According to the National Museum and Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame website, “The mission of the Official National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame is to honor the achievements of those horses, jockeys, and trainers whose records and reputations have withstood the difficult test of time.” On Hall of Fame Day 2010, the Hall of Fame included 186 Thoroughbreds, 93 Jockeys, and 88 Trainers. Owners, despite their unique brand of contribution to Thoroughbred racing, do not have a home in the Hall of Fame.
Hall-of-Fame horses include such greats as Top Flight, Seabiscuit, and Man o’ War. Top Flight, a Tom Healey-trained filly inducted in 1966, beat out Domino’s 39-year standing record for the highest 2-year-old earnings in the business. Seabiscuit, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1958, was a repeated champion who, after an injury at 6 years of age, made a moving comeback at the age of 7 in the Santa Anita Handicap against Kayak II. Man o’ War, widely considered the greatest Thoroughbred who ever lived, set easy records in the Preakness, the Belmont, and the Travers; won the Dwyer Stakes, Stuyvesant Handycap, and Jockey Club Gold Cup; and was retired to stud where he sired a stunning 64 stakes winners.
Trainers inducted into the Hall of Fame include legendary horse whisperers like John Rogers, Frank “Pancho” Martin, and M.E. “Buster” Millerick. Rogers had stunning wins in the Preakness and the Belmont with Buddhist, Tanya, Artful, and Burgomaster, among a string of other Thoroughbred champions, and was inducted as part of the Hall of Fame’s “inaugural class” in 1955. “Pancho” Martin, who through 2009 has won “3,284 races and purses totaling $46,881,516,” was the industry’s leading purse winner in 1974, New York’s leading trainer from 1973 to 1982, and has raced multiple champions against such greats as Secretariat. “Buster” Millerick, inducted in 2010, trained West Coast Thoroughbreds for almost 50 years, from 1935 – 1984, winning a total of 1,886 races and training 54 individual stakes winners
Legendary jockeys inducted into the Hall of Fame include such household names as Pat Day and Randy Romero, and historical legend Willie Simms. Pat Day mounted 40,298 Thoroughbred athletes and won 8,803 races between 1973 and 2005, including Hall of Fame inductees Lady’s Secret, Dance Smartly, and Easy Goer and the famous 1992 Kentucky Derby long shot Lil E. Tee. Randy Romero won riding titles at 10 separate tracks including Arlington and Belmont, won Breeder’s Cups on the legendary fillies Go for Wand and Personal Ensign, and rode 4,294 winners out of 26,091 mounts in the years 1973 to 1999. Willie Simms, who rode from 1887 to 1901, had Belmont, Preakness, and Kentucky Derby wins on different mounts, and led all American Jockey’s in wins the year 1894 with an unprecedented 33% win record. Jockeys with these talents and credentials make racing possible, connecting the indefatigable strength of a Thoroughbred champion with the know-how of a world-class trainer to create a racing powerhouse.
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