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Thursday, 10 March 2016 11:40

National Museum of Racing Announces 2016 Hall of Fame Finalists

By | Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Four jockeys, four Thoroughbreds and two trainers comprise the 10 finalists on the National Museum of Racing’s 2016 Hall of Fame ballot, as selected by the Museum’s Hall of Fame Nominating Committee on Wednesday, March 9. The finalists are: jockeys Ramon Dominguez, Victor Espinoza, Garrett Gomez and Craig Perret; Thoroughbreds English Channel, Kona Gold, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta; and trainers Steve Asmussen and David Whiteley.

 

Dominguez, English Channel, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta are first-time finalists. Hall of Fame voters may select as many candidates as they believe are worthy of induction to the Hall of Fame. A maximum of four candidates with the highest vote totals — provided they receive majority approval (50.1 percent) of the voting panel — will be elected to the Hall of Fame. If less than than four candidates receive “yes” votes from a majority of voters, there will be fewer than four inductees in 2016. 

 

The results of the voting on contemporary candidates will be announced on Monday, April 25. The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Friday, August 12 at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

 

The finalists were selected by the Hall of Fame’s 16-member Nominating Committee from a total of 82 initial candidates suggested by turf journalists, Thoroughbred industry participants and racing fans. To be eligible, trainers must have been licensed for 25 years, while jockeys must have been licensed for 20 years. Thoroughbreds must be retired for five calendar years before becoming eligible. 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. Dominguez, who rode from 1996 through 2013 before suffering a career-ending injury, had the 20-year requirement waived by the Executive Committee. Candidates not active within the past 25 years are eligible through the Historic Review process. 

 

Dominguez, 39, won 4,985 races (23 percent) and $191,620,277 in his career and won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2010, 2011 and 2012. 

 

Espinoza, 43, has won 3,266 races (15 percent) with earnings of $186,231,530 through March 8. An Eclipse Award finalist in 2015 when he rode Horse of the Year American Pharoah to the first Triple Crown in 37 years, Espinoza has a total of seven victories in the Triple Crown series, including five in the past two years. 

 

Gomez, 44, rode from 1988 through 2013 and won 3,769 races (17 percent) and $205,224,899. The Eclipse Award winner in 2007 and 2008, Gomez led all North American riders in earnings in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

 

Perret, 66, won 4,415 races and had purse earnings of $113,837,299 in a career that spanned from 1967 through 2005. He was North America’s leading apprentice jockey in earnings in 1967 and won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 1990.

 

Rachel Alexandra was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in 2009 and posted a career record of 13-5-0 from 19 starts and earned $3,506,730. As a 3-year-old in 2009, Rachel Alexandra delivered a perfect record in eight starts. She won at seven different tracks that year. She became the first filly to win the Preakness, second jewel of the Triple Crown, since 1924 when she defeated Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Later that season, Rachel Alexandra topped older males in a dramatic Woodward victory at Saratoga Race Course. Her sophomore ledger was 8-0-0 from eight starts and earnings of $2,746,914.

 

Zenyatta, who posted a career mark of 19-1-0 from 20 starts and earnings of $7,304,580, was named Horse of the Year in 2010 and won a total of four Eclipse Awards in her career. Overall, Zenyatta won a total of 17 graded stakes, including 13 Grade 1s.

 

Kona Gold was the Eclipse Award winner for Champion Sprinter and runner-up for Horse of the Year as a 6-year-old in 2000. Kona Gold posted a career record of 14-7-2 from 30 starts with earnings of $2,293,384.

 

English Channel posted a career record of 13-4-1 from 23 starts and earned $5,319,028. A winner of seven graded stakes, including six Grade 1 events, English Channel won his lone start as a 2-year-old in the summer of 2004 at Saratoga.

 

Asmussen, 50, ranks second all time in career wins (7,246 through March 8) and fourth in earnings ($237,473,515), in a training career that began in 1986 after a brief time as a jockey. The Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Trainer in 2008 and 2009, Asmussen has led all North American trainers in wins nine times and earnings three times.

 

 

Whiteley, 71, the son of Hall of Fame trainer Frank Whiteley, Jr., trained the champions Revidere, Waya and Just a Game (IRE) and won 678 races in a career that spanned from 1970 through 1995. He won 33 percent of his starts (678-for-2,068) and had purse earnings of $11,837,823.

 

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