Curlin, Asmussen among Racing Hall finalists

awincze@herald-leader.comMarch 7, 2014 

Trainer Steve Asmussen, following preparation for the upcoming Kentucky Derby on Wednesday May 2, 2012 in Louisville, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff

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Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and his conditioner Steve Asmussen are among the 10 finalists — four jockeys, four Thoroughbreds and two trainers — on the National Museum of Racing's 2014 Hall of Fame ballot, the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee announced Friday.

Jockeys Chris Antley, Garrett Gomez, Craig Perret and Alex Solis made the cut as finalists while champions Ashado, Kona Gold and Xtra Heat join Curlin in vying for Hall of Fame honors. Asmussen and Gary Jones are the trainers represented on the ballot.

Curlin, Kona Gold and Asmussen are finalists for the first time. Hall of Fame voters may select as many candidates as they believe are worthy of induction to the Hall of Fame. The four candidates with the highest vote totals will be elected. To be eligible, trainers must have been active for 25 years, while jockeys must have been active for 20 years.

Thoroughbreds must have been retired for five years. All candidates must have been active within the past 25 years. The results of the voting on contemporary candidates will be announced April 25 with the induction ceremony held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Aug. 8.

Campaigned by the late Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables after a private sale early in his 3-year-old season, Curlin went on to win 11 of 16 career starts and retired with the highest purse earnings in North American history at $10,501,800, surpassing the previous mark set by Cigar.

Trained for the majority of his career by Asmussen, Curlin won the Breeders' Cup Classic, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Preakness, Arkansas Derby and Rebel in his sophomore year in 2007 to be named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male. At 4, he was again Horse of the Year and added Champion Older Male honors having captured the Dubai World Cup, Stephen Foster, Woodward and his second Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2008. Overall, he won nine graded/group stakes, including seven Grade/Group I wins.

Asmussen, winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer in 2008 and 2009, has won 6,703 races with purse earnings of $214,030,552 in a career that began in 1986. He ranks second all time in wins and fifth in earnings. Asmussen trained Curlin to Horse of the Year honors in 2007 and 2008 and Rachel Alexandra to that honor in 2009.

Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.

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