13 graded stakes, including 11 Grade 1s. In 2015, she defeated males in the Pacific Classic (G1) to become the first filly or mare to win that race. Beholder defeated champion Songbird by a nose in a thrilling edition of the Distaff (G1) in 2016 to conclude her career with a record of 18-6-0 from 26 starts and earnings of $6,156,000. She won Grade 1 races each year from ages 2 through 6.
A chestnut filly bred in Kentucky by Fairlawn Farm, Blind Luck (Pollard’s Vision—Lucky One, by Best of Luck) won the Eclipse Award for Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in 2010. A multiple Grade 1 winner at ages 2 and 3, Blind Luck was also a Grade 1 winner at 4. Trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer and owned by Hollendorfer in partnership with Mark DeDomenico LLC, John Carver, and Peter Abruzzo, Blind Luck posted a career record of 12-7-2 from 22 starts and earnings of $3,279,520 from 2009 through 2011. She won a total of 10 graded stakes in her career, including six Grade 1s: the Kentucky Oaks, Oak Leaf Stakes, Hollywood Starlet Stakes, Las Virgenes Stakes, Alabama Stakes, and Vanity Handicap. Throughout her career, Blind Luck defeated the likes of Havre de Grace (three times), Life At Ten, Unrivaled Belle, Evening Jewel, Devil May Care, and Switch.
A bay filly bred in Kentucky by Nancy S. Dillman, Havre de Grace (Saint Liam—Easter Brunette, by Carson City) won the Eclipse Awards for Horse of the Year and Champion Older Female in 2011. Trained by Anthony Dutrow at ages 2 and 3 and by Larry Jones thereafter, Havre de Grace was campaigned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms throughout her career. After finishing second to champion Blind Luck in thrilling editions of the Delaware Oaks (G2) and Alabama (G1) in 2010, Havre de Grace earned her first graded stakes victory later that year in the Cotillion (G2). In her 2011 Horse of the Year campaign, she beat Blind Luck in the Azeri (G3) and went on to win Grade 1s in the Apple Blossom, Woodward (defeating males, including Flat Out), and Beldame (defeating Hall of Famer Royal Delta). Havre de Grace made one start as a 5-year-old in 2012, winning the listed New Orleans Ladies’ Stakes before being retired with a career record of 9-4-2 from 16 starts and earnings of $2,586,175.
A bay gelding bred in Kentucky by Carlos Perez, Kona Gold (Java Gold—Double Sunrise, by Slew o’ Gold) won the Eclipse Award for Champion Sprinter in 2000, when he set a six-furlong track record at Churchill Downs in his Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) victory. Campaigned by Bruce Headley (who also served as his trainer), Irwin and Andrew Molasky, Michael Singh, et al, Kona Gold raced from 1998 through 2003 with a record of 14-7-2 from 30 starts and earnings of $2,293,384. He set a track record for 5½ furlongs at Santa Anita and won a total of 10 graded stakes, including the Grade 1 San Carlos Handicap, all while ridden by Hall of Famer Alex Solis. Kona Gold won multiple editions of the Bing Crosby Handicap (G2), Potrero Grande Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2), and El Conejo Handicap (once as a G3). He registered Beyer Speed Figures of 110 or higher 17 times. On 10 occasions, his Beyer Figure was 115 or higher, including a career-best of 123. Kona Gold made five consecutive appearances in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
A chestnut filly bred in Kentucky by Skara Glen Stables, Rags to Riches (A.P. Indy—Better Than Honour, by Deputy Minister) won the Eclipse Award for Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in 2007, a campaign highlighted by an historic victory in the Belmont Stakes (G1). Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher and Michael McCarthy for owners Michael B. Tabor and Derrick Smith, Rags to Riches broke her maiden in her second career start on Jan. 7, 2007, at Santa Anita. That six-length victory was the beginning of a five-race win streak. The next four wins were all Grade 1s: the Las Virgenes Stakes and Santa Anita Oaks (by 5½ lengths) in California, the Kentucky Oaks (by 4¼ lengths), and the Belmont in New York. In the Belmont, Rags to Riches defeated two-time Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Curlin by a head to become the first filly in 102 years to win the third jewel of the Triple Crown. Rags to Riches remains one of only three fillies to win the Belmont. She finished second in her next race, the Grade 1 Gazelle, and a right front leg injury was discovered after the race. A 4-year-old campaign was being planned for Rags to Riches, but she re-injured her right front pastern and was retired with a record of 5-1-0 from seven starts and earnings of $1,342,528.
