Five jockeys, three trainers and three racehorses comprise the 11 finalists on the National Museum of Racing’s 2017 Hall of Fame ballot, as selected by the Museum’s Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. The finalists are: jockeys Robby Albarado, Javier Castellano, Victor Espinoza, Garrett Gomez and Craig Perret; trainers Mark Casse, John Shirreffs and David Whiteley; and the racehorses Gio Ponti, Goldikova and Kona Gold.
Albarado, Castellano, Casse, Shirreffs, Gio Ponti and Goldikova 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. The results of the voting on contemporary candidates will be announced on Monday, April 24. The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Friday, Aug. 4 at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony will be open to the public and is free to attend.
The finalists were selected by the Hall of Fame’s Nominating Committee from a total of 86 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 are required to 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. Candidates not active within the past 25 years are eligible through the Historic Review process.
Albarado, 43, has won 5,026 races to date with purse earnings of more than $206 million in a career that began in 1990. The regular rider of two-time Horse of the Year and Hall of Fame member Curlin, as well as Horse of the Year Mineshaft, Albarado has won seven riding titles at Fair Grounds, four at Keeneland, two at Oaklawn and one each at Arlington and Churchill Downs. The 2004 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award winner, Albarado has won 202 graded stakes in his career, including three Breeders’ Cup races and the 2007 Preakness Stakes.
Castellano, 39, won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He has 4,632 career wins to date and ranks fifth all time in purse earnings with more than $272 million in a career that began in 1997. Castellano has won 10 riding titles on the New York Racing Association circuit, five at Gulfstream and two at Keeneland.
Espinoza, 44, has won 3,316 races to date with purse earnings of more than $192 million in a career that began in 1992. The regular rider for 2015 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah and two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, Espinoza twice won the first two legs of the Triple Crown — with War Emblem in 2002 and California Chrome in 2014 — before sweeping the series with American Pharoah.
One of only 10 jockeys to win the Kentucky Derby three times or more, Espinoza has won 240 graded stakes in his career and ranked in the top 10 nationally in earnings seven times. He has won four riding titles at both Del Mar and Hollywood Park and two at Santa Anita. The winner of the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2016, Espinoza has won three Breeders’ Cup races and set a track record by winning seven races on a single card at Del Mar in 2006.
Tags: American Pharoah, Breeders' Cup, California Chrome, Craig Perret, Curlin, David Whiteley, Eclipse Award, Garrett Gomez, George Wolff Award, Gio Ponti, Goldikova, Hall of Fame, Horse of the Year, Javier Castellano, jockeys, John Shirreffs, Keeneland, Kentucky Derby, Kona Gold, Mark Casse, National Museum of Racing, Preakness, racehorses, Robby Albarado, Saratoga Springs, trainers, Triple Crown, Victor Espinoza