Curlin heads list of Racing Hall of Fame electees

awincze@herald-leader.comApril 25, 2014 

Robby Albarado celebrated on Curlin after winning the 132nd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on Saturday May 19, 2007 in Baltimore, MD. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff 308

Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and champion distaffer Ashado joined jockey Alex Solis and trainer Gary Jones as electees to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame on Friday.

Campaigned by Stonestreet Farm, Curlin won 11 of 16 career starts and amassed the highest purse earnings in North American history at $10,501,800, surpassing the previous mark by Hall of Famer Cigar.

As a 3-year-old in 2007, Curlin won the Preakness Stakes, Breeders' Cup Classic and Jockey Club Gold Cup en route to claiming his first Horse of the Year crown and added triumphs in 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 victories.

Curlin was trained for a majority of his career by Steve Asmussen. Asmussen was originally among the finalists for induction this year but was removed from the ballot after allegations of mistreatment lodged against him by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals this spring, charges that have sparked investigations by racing commissions in both Kentucky and New York.

Ashado won 12 of her 21 career starts with earnings of $3,931,440 and represents the first horse conditioned by six-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher to gain entry into the Hall. Owned by Starlight Stables, Paul Saylor and Johns Martin, Ashado was named Champion 3-Year-Old Female in 2004 and Champion Older Female in 2005 counting victories in the Kentucky Oaks, Breeders' Cup Distaff, Coaching Club American Oaks, Go For Wand Handicap, Ogden Phipps Handicap and Beldame Stakes.

Solis, 50, is closing in on 5,000 career victories (he had 4,986 through Thursday) and ranks ninth all-time in earnings with $234,981,821 and 30th in wins. In a career that began in 1982, Solis has won 321 graded stakes and 633 overall stakes including three Breeders' Cup races. Solis won the 1986 Preakness, as well as seven other graded stakes, with champion Snow Chief.

Jones, 69, won 1,465 races and had earnings of $52,672,611 in a career that spanned from 1975 to 1996. He won 102 graded stakes and 233 overall stakes. A native of Long Beach, Calif., Jones trained 104 stakes-winning horses, including Turkoman, the 1986 Champion Older Male. Jones won 15 meet titles on the Southern California circuit, including four at Santa Anita, where he ranks sixth all-time in wins (576) and seventh in stakes victories (72).

The contemporary electees were chosen from a nationwide voting panel comprised of 185 racing writers, broadcasters, industry officials and historians from a group of nine finalists selected by the Hall of Fame's Nominating Committee. The electees will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 8.

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

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