A bay filly bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall, Tepin (Bernstein—Life Happened, by Stravinsky) won the Eclipse Award for Champion Female Turf Horse in both 2015 and 2016. She won the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) to cap off her 2015 season. That year, Tepin began an eight-race win streak (all in graded or group races) that included three wins vs. males in three different countries (United States, Canada, and England) that stretched into 2016. During the streak, Tepin became the first horse based outside of Europe to win the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and set a stakes record in the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland. Trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse for owner Robert Masterson, Tepin won a total of 11 graded/group stakes, including six Grade/Group 1s. Overall, she posted a record of 13-5-1 from 23 starts and earned $4,437,918.
Clement, 56, has won 2,212 races to date with purse earnings of more than $149 million (11th all time) in a career that began in 1991. Clement trained three-time Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti, winner of four straight Grade 1s on the turf in 2009, as well as 2014 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Tonalist, who also won consecutive runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) in 2014 and 2015. Clement has won 256 graded stakes, including multiple editions Grade 1 races such as the Beverly D., Del Mar Oaks, Diana, Manhattan, Man o’ War, Shadwell Turf Mile, and Sword Dancer, among others.
A native of Paris, France, Clement began his career in the United States by winning with the first horse he saddled, Spectaculaire, on Oct. 20, 1991, at Belmont. He has since trained 19 horses that have earned $1 million or more. Other Grade 1 winners trained by Clement include Discreet Marq, Forbidden Apple, Mauralanka, Relaxed Gesture, Rutherienne, Voodoo Dancer, and Winchester, among others. Clement won his first Breeders’ Cup race in 2021 when Pizza Bianca captured the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
Motion, 57, who is making his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot, has won 2,568 races to date with purse earnings of more than $136 million (15th all time) in a career that began in 1993. He won the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Dubai World Cup (G1) with champion Animal Kingdom, trained two-time Eclipse Award winner Main Sequence, and has won four Breeders’ Cup races. His first Breeders’ Cup victory took place in the 2004 Turf (G1) with 10-time stakes winner Better Talk Now at odds of 28-1. Motion won the 2010 Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at odds of 46-1 with Shared Account, was victorious in the Turf (G1) for a second time four years later with Main Sequence, and won his fourth Breeders’ Cup race with Sharing in the 2019 Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at 14-1 odds.
A native of Cambridge, England, Motion has won 181 graded stakes, including multiple editions at the Grade 1 level of the Manhattan Handicap, Matriarch Stakes, Sword Dancer, and United Nations. His Grade 1 wins also include the Alcibiades, Del Mar Oaks, Frank E. Kilroe Mile, Hollywood Turf Cup, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Man o’ War, Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, Rodeo Drive, Spinster, Whitney, and Wood Memorial, among others. Since 2000, Motion has ranked in the top 15 among North American trainers in earnings 10 times. He has trained 11 horses that have earned $1 million or more, including Miss Temple City, who defeated males in both the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and Maker’s 46 Mile (G1). Motion has won training titles at Keeneland and Pimlico and ranks fourth all time with 34 stakes wins at Keeneland.
O’Neill, 53, has won 2,648 races to date with purse earnings of more than $146 million (13th all time) in a career that began in 1988. He won the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) in 2012 with I’ll Have Another and a second Derby in 2016 with Nyquist. O’Neill has trained five Eclipse Award winners — I’ll Have Another, Maryfield, Nyquist, Stevie Wonderboy, and Thor’s Echo — and has won five Breeders’ Cup races.
