Large group in hunt for Hall of Fame

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Arrogate (left) and California Chrome – 1-2 in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita – are among the 16 finalists for induction into the Racing Hall of Fame. Breeders’ Cup/Eclipse Sportswire photo.

Nine racehorses, six trainers and one jockey – a group that includes a half dozen appearing for the first time – comprise the National Museum of Racing’s 2023 Hall of Fame ballot.

The ballot, as chosen by the Museum’s Hall of Fame Nominating Committee:

• Racehorses: Arrogate, Blind Luck, California Chrome, Game On Dude, Havre de Grace, Kona Gold, Lady Eli, Rags to Riches and Songbird;

• Trainers: Christophe Clement, Kiaran McLaughlin, Graham Motion, Doug O’Neill, John Sadler and John Shirreffs;

• Jockey: Corey Nakatani.

Hall of Fame voters may select as many or as few candidates as they believe are worthy of induction to the Hall of Fame. All candidates that receive 50 percent plus one vote (majority approval) from the voting panel will be elected to the Hall of Fame. All of the finalists were required to receive support from two-thirds of the 15-member Nominating Committee to qualify for the ballot.

Ballots will be mailed to the Hall of Fame voting panel this week. The results of the voting on the contemporary candidates will be announced on Tuesday, April 25. That announcement will also include this year’s selections by the Museum’s Historic Review and Pillars of the Turf committees. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday, August 4, at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, New York. The ceremony is open to the public and free to attend.

Four of the racehorse candidates appear on the ballot for the first time in their first year of eligibility – 2016 champion 3-year-old male Arrogate, two-time Horse of the Year and dual classic winner California Chrome, 2017 champion turf female Lady Eli and two-time champion Songbird. Kiaran McLaughlin, who trained Hall of Famer Invasor and seven other millionaires; and John Sadler, the conditioner of 10 millionaires led by 2022 Horse of the Year Flightline, are also first timers on the ballot.

To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, trainers must be licensed for 25 years, while jockeys must be licensed for 20 years. Thoroughbreds are required to be retired for five calendar years. 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.

Nine of the other 10 finalists appeared on last year’s ballot – Kona Gold (six-time finalist), Blind Luck (six), Havre de Grace (five), Rags to Riches (four), Clement (four), O’Niell (four) Shirreffs (four) and Motion (two), while Game On Dude makes his return after being a finalist in 2020 and 2021 but not in 2022.

Chaired by and including Edward L. Bowen, the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee is comprised of ST Publishing Inc. Managing Editor Tom Law, Caton Bredar, Steven Crist, Tom Durkin, Bob Ehalt, Tracy Gantz, Teresa Genaro, Jane Goldstein, Steve Haskin, Jay Hovdey, Alicia Hughes, Jay Privman, Michael Veitch and Charlotte Weber.