California Chrome, Arrogate, Nakatani Among Eight in Hall of Fame Class of 2023

Arrogate | Adam Mooshian

Eight new members have been elected this year to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame class of 2023. Jockeys Corey Nakatani and Fernando Toro, via the Historic Review Committee, join racehorses Arrogate (Unbridled's Song), California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), and Songbird (Medaglia d'Oro) each in their first year of eligibility. Pillars of the Turf selections this year are John W. Hanes II, Leonard W. Jerome, and Stella F. Thayer.

The late Arrogate, whose bankroll of $17,422,600 still ranks him as North America's wealthiest racehorse of all time, won the Eclipse Award for 3-Year-Old Male in 2016. Overall the gray Juddmonte Farms homebred won four Grade/Group I races in the care of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. He was unraced as a 2-year-old and broke his maiden in his second career start in 2016 and in his first stakes appearance set a track record of 1:59.36 when winning the GI Travers S. by 13 1/2 lengths, the only time in Saratoga history a horse has gone 10 furlongs on the dirt in less than two minutes. He also won the GI Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita and set a Gulfstream Park dirt record of 1:46.83 in the 1/8-mile GI Pegasus World Cup in his 4-year-old debut. He then captured the GI Dubai World Cup to become the all-time earnings leader. Arrogate was retired with a record of 7-1-1 from 11 starts.

California Chrome | Benoit

California Chrome won Eclipse Awards for Horse of the Year in 2014 and 2016, as well as champion 3-Year-Old Male in 2014 and champion Older Male in 2016. Trained by Art Sherman for Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, and later Taylor Made Farm, California Chrome won a total of 10 graded/group stakes including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness S., Santa Anita Derby, and Hollywood Derby in his first Horse of the Year campaign in 2014. In 2016, he surpassed Hall of Famer Curlin for the North American earnings record, which was subsequently broken by Arrogate. Overall, California Chrome won at seven different tracks retired with a career line of 27-16-4-1, $14,752,650. He now stands at Arrow Stud in Japan.

Songbird | Chris Rahayel

Songbird won Eclipse Awards for champion 2-Year-Old Filly in 2015 and champion 3-Year-Old Filly in 2016. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for the late Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms, Songbird won the first 11 races of her career, including Grade I victories in the Del Mar Debutante, Chandelier, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Santa Anita Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks, Alabama, and Cotillion. As a 4-year-old she also won consecutive Grade Is in the Ogden Phipps and Delaware H. Overall, Songbird posted a record of 13-2-0 from 15 starts and earned $4,692,000.

Nakatani, 52, won 3,909 races with purse earnings of $234,554,534 million in a career that spanned from 1988 to 2018. He ranks 14th all time in career earnings and won 341 graded stakes. Nakatani won 10 Breeders' Cup races (one of only 10 riders to do so), including four editions of the Sprint. He won three riding titles at Del Mar, two at Santa Anita and one at Hollywood Park, as well as four Oak Tree meetings. Nakatani won a record 19 stakes during the 2006-2007 Santa Anita meet, breaking the track's previous single-meet record held by Hall of Famer Laffit Pincay, Jr. He ranks eighth all time in stakes wins at Santa Anita with 134 and ninth in overall wins at there with 1,075. He also stands second all-time at Del Mar with 108 stakes wins and sixth in overall wins with 705.

Corey Nakatani | Benoit

Chilean native Fernando Toro won 3,555 for earnings of $56,299,765 during his career, which began in North America in 1966 and ended upon his retirement in 1990. Before arriving in America, Toro won three editions of the prestigious Gran Premio, as well as the 1964 Clasico St. Leger, a race in the Chilean Triple Crown series. Based in Southern California, Toro won 80 graded stakes in North America and at the time of his retirement, ranked in the top 10 in stakes wins at all three major Southern California tracks. Outside of California he won a number of graded stakes as well, including the GI Apple Blossom, GI Arlington Million and GI Ashland S. Among his most notable mounts include fellow Hall of Famers Royal Heroine (Lypheor {GB}), Manila (Lyphard) and Ancient Title (Gummo).

 

 

 

Navy veteran John W. Hanes II (1892–1987), with his wife Hope Hanes, campaigned runners in the U.S., England, and Ireland. On his own or in partnership, Hanes bred 19 stakes winners, including the champion Idun (Royal Charger). He also played a key role in the revitalization of New York racing in the 1950s and was elected a steward of The Jockey Club in 1953, tasked to chair a special committee to improve New York's tracks and quality of racing. He also assisted in securing $109 million to revitalize Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga and helped pass legislation to establish the management corporation that eventually became the New York Racing Association where he served as the organization's president from 1954 through 1960 before transitioning to the role of NYRA chairman. He remained a NYRA
trustee until 1973.

Attorney Leonard W. Jerome (1818–1891) was a driving force in the creation of three major racetracks in the New York City area and helped establish the American Jockey Club (not affiliated with the modern Jockey Club). He served as the first vice president of Saratoga Race Course upon its opening in 1864. In 1866, Jerome bought the 230-acre estate and mansion of James Bathgate in what was then rural Westchester County, N.Y. where he and August Belmont I built Jerome Park and held the inaugural Belmont Stakes there in 1867, where it remained until 1890. Other key races inaugurated at Jerome Park include the Champagne S., Juvenile S. and Ladies H. The Jerome H., first run in 1866, was named in his honor and is one of the oldest stakes races in America.

Stella Thayer | Emma Berry

Stella F. Thayer, 82, purchased Tampa Bay Downs with her brother, Howell Ferguson, in 1986 and still serves as the track's president. She was elected as the ninth president of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2005, the first woman to hold the position in the institution's history, and served in the role until 2014. She is a member of the Florida, New Jersey, and New York Bar Associations. In 1986, Thayer named controller Lorraine M. King as general manager, the first time in turf history a Thoroughbred track had separate female ownership and management. In 1990, Tampa Bay Downs became the first track in Florida to accept a simulcast signal. She is also a past president of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations. As an owner, her 2-year-old Wonderment (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) in 2018 became the first filly in 14 years to win the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in France.

The 2023 Hall of Fame class will be enshrined on Friday, Aug. 4, at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony will be broadcast live on the Museum website. The event is open to the public and free to attend.

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