The sesquicentennial (aka 150th) anniversary of Thoroughbred racing in Saratoga Springs will take place this summer with the unveiling of the Hoofprints Walk of Fame only the first of what Committee Chairman Charles Wait said would be over 180 different events over the course of the celebration.
Along with Wait, the National Museum of Horse Racing and Hall of Fame welcomed Saratoga 150 honorary chairs Mary Lou Whitney and John Hendrickson, as well as NYRA vice president and chief marketing officer, Rodnell Workman.
“Celebrating 150 years since the birth of racing would not have been complete unless we honored the historic athletes who helped make Saratoga Race Course the number one race track in the country,” said Hendrickson.
The announcement of the new attraction also included the unveiling of the first 30 entrants into the Walk of Fame. Each Thoroughbred’s name, sire, dam, owner, trainer and jockey will grace a granite plaque inside the Saratoga Race Course. The plaques also list that particular horse’s major wins at the Saratoga Race Course. The entire exhibit will permanently reside along the walkway outside the Clubhouse gates.
“I hope future generations will be inspired and humbled to see the hoofprints of some of the greatest athletes that have ever lived,” said Ms. Whitney. “Saratoga was fortunate to host these amazing stars.”
The order in which the horses will be displayed was determined by a random drawing, which was curated by the voice of Saratoga Race Course, Tom Durkin.
The selection committee originally planned to induct 20 horses with its inaugural class, but decided to raise that number to 30 after it was too difficult to decide who to leave out. The Walk of Fame will induct two new members each summer following this year’s inaugural class.
“These horses were selected as a result of their outstanding records at Saratoga Race Course. With this first group, we have chosen to honor outstanding Thoroughbreds from the 19th and 20th centuries,” said Michael Veitch, the Walk of Fame selection committee chair. “This is only the first step in recognizing the many stars of Saratoga racing history.”
The project is a collaborative effort of NYRA, the Saratoga 150 committee and the National Museum of Racing. The exhibit will be unveiled this July at the start of the Thoroughbred racing season.
“The Hoofprints Walk of Fame is a true testament to the unsurpassed level of history and outstanding sportsmanship that has taken place in the last 150 years at Saratoga Race Course,” said Workman.
The list of inductees includes some of the titans of the sport’s history such as Secretariat, Affirmed and Man o’ War. There are also some lesser known equines being honored that ran during the late 19th century including Duke of Magenta, Ruthless and Beldame.
The Inaugural Class of the Saratoga Hoofprints Walk of Fame
Affirmed, Alydar, Beldame, Chief’s Crown, Discovery, Duke of Magenta, Easy Goer, Eight Thirty, Emperor of Norfolk, Equipoise, Exterminator, Go for Wand, Granville, Harry Bassett, Heavenly Prize, Henry of Navarre, Kelso, Kentucky, Lady’s Secret, Man o’ War, Native Dancer, Regret, Roamer, Ruthless, Secretariat, Sky Beauty, Tom Fool, Top Flight, War Admiral, Whirlaway