Eight Inducted into Racing Hall of Fame
- Aug 6, 2007
Eight legendary figures from the Thoroughbred industry were inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Aug. 6, as University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino gave the keynote address at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion.
"Now the dream comes true for so many people who worked so hard to make it to this special day," said Pitino. "Trainers don't get any days off and neither do the jockeys, and it's an unbelievable life. The amount of respect I have for them is off the charts because of the dedication and work ethic they have."
Jockeys Jose Santos and John Sellers, trainers Henry Forrest, Frank McCabe, and John Veitch, and the horses Mom's Command, Silver Charm, and Swoon's Son were inducted during the program that was open to the public.
Historic Review Jockey: John Sellers
The first inductee was Historic Review Jockey John Sellers, whose induction was presented by Hall of Fame trainer Thomas J Kelly.
"I remember him as a very classy and serious young man, and one of the best come from behind riders in the business," said Kelly. "He had the most extreme class of any race rider I'd ever been around."
Sellers, 69, was born in Los Angeles and raised in Oklahoma. He rode from 1955 through 1977, and his career peaked in the 1960s, when he finished in the top 10 nationally in purse money five times in a span of six years. He led the nation in victories (328) and was second in purses in 1961, the year he rode Carry Back to victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
"I'm just a country boy from Oklahoma," said Sellers. "I've had the fortune to have ridden around the world; I've ridden many places - Singapore, Australia, South Africa--and anywhere you go in the world if they know you're a part of the racing industry, you're welcomed with open arms."
Historic Review Trainer: Frank McCabe
The second inductee was Historic Review Trainer Frank McCabe, and Mrs. Margaret Powers, the trainer's granddaughter-in-law, accepted the award presented by Bill Nack, who called McCabe's induction "a long overdue" award.
McCabe was a distinguished trainer in a career that spanned that later part of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century. He was born in Patterson, N.J., in 1859. He trained Hall of Famer Hanover, winner of the Brooklyn Handicap, Belmont Stakes, Withers Stakes, and United States Hotel Stakes. McCabe also trained three consecutive Belmont winners--Inspector B. in 1886, Hanover in 1887, and Sir Dixon in 1888.
Contemporary Female Horse: Mom's Command
Third, Edward Gray presented the induction for Contemporary Female Horse to Abby Fuller-Catalano, Peter Fuller Jr., and Ned Allard, the connections of Mom's Command
"I have such a deep respect and genuine affection for her connections," said Allard. "Mom's Command's induction into the Hall of Fame is very special because Saratoga was where she won the best race of her life. When she won the Alabama Stakes she left no doubt that she was a horse for history and the Hall of Fame. There was never an ounce of quit in that filly."
Mom's Command, bred and owned by Peter Fuller and primarily ridden by his daughter, Abby, was the champion 3-year-old filly of 1985 who won seven of nine starts that year.
"It's a huge honor to be here, this is amazing company that our horse joins," said Abby Fuller. "Mom's Command was hugely special to our family. She was a horse you could count on, and she always did what you asked her."
Contemporary Jockey: Jose Santos
Jose Santos was this year's Contemporary Jockey, whose induction was presented by Robert Goodman.
"When I saw Jose win the Derby tears came to my eyes and I remember how he deserved that victory and how he's handled that victory. Jose has lived the American dream, truly, and fantastic, wonderful for Jose, he deserves it."
"I came to America to chase a dream, and I was on cloud nine working around guys like Jorge Velasquez, Angel Cordero Jr., when I came to New York," Santos said. "I want to thank all the owners and trainers who made it possible for me to succeed in 'America The Great.' "
Historic Review Horse: Swoon's Son
Swoon's Son received an induction as the historic review horse, which was presented by retired jockey Dave Erb and received by Jack Jones, grandson of breeder and owner E. Gray Drake.
Swoon's Son was a top stakes horse during a four-season career in the 1950s. He won 30 of 51 starts, and when retired to stud in 1958, he was the fourth-leading money-winner in the world at $907,605.
"I just wish my grandfather could have been alive and here to accept this award, he was so proud of that horse that provided him so much enjoyment and thrills," said Jones.
