The jockey finalists are: jockeys Chris Antley, Victor Espinoza, Corey Nakatani and Craig Perret.
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.
The finalists were selected by the Hall of Fame’s 14-member Nominating Committee from a total of 68 initial candidates suggested by turf journalists, Thoroughbred industry participants and racing fans. To be eligible, trainers must have been active for 25 years, while jockeys must have been active 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, 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 process.
The results of the voting on contemporary candidates will be announced on Monday, April 20. The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Friday, Aug. 7 at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
Antley won 3,480 races and had purse earnings of $92,261,894 in a career that spanned from 1983 until his death in 2000 at the age of 34. He won 127 graded stakes races and 293 overall stakes. The leading North American rider by wins in 1985 with 469, Antley was a two-time Kentucky Derby winner, taking the Run for the Roses with Strike the Gold in 1991 and Charismatic in 1999. He also won the Preakness Stakes with Charismatic. He ranked in the top 10 nationally in wins each year from 1984 through 1987.
Other major victories for Antley included the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Woodward, Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Derby, Alabama, Wood Memorial, Manhattan Handicap, Carter Handicap, Louisiana Derby, Blue Grass, Coaching Club American Oaks and Jerome Handicap, among others. On Oct. 31, 1987, Antley won nine races when he had four victories at Aqueduct and five at the Meadowlands. He also had a streak of 64 consecutive days with at least one win in 1989.
Espinoza, 42, began his career in 1993 and has won 3,188 races through Feb. 24. He ranks 19th all time in earnings with $171,130,260. A two-time winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Espinoza has won 209 graded stakes and 412 overall stakes. He has ranked in the top 10 nationally in earnings six times since 2000, including a peak position of No. 3 in 2004 and 2006. Espinoza won 19 graded stakes in 2014, including nine Grade 1s. He won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Santa Anita Derby, Hollywood Derby and San Felipe with Horse of the Year California Chrome. His other Grade 1 wins in 2014 included the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Starlet with champion Take Charge Brandi and the FrontRunner and Del Mar Futurity with champion American Pharoah.
In 2002, Espinoza won the first two legs of the Triple Crown with War Emblem. Other major wins for Espinoza include the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (at odds of 55-1 with Spain in 2000) and multiple runnings of the Santa Anita Derby, Hollywood Derby, Eddie Read, Del Mar Oaks, Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien Handicap, Del Mar Debutante, Del Mar Futurity and Norfolk, among others. He has also won single editions of the Santa Anita Handicap, Vosburgh, Haskell Invitational, Champagne, Wood Memorial and Hollywood Gold Cup. At Del Mar, Hollywood Park and Santa Anita, Espinoza has won two riding titles at each track. He won a Del Mar record seven races Sept. 4, 2006.
Nakatani, 44, has won 3,766 races and ranks 11th all time in earnings with $224,484,846 through Feb. 24. He began his career in 1988 and has won 332 graded stakes and 599 overall stakes. A winner of 10 Breeders’ Cup races — including three consecutive editions of the Sprint from 1996 through 1998 — Nakatani ranks seventh all time in stakes wins at Santa Anita with 131 and ninth in overall wins there with 1,031. During the 2006-07 Santa Anita meet, Nakatani won 19 stakes, tying the record of Hall of Famer Laffit Pincay, Jr. He has ranked in the top 10 nationally in earnings nine times in his career.
Nakatani has won multiple runnings of the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Derby, Hollywood Gold Cup, Hollywood Turf Cup, Kentucky Oaks, Eddie Read and Del Mar Oaks. He has also won the Santa Anita Derby, Coaching Club American Oaks, Shoemaker Mile, Pacific Classic, Santa Anita Oaks and Manhattan Handicap, among others. Nakatani won five Grade 1 races aboard Lava Man and has multiple stakes wins with champions Shared Belief and Sweet Catomine. He has won four riding titles at Oak Tree, three at Del Mar, two at Santa Anita and one at Hollywood Park.
Perret, 64, 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. In 1987, Perret rode Bet Twice to a 14-length victory in the Belmont Stakes, denying the Triple Crown hopes of Alysheba. During his Eclipse Award year of 1990, Perret won the Kentucky Derby with Unbridled and Grade 1s with Housebuster, Safely Kept, Rhythm and With Approval.
Along with four Breeders’ Cup victories, Perret also won multiple runnings of the Haskell Invitational, Travers, Queen’s Plate, Vosburgh, Pimlico Special, Withers and Carter Handicap, as well as single editions of the Florida Derby, Coaching Club American Oaks, Wood Memorial, Hopeful and Clark Handicap, among others. He won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1988.
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