Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
you ever thought about the historical significance of the Kentucky Derby and
the impact that a Derby victory has on a jockey or trainer’s career?
the Derby was first run in 1875 there have been 17 trainers with more than one
winner in the Run for the Roses and all 17 of them have been inducted into the
Racing Hall of Fame. On the jockey side there have been 23 riders with multiple
Derby wins and all but one of them were admitted to the Hall of Fame. Can you
guess who that one exception is? You will find the answer as you read more
about the Derby/HOF connection.
has the 300 win club which has been viewed as a sure way for a pitcher to reach
the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Twenty-four pitchers have reached
the 300 milestone and Roger Clemens is the only exception. His use of
performance-enhancing drugs has put his future election in serious doubt.
other likely path into Cooperstown is the 3,000 hit club. To date there have
been 28 major leaguers to get to 3,000 hits and only three are not in the Hall
of Fame. Pete Rose is permanently banned for betting on baseball and Craig
Biggio and Rafael Palmeiro were not elected. The other 25 hitters were admitted
on the first ballot.
comparison two victories in the Kentucky Derby are even more meaningful in the
career of a jockey or trainer than are the baseball milestones. There is still
a chance that the one exception in racing could change because Chris Antley is among the 10 nominees
for this year’s Hall of Fame class. In a relatively short career of 17 years
Antley won 3,480 races, which included the Kentucky Derby in 1991 on Strike the Gold and again in 1999 with Charismatic. In 1987 he won 9 races in
a single day. Throughout his career Antley battled with substance abuse
problems and he eventually died mysteriously in what was thought to be a drug
related death in 2000.
not only had amazing talent as a rider, but he put up big numbers while winning
many big races besides his two Derbies. He would need to be in the top four
vote getters from this year’s 10 nominees [Antley, Garrett Gomez, Craig Perret,
Alex Solis, Steve Asmussen, Gary Jones, Ashado, Curlin, Kona Gold, and Xtra
Heat] to get into the Hall of Fame. He is the most worthy of the four jockeys
nominated and if I were a voter, Antley would be one of my choices.
we head towards the 2014 Derby there are several people with a shot at their
second win. A couple of them are already in the Hall of Fame, another two of
them might need that magical second Derby to get in, and a couple of them
already have the necessary credentials.
Graham Motion is seeking his
second Derby win this year. Motion, who won the 2011 Derby with Animal Kingdom, found his Derby
contender when Ring Weekend won the
Tampa Bay Derby by three lengths in gate to wire fashion.
the injury to Top Billing, trainer Shug McGaughey will have to rely on Honor Code to get a second Derby
victory that would pad his already impressive training resume. Of the 92
trainers in the Hall of Fame 21 of them have only one win in the Kentucky
Todd Pletcher‘s six Eclipse
Awards to date will certainly get him into the Hall of Fame, but he will have
to wait until 2021 to meet the requirement of being an active trainer for 25
years. At this point his main 2014 Derby candidates are Intense Holiday and Constitution.
the jockey side Victor Espinoza became a legitimate contender for his second Derby victory when California Chrome ran off to a 7½
length win in the San Felipe at Santa Anita. Espinoza previously won the Derby
with War Emblem in 2002. War Emblem
is the only front-runner to win the Derby since 2000 and California Chrome has
that same running style.
are currently 97 jockeys in the Racing Hall of Fame and 24 of them have won the
Derby once. Mike Smith won the 2005 Derby on long shot Giacomo and John Velazquez took the Roses in 2011 on Animal
Kingdom. These two Hall of Famers will most likely be in the Derby starting
gate this year.
2014 Hall of Fame inductees will be announced on Friday, April 25th.
Hopefully on that day the “two Derby wins” path will no longer have an
exception and Chris Antley will join the racing’s best jockeys in the Hall of