Updated on 04/25/2014 3:20PM

Curlin, Ashado, Jones, Solis voted into Hall

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Barbara D. Livingston
Curlin was Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

Curlin, a two-time Horse of the Year, two-time champion Ashado, jockey Alex Solis, and trainer Gary Jones were announced on Friday by the National Museum of Racing as the 2014 inductees to its Hall of Fame.

This year’s vote was marked by controversy, since trainer Steve Asmussen, one of the original 10 finalists for the ballot, was removed by the Hall of Fame’s Executive Committee after a story in The New York Times, published in concert with a video produced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, alleged Asmussen and his top assistant, Scott Blasi, did not properly care for their horses.

To date, nothing has been proven, and no charges filed, though Asmussen did relieve Blasi of his duties. At least two state regulatory bodies, in New York and Kentucky, said investigations would be held.

Asmussen, the second-winningest trainer in the sport’s history with 6,749 victories through Thursday, seemed a certainty to be voted in before his removal from the ballot. In fact, he and Blasi oversaw the career of Curlin, the most-accomplished male runner of this millennium.

Under the Hall of Fame’s rules, there are 10 finalists, chosen by a 16-member nominating committee, and of those 10, the top four receiving votes from the 185-member voting panel are the year’s inductees. This year, the finalists were pared to nine with Asmussen’s removal. Voters can select any combination of horses, jockeys, or trainers, so the four inductees, in theory, can be in any combination, such as four jockeys. But in this case, there was one from every category – a male horse, a female horse, a jockey, and a trainer.

The five finalists who fell short were the sprinters Kona Gold and Xtra Heat, and the jockeys Chris Antley, Garrett Gomez, and Craig Perret. The Hall of Fame does not release vote totals. The induction ceremonies will be held Aug. 8 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where the Hall of Fame is located.

Curlin, retired in 2008, was eligible to be on the ballot for the first time. Unraced at age 2, Curlin more than made up for his belated start by winning 11 of 16 starts, including the Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2007, Dubai World Cup in 2008, and consecutive runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2007-08. Curlin was Horse of the Year in both 2007 and 2008. He is the leading money-winning horse in North American history, with earnings of $10,501,800.

Curlin was trained for his debut by Helen Pitts, but was purchased privately soon after that race by a partnership headed by the Stonestreet Stables of Jess Jackson, now deceased, and Barbara Banke. They turned Curlin over to Asmussen, for whom Curlin won seven Grade 1 races. Curlin currently stands at stud at Lane’s End Farm.

Ashado was an Eclipse Award winner at ages 3 and 4, and won 12 of 21 starts, including seven Grade 1 races, most notably the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 2004. She was also among the leaders of her generation at age 2, when she won the Spinaway. She was owned by Johns Martin, Paul Saylor, and the Starlight Stables of Jack and Laurie Wolf, and trained by Todd Pletcher.

Ashado won $3,931,440 during her racing career, then was sold as a broodmare prospect at Keeneland in November 2005 to Sheikh Mohammed for a then-record $9 million.

Solis, who turned 50 last month, has won 4,986 races and is still active on the East Coast, but had most of his success on the West Coast, where he won major races like the Santa Anita Derby, Pacific Classic, and Santa Anita Handicap. He is best known nationally for winning the 1986 Preakness aboard champion Snow Chief, but has also won major Eastern races like the Met Mile and Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Although Solis has not won the Kentucky Derby, he has finished second in it three times. Solis has won three Breeders’ Cup races, including the Sprint aboard Kona Gold, and won both the BC Classic and Dubai World Cup with Pleasantly Perfect.

Jones, 69, retired in 1996 at age 51 after a brilliant 22-year career that saw him win 1,465 races, most notably two runnings of the Santa Anita Handicap. Based in Southern California, Jones won multiple training titles at all three major tracks of his era – Del Mar, Hollywood Park, and Santa Anita – and won most of the circuit’s major races, including the Hollywood Gold Cup, Malibu, Yellow Ribbon, two runnings of the Hollywood Futurity, and the inaugural Pacific Classic, with Best Pal.

Jones won many top races throughout the country, including the Apple Blossom, Beverly D., NYRA Mile, Mother Goose, Widener, two runnings of the Oaklawn Handicap, and the 1986 Marlboro Cup with Turkoman, that year’s champion older horse. He is the son of the late trainer Farrell Jones, and the father of California-based trainer Marty Jones.