Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and his conditioner Steve Asmussen are among the four jockeys, four Thoroughbreds and two trainers that comprise the 10 finalists on the National Museum of Racing’s 2014 Hall of Fame ballot, the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee announced Friday.
Jockeys Chris Antley, Garrett Gomez, Craig Perret and Alex Solis made the cut as finalists while champions Ashado, Kona Gold and Xtra Heat join Curlin in vying for Hall of Fame honors. Asmussen and Gary Jones are the trainers represented on the ballot.
Curlin, Kona Gold and Asmussen are finalists for the first time. Hall of Fame voters may select as many candidates as they believe are worthy of induction to the Hall of Fame. The four candidates with the highest vote totals will be elected. To be eligible, trainers must have been active for 25 years, while jockeys must have been active for 20 years.
Thoroughbreds must have been retired for five 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, but a five-year waiting period is then observed before they become eligible. Candidates not active within the past 25 years are eligible through the Historic Review Committee.
The results of the voting on contemporary candidates will be announced on Friday, April 25. The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Friday, Aug. 8 at 10:30 a.m and is free and open to the public.
Campaigned by the late Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables after a private sale early in his 3-year-old season, Curlin went on to win 11 of 16 career starts and retired with the highest purse earnings in North American history at $10,501,800, surpassing the previous mark set by Cigar.
Trained for the majority of his career by Asmussen, Curlin won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Preakness, Arkansas Derby and Rebel in his sophomore year in 2007 to be named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male. At 4, he was once again Horse of the Year and added Champion Older Male honors having captured the Dubai World Cup, Stephen Foster, Woodward and his second Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2008. Overall, he won nine graded/group stakes, including seven Grade/Group I wins.
Curlin currently stands stud at Lane’s End Farm and sired his first classic winner last year when his son Palace Malice captured the Belmont Stakes.
Owned by Starlight Stables, Paul Saylor and Johns Martin, Ashado 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 while being trained by Todd Pletcher. The daughter of Saint Ballado won the Kentucky Oaks, Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Coaching Club American Oaks, Fair Grounds Oaks and Cotillion Handicap at age three and in her final season, at age 4 in 2005, took the Go for Wand Handicap, Ogden Phipps Handicap and Beldame.
Kona Gold won the Eclipse Award for Champion Sprinter in 2000 when he won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Ancient Title, Bing Crosby, Potrero Grande and Palos Verdes. In winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Kona Gold broke the Churchill Downs and Breeders’ Cup record for six furlongs with a time of 1:07.77.
Xtra Heat was named Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in 2001. She won 10 stakes races, including the Grade I Prioress and won six races in a row twice during her career.
Antley won 3,480 races and had purse earnings of $92,261,894 in a career that spanned from 1983 to 2000. He won 127 graded stakes races and 293 overall stakes and was a two-time Kentucky Derby winner, taking the race with Strike the Gold in 1991 and with Charismatic in 1999. Antley, who also won the 1999 Preakness with Charismatic, died in 2000 at age 34 due to a supsected drug overdose.
Gomez has won 3,769 races and has purse earnings of $205,224,899 in a career that began in 1988. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2007 and 2008 and led all North American riders in earnings each year from 2006 through 2009. Gomez won a record 76 stakes races in 2007 and has 13 Breeders’ Cup wins to his credit, including the 2010 Classic with champion Blame.
Perret won 4,415 races and had purse earnings of $113,837,299 in a career that spanned from 1967 through his retirement in 2005. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 1990, the same year he won the Kentucky Derby aboard Unbridled.
Solis has won 4,980 races and has purse earnings of $234,665,846 in a career that began in 1982. He has won 321 graded stakes and 633 overall stakes. Solis has won three Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2003 Classic with Pleasantly Perfect.
Asmussen has won 6,703 races with purse earnings of $214,030,552 in a career that began in 1986. He ranks second all time in wins and fifth in earnings. Asmussen won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer in 2008 and 2009 and has led all North American trainers in wins nine times and earnings three times. Asmussen has won 164 graded stakes and 752 overall stakes. Asmussen broke his own record for single-season wins in 2008 with 621 wins and topped it once again with 650 wins in 2009. Asmussen trained Curlin to Horse of the Year honors in 2007 and 2008 and Rachel Alexandra to the Horse of the Year title in 2009.
Jones 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. Jones trained 104 stakes-winning horses, including Turkoman, the 1986 Champion Older Male. Jones trained Turkoman to victories in the Marlboro Cup, Oaklawn Handicap and Widener Handicap. He conditioned Hall of Famer Best Pal to wins in the Santa Anita Handicap, Oaklawn Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup and Strub.