During the weekend between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness as racing fans waited to see which horses would head to Baltimore for the second leg of racing’s Triple Crown for three-year-olds, Pimlico was the site for the unveiling of the Maryland-bred Hall of Fame for thoroughbreds.
Among the 12 horses that earned a spot in the inaugural class are several horses that were millionaires, Eclipse Award winners and even a pair of horse of the year honorees and exactly one-half of the group has already been inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga, New York. Several were contemporary horses, but others predated many members of the Hall of Fame committee, which consisted of members of the Maryland Racing Media Association, Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and
Maryland Jockey Club.
In alphabetical order, the 12 horses inducted into the first class of the Maryland Hall of Fame for thoroughbred horses reads Broad Brush, Challedon, Cigar, Elkridge, Find, Gallorette, Jameela, Jay Trump, Politely, Safely Kept, Twixt and Vertex. The committee plans to induct two new horses each year and at some point will include prominent breeders, stallions and broodmares who had a lasting impact on the Maryland breeding industry in the induction process.
Surprisingly, six of the initial 12 horses in the Maryland-bred Hall of Fame have already been inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame. That list reads, alphabetically, Challedon, Cigar, Elkridge, Gallorette, Jay Trump and Safely Kept. Both Challedon and Cigar were two-time horse of the year winners during their careers and both Elkridge and Jay Trump were inducted as steeplechasers. Gallorette and Safely Kept were two superb distaffers who also enjoyed success against male rivals during their respective careers.
In subsequent years the committee plans to add two horses each year to the Hall of Fame and at some point will include owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, stallions and broodmares of distinction. Currently the first class can be found on the Maryland-bred Hall of Fame website, but a formal building is expected to house the memorabilia and plaques for the inductees sometime in the spring of 2015, which could be the first year in which humans are included for induction.
Charles Town already boasts a local Hall of Fame, but currently there is no specified HOF for West Virginia-bred horses. In actuality, the list of inaugural inductees could probably not be as deep as the group recently inducted in Maryland but it would offer some interesting runners.
For instance, Soul of the Matter, Afternoon Deelites and A Huevo each won one Grade I stakes in their respective careers and both Soul of the Matter and Afternoon Deelites competed in the Kentucky Derby. Soul of the Matter also ran twice in the Breeders Cup Classic and finished second to Cigar in the inaugural Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba Race Course in 1996. That race, now run at Meydan Race Course each March, now boasts a stunning $10 million purse.
Other West Virginia-bred runners who would garner considerable support for immediate induction include Confucius Say, Julie B, Onion Juice, Taylor Mountain and Coin Collector, all of which made their presence known at Charles Town, especially on West Virginia Breeders Classics night. Active horses such as Russell Road, Down Town Allen and Silver Heart would have to wait until after they have been retired five years to get onto the ballot.