The National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Committee has unveiled the finalists for the 2020 ballot. There are 11 finalists, including two racehorses who are in their first year of eligibility. Here’s a look at who made the cut, starting with the racehorses.
From 2009 through 2012, Blind Luck won 12 of 22 career starts and posted earnings of more than $3.2 million. Of the 12 victories, 10 of them came in graded stakes races, including a win in the Kentucky Oaks. Blind Luck was the winner of the 2010 Eclipse Award for Champion 3-Year-Old Filly.
Game on Dude
Wins in 16 of 34 starts and career earnings approaching $6.5 million, Game on Dude had a memorable run from 2010 through 2014. A three-time winner of the Santa Anita Handicap, 14 of the victories came in graded stakes races. Game on Dude also won the Goodwood Stakes, Santa Anita Stakes, and Hollywood Gold Cup two times each.
Havre de Grace
The 2011 winner of Eclipse Awards for Horse of the Year and Champion Older Mare, Havre de Grace won nine of 16 career starts with earnings of more than $2.5 million. Signature wins include victories in stakes races such as the Cotillion, Azeri, Apple Blossom, Beldame, and Woodward.
A winner of the 2000 Eclipse Award for Champion Sprinter, Kona Gold’s career spanned from 1998 through 2003. A record of 14-7-2 out of 30 starts for earnings of over $2.2 million, the bay gelding won a total of 10 graded stakes races. Included on the list of accomplishments is multiple wins at the Bing Crosby Handicap.
Rags to Riches
Back in 2007, Rags to Riches followed up a win at the Kentucky Oaks by taking down the Belmont Stakes in thrilling fashion over the legendary Curlin. A promising stakes career was cut short due to injury, which was discovered after a 2nd place finish in the race following the Belmont. Rags to Riches finished up with five wins in seven starts for earnings of $1.3 million.
From 2010 through 2014, Wise Dan won 23 of 31 starts and snagged earnings of $7.5 million. A two-time horse of the year winner in 2012 and 2013, Wise Dan was also a recipient of Eclipse Awards for Champion Older Male and Champion Male Turf Horse. Among the signature wins were back-to-back victories in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita.
Mark Casse, Trainer
Casse is currently 9th all-time in purse earnings at $173 million. He was a 2016 inductee into the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame and has won 2,850 races to date. Classic Empire, Shamrock Rose, Tepin, and World Approval are among the top horses trained.
Christophe Clement, Trainer
Clement is 13th all-time in purse earnings at $133 million and has won 1,990 races to date. Among the most famous horses trained are Tonalist, 2014 winner of the Belmont Stakes, and Gio Ponti, a three-time Eclipse Award winner.
Doug O’Neill, Trainer
O’Neill checks in at 12th all-time in purse earnings at $134 million and has 2,473 victories to date. He was the trainer of I’ll Have Another, the 2012 winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and Nyqquist, the 2016 Derby winner.
David Whiteley, Trainer
This is a posthumous nomination for Whiteley, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 72. His career lasted from 1970 through 1995 and saw him walk away with 454 wins and earnings of $11 million. Whiteley trained 1979 Belmont Stakes winner Coastal.
Corey Nakatani, Jockey
Nakatani is 12th all-time in career earnings at $234.5 million for a career that spanned the years 1988 through 2018. He has won races including the Kentucky Oaks multiple times, and came out on top in 10 Breeders Cup races.
Results of the voting will be released on Wednesday, May 6 with the induction ceremony slated for Friday, August 7 at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, NY.
In order to be inducted, finalists need to receive 50 percent plus one vote. Voters are permitted to vote for as many candidates as they feel are worthy of inclusion.