A native of Dearborn, Mich., O’Neill won nine graded stakes with Hall of Fame member Lava Man, including three editions of the Hollywood Gold Cup, two runnings of the Santa Anita Handicap, and one each in the Pacific Classic and Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap, all Grade 1 events. O’Neill has won five training titles at Del Mar, where in 2015 he became the first trainer to win five races on a card there. He has also won four training titles at Santa Anita, including a record 56-win meet in the winter of 2006-2007, and ranks third all time there with 971 wins. O’Neill is also fifth all time with 417 wins at Del Mar. He has trained 12 horses that have earned $1 million or more. O’Neill has multiple victories in Grade 1 races such as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Alcibiades, FrontRunner (now the American Pharoah), Santa Anita Derby, and Triple Bend, among others. Other Grade 1 or Group 1 wins include the Breeders’ Futurity, Del Mar Futurity, Del Mar Oaks, Donn Handicap, Florida Derby, Godolphin Mile, Hopeful, Japan Cup Dirt, Pennsylvania Derby, Secretariat, Stephen Foster, and Vosburgh. Overall, O’Neill has won 134 graded stakes.
Shirreffs, 76, has won 550 races, including 102 graded events, with purse earnings of $51.9 million. Although he had a few starters as early as 1978, Shirreffs did not start training full time until 1994. Best known as the conditioner of Hall of Famer Zenyatta, Shirreffs conditioned the four-time Eclipse Award winner to 19 consecutive victories, including 13 Grade 1s, from 2007 through 2010. Named Horse of the Year in 2010 and Champion Older Female each year from 2008 through 2010, Zenyatta’s Grade 1 wins included the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (now known as the Distaff) in 2008 and the Classic the following year. In 2009, Shirreffs also won the Ladies’ Classic with Life Is Sweet, becoming the first trainer to win both Classics in the same year. Shirreffs won the 2005 Kentucky Derby (G1) with Giacomo at odds of 50-1.
A native of Leavenworth, Kan., Shirreffs, at the Grade 1 level, has won five editions of both the Santa Margarita and Vanity handicaps; three runnings of both the Lady’s Secret and Santa Anita Derby; and two renewals of the American Oaks, Apple Blossom, Clement L. Hirsch, and Santa Maria. Shirreffs has trained seven horses that have earned more than $1 million: Zenyatta, Giacomo, Tiago, Life Is Sweet, Manistique, Hollywood Story, and Gormley.
Nakatani, 51, won 3,909 races with purse earnings of $234,554,534 million in a career that spanned from 1988 to 2018. He ranks 13th all time in career earnings and won 341 graded stakes. Nakatani won 10 Breeders’ Cup races (one of only 10 riders to do so), including four editions of the Sprint (G1). He won three riding titles at Del Mar, two at Santa Anita, and one at Hollywood Park, as well as four Oak Tree meetings. His major victories at the Grade 1 level included multiple editions of the Beverly D., Del Mar Oaks, Eddie Read, Hollywood Derby, Hollywood Gold Cup, Hollywood Starlet, Kentucky Oaks, Santa Anita Oaks, Santa Anita Handicap, and Santa Margarita, among others. He also won the Group 1 Golden Shaheen in Dubai.
A native of Covina, Calif., Nakatani won five Grade 1 races with Hall of Famer Lava Man. He also won multiple stakes with Hall of Famer Serena’s Song, as well as Eclipse Award winners Itsallgreektome, Jewel’s Princess, Lit de Justice, My Miss Aurelia, Reraise, Shared Belief, Sweet Catomine, and Thor’s Echo. Nakatani won a record 19 stakes during the 2006-2007 Santa Anita meet, breaking the track’s previous single-meet record held by Hall of Famer Laffit Pincay, Jr. Nakatani ranks eighth all time in stakes wins at Santa Anita (behind seven Hall of Famers) with 134 and ninth in overall wins at there with 1,075. He also stands second all time at Del Mar with 108 stakes wins (behind only Hall of Famer Chris McCarron; the next eight on the list are all in the Hall of Fame) and sixth in overall wins with 705. At Hollywood Park, Nakatani is eighth all time with 1,169 wins and seventh with 143 stakes wins.
Chaired by Edward L. Bowen, the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee is comprised of Bowen, Caton Bredar, Steven Crist, Tom Durkin, Bob Ehalt, Tracy Gantz, Teresa Genaro, Jane Goldstein, Steve Haskin, Jay Hovdey, Alicia Hughes, Tom Law, Jay Privman, Michael Veitch, and Charlotte Weber.
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