Historic Review Trainer: Henry Forrest
Next to be inducted was Historic Review Trainer Henry Forrest, whose induction was presented by William Thayer to daughter Jennie Forrest Watkins and son Henry Bryant Forrest.
"We feel priviledged to accept this award on our father's behalf," said Jennie Forrest Watkins. "Our dad would be proud and honored to be included among the many colleagues he respected. Dad was humble and didn't boast about his accomplishments, he felt honored to spend his life doing something he was passionate about."
Forrest trained Derby and Preakness winners Kauai King in 1966 and Forward Pass in 1968. During his career, he trained for both Calumet Farm and Claiborne Farm. He finished in the top 10 nationally in races won in a season eight times, and twice was in the top 10 nationally in purse money won in a year. At the time of his death, Forrest held the career record for victories at Keeneland, with 153, and Churchill Downs, with 271.
Contemporary Male Horse: Silver Charm
Contemporary Male Horse Silver Charm was inducted into the Hall of Fame by retired jockey Gary Stevens, also a Hall of Fame member, who presented the induction to Mrs. Beverly Lewis.
"My favorite horse of all time, no question, hands down, is Silver Charm," said Stevens, who rode the colt to victory in the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, then lost the Belmont by three-quarters of a length. "He never really impressed me in the morning when I got on him, he just felt like a good horse, but in the afternoons he would rise to the occasion."
"I am so very pleased to be here today, as you can imagine," said Beverly Lewis. "Silver Charm was a horse that was very determined, and we had a great time with him."
Racing from 1996-1999 for trainer Bob Baffert and owners Bob and Beverly Lewis, Silver Charm won 12 of 24 starts and earned $6,944,369 in purse money. Eight years after his final race, he stands seventh on the career earnings list.
At four, Silver Charm defeated Swain by a nose in the Dubai World Cup and also won the San Fernando Breeders' Cup, Charles H. Strub Stakes, Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap, Clark Handicap, and dead-heated for first with Wild Rush in the Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap. In the Breeder's Cup Classic, he was second to Awesome Again but defeated Skip Away.
Silver Charm stands at stud in Japan.
Contemporary Trainer: John Veitch
Finally, Contemporary Trainer John Veitch received his induction from his cousin, Michael Veitch.
"I am so proud to stand here before you today, I have been truly blessed all of my life," John Veitch said. "The lifelong experience in being involved with wonderful horses and wonderful people will be foremost in my heart forever. All my success can be attributed to those I worked for and with."
During his career, Veitch, 61, trained several champions, but his best-known horse may be Alydar, who was part of the great rivalry with Affirmed in 1977 and 1978. Retired from training since 2003, Veitch is the chief state steward in Kentucky. He joined his father, trainer Sylvester Veitch, in the Hall of Fame.
After serving as an assistant for his father and Elliott Burch, Veitch opened a small public stable in 1974. He subsequently was offered the position as the private trainer for Calumet Farm and guided that historic stable back to prominence. He moved on to become the private trainer for the Galbreath family's Darby Dan Farm and enjoyed a long run of success.
John Veitch's champions included Davona Dale, Our Mims, Before Dawn, and Sunshine Forever. Davona Dale and Alydar are members of the Hall of Fame.
In North America from 1976 through his retirement, Veitch recorded 410 victories from 2,339 starters with purse earnings of $20,097,980. He won 76 graded stakes from 401 starts and a total of 93 stakes from 500 starts.
At the end of the ceremony, the National Museum of Racing's President, Stella Thayer, presented Mrs. Martha Gerry with an Exemplar of Racing plaque. Gerry owned Hall of Fame member Forego.
(Originally published at www.BloodHorse.com.)
About the Author
Winner of the 2011 Eclipse Award for Feature/Commentary and the 2008 Louisville Metro Journalism Award for Sports Writing, Claire Novak has melded her love for human-interest journalism and the equine breed into a successful Turf writing career. Since her first freelance article on racing was published at BloodHorse.com in 2005, her byline has appeared in the New York Times, ESPN The Magazine, and on ESPN.com, among others. She lives near Lexington and, when not writing about racing, can often be found jumping her Thoroughbred, Bob.
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