Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah, seven-time Eclipse award trainer Todd Pletcher, and thirteen-time Steeplechase Champion trainer Jack Fisher lead the 2021 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame inductees.
The announcement came this morning, as the votes dating back from April 5th to today were accounted for. Voters could vote for as many candidates as they liked. They were not limited to an "A or B" choice. The ones who received 51% support, by virtue of majority approval, were elected to the Hall of Fame for this year.
There was a deep cast of accomplished horses and horsemen. The finalist racehorses were: AMERICAN PHAROAH, BLIND LUCK, GAME ON DUDE, HAVRE DE GRACE, KONA GOLD, and RAGS TO RICHES. The finalist trainers: Christoph Clement, Doug O'Neill, and Todd Pletcher.
Corey Nakatani was declared a finalist jockey, but the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame ultimately did not induce any jockeys this year.
AMERICAN PHAROAH was Champion 2-year-old in 2014, then Triple Crown hero by the summer of the following year. His 2015 Belmont Stakes victory won the NTRA Moment of the Year award, to which he'd later follow with dominant scores in the Haskell Invitational and the Breeder's Cup Classic. The son of PIONEER OF THE NILE ended 2015 by winning Horse of the Year honors, and completed his career with a record of 9 wins, 1 second, in 11 total starts. His total earnings exceed $8.6 million. His leading progeny include: G1 winner HARVEY'S LIL GOIL, G2 winner FOUR WHEEL DRIVE, G1 placed AS TIME GOES BY, G2 winner MERNEITH.
"He brought me to the top of the mountain," Baffert told Horse Racing Nation in a Wednesday telephone conversation. "American Pharoah really brought racing to the forefront."
Todd Pletcher, 57, grew up in the racing business while helping his father, Jake Pletcher, train horses. Todd Pletcher won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer seven times. He surpassed his mentor D. Wayne Lukas on the all-time earnings list among North American trainers in 2014. His top horses include ENGLISH CHANNEL, VINO ROSSO, FLOWER ALLEY, LIAM'S MAP, PALACE MALICE, RAGS TO RICHES, SCAT DADDY, ASHADO, ALWAYS DREAMING, UNCLE MO, SUPER SAVER, and MALATHAAT.
He's inducted into the Hall of Fame having won 5,118 times, with 3,613 seconds and 3,000 thirds. He's produced earnings of over $405 million. While his success dates back to the 90s, he's prominent among the top U.S. trainers to this day. In fact, we just saw him last weekend winning the Kentucky Oaks with MALATHAAT. Pletcher is having a great 2021 so far, winning at a 24% rate, surpassing the 22% mark which he's repeatedly had the past three years.
Jack Fisher, 58, is multi-champion trainer with 593 career steeplechase victories. He has trained four American Champion Steeplechase Horse honorees: MOSCATO (2020), SCORPIANCER (2017), and GOOD NIGHT SHIRT (2008, 2007). In his career, Fisher has earned more than $17.7 million in purse money, which ranks him second all-time.
The qualifications to be inducted to the Hall of Fame are as follows: trainers must be licensed for 25 years, jockeys must be licensed for 20 years, and thoroughbreds must be retired for five calendar years. All candidates must have been active within the past 25 years, although there are some exceptions. (Saratoga Racetrack, Joe Legault)
The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame made the following announcement on Facebook: "The class of 2021 will be enshrined along with the 2020 inductees — trainer Mark Casse, jockey Darrel McHargue, horses Tom Bowling and Wise Dan, and Pillars of the Turf Alice Headley Chandler, J. Keene Daingerfield, Jr., and George D. Widener, Jr. — on Friday, Aug. 6, at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony will be broadcast live on the Museum website at www.racingmuseum.org. An announcement regarding public attendance at the ceremony will be made at a later date."
Source: Equibase, Pastthewire, Saratoga Racetrack, Toddpletcherracing, Chronofhorse