Saratoga Springs, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Former Horse of the Year Black Tie
Affair and two-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Lava Man headline the 10
finalists on this year’s National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame ballot.
The four candidates with the highest vote totals will be elected with results
of the voting on contemporary candidates to be announced Monday, April 20.
Other finalists include jockeys Chris Antley, Victor Espinoza, Corey Nakatani
and Craig Perret; horses Kona Gold and Xtra Heat and trainers King Leatherbury
and David Whiteley.
Black Tie Affair was the 1991 Horse of the Year with wins that season in the
Breeders’ Cup Classic, Stephen Foster, Michigan Mile, Cornhusker, Iselin
Handicap, Washington Park Handicap and the Commonwealth Stakes. He concluded
his racing career with 18 wins in 45 starts and $3,370,694. Black Tie Affair
was trained by Walter Reese at age 2 and Ernie Poulos for the remainder of his
Lava Man, trained by Doug O’Neill, won the Big ‘Cap in 2006 and 2007 along
with three consecutive Hollywood Gold Cups from 2005 through 2007. In 2006 he
also won the Pacific Classic at Del Mar to complete the Triple Crown of
California’s major stakes for older horses. Lava Man earned $5,268,706 with 17
wins from 47 career starts.
Kona Gold, trained and co-owned by Bruce Headley, was 2000 champion sprinter
after winning that year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Kona Gold finished his racing
career with 14 wins in 30 starts for $2,293,384.
Xtra Heat was voted the Eclipse Award as 2001 champion 3-year-old filly. Co-
owned and trained by John Salzman Sr., Xtra Heat posted 26 wins from 35 starts
Antley, who died in 2000 at age 34, rode Charismatic to victory in the 1999
Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and was aboard the 3-year-old when he
finished third in the Belmont Stakes but suffered an injury. Antley also won
the Run for the Roses with Strike the Gold in 1991. The jockey earned
$92,261,894 with 3,480 wins.
Espinoza is the current jockey for reigning Horse of the Year California
Chrome. Last year, rider and horse won the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby
and Preakness. The pair would finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and
capture the Hollywood Derby. Espinoza has won 3,188 races through Feb. 24 and
ranks 19th all time in earnings with $171,130,260.
Nakatani has won 3,766 races and ranks 11th all-time in earnings with
$224,484,846 through Feb. 24. He has won 10 Breeders’ Cup races and was the
rider of Lava Man.
Perret retired from race riding with 4,415 wins and earnings of $113,837,299.
He won the 1990 Kentucky Derby with Unbridled and that year was the Eclipse
Award winner as champion jockey.
Leatherbury is a legend in Maryland racing. The trainer won his first race in
Florida in 1959 and currently ranks fourth all time with 6,449 wins and has
career earnings of $62,792,375. Leatherbury currently trains Ben’s Cat, whom
he bred and owns, and who has won 22 stakes and $2.3 million.
Whiteley, the son of Hall of Fame trainer Frank Whiteley Jr., won 678 races
and earned $11,837,823 in a 26-year career. He trained 1976 champion 3-year-
old filly Revidere, 1979 champion mare Waya and 1980 champion female turf
horse Just a Game.
The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in
Saratoga Springs on Friday, Aug. 7 at 10:30 a.m. ET and is free and open to