Five jockeys, three trainers, and three racehorses comprise 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 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 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%) of the voting panel—will be elected to the Hall of Fame. The results of the voting on contemporary candidates will be announced April 24.
The induction ceremony will be at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Aug. 4 at 10:30 a.m. This year’s ceremony will be open to the public and is free to attend.
Lafayette native Robby Albarado, 43, began riding at the age of 10 and progressed to riding at bush tracks by the age of 12. After turning professional, he earned his first official win at Evangeline Downsin 1990. He 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 inductee Curlin , as well as Horse of the Year Mineshaft , Albarado has won 202 graded stakes in his career, including three Breeders’ Cup races and the 2007 Preakness Stakes (G1).
Craig Perret, 66, who was born in New Orleans, began riding horses at age five and by seven was riding quarter horses in match races. At age fifteen he began his career in thoroughbred racing and in 1967 was the leading apprentice jockey in the United States in terms of money won. He has won 4,415 races with purse earnings of more than $113 million in a career that spanned from 1967-05. The Eclipse Award winner for outstanding jockey in 1990, Perret won the Belmont Stakes (G1) in 1987 with Bet Twice by 14 lengths, denying Alysheba the Triple Crown. Three years later, Perret won the Kentucky Derby with Unbridled. He won four Breeders’ Cup races and totaled 208 graded stakes wins.
Chaired by Edward L. Bowen, the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee is comprised of Bowen, Cot Campbell, Tim Capps, Steven Crist, Tracy Gantz-White, Teresa Genaro, Jane Goldstein, Steve Haskin, Jay Hovdey, Tom Law, Leverett Miller, Neil Milbert, Bill Nack, Jay Privman, John Sparkman, and John von Stade.
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.