03/08/2017 12:36PM

Hall of Fame ballot includes Castellano, Albarado, Casse, Shirreffs, Goldikova

Barbara D. Livingston
Goldikova, the only three-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile, is newly eligible for Hall of Fame induction.

Jockeys Javier Castellano and Robby Albarado and trainers Mark Casse and John Shirreffs will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame announced Wednesday.

The ballot also will include the modern-day horses Gio Ponti, Goldikova, and Kona Gold, the Hall of Fame said. Gio Ponti, the champion turf horse of 2009 and 2010, and Goldikova, the only horse to win three runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (2008-10), are both on the ballot for the first time. Goldikova, who won 14 Grade 1 or Group 1 races, including nine over males, is considered a lock to be enshrined on her first ballot.

Appearing with Castellano and Albarado on the ballot for riders will be Victor Espinoza, the late Garrett Gomez, and Craig Perret. The full slate of eligible trainers will include David Whitely, the retired trainer of three champions, along with first-timers Casse and Shirreffs.

A maximum of four candidates from the three lists can be elected to the Hall in any one year and must rank among the highest vote getters among all candidates on the ballot. To be elected, the candidate must, at minimum, receive majority approval from the voting panel.

Results of the voting will be announced April 24, according to the Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., is scheduled for Aug. 4. In a release, the Hall of Fame said the ceremony will once again be open to the public.

Last year, the Hall of Fame restricted attendance to the induction ceremony to ticket holders, in large part because of the expectation that animal-rights protestors might attempt to disrupt the ceremony because of the induction of trainer Steve Assmussen, who had been targeted for criticism by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. No protestors showed up for the 2016 ceremony.

Though only 39, Castellano is likely to garner significant support from the voting panel. A native of Venezuela, Castellano has been voted the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey in each of the past four years. He has led all U.S. riders in earnings in those years, and he led all U.S. riders in wins in 2013 and 2015. He set a single-season earnings record in 2015 with $28.1 million in purses.

Espinoza, who is on the ballot for the third straight year, won five Triple Crown races in two years aboard California Chrome and American Pharoah in 2014 and 2015. His success riding California Chrome last year to a nearly perfect Horse of the Year season may boost his vote tally.

Albarado, 43, has won 5,026 races and has $206 million in career purse earnings. He was the regular rider of two Horses of the Year, Mineshaft and Curlin.

Gomez, who led all riders in earnings every year from 2006 to 2009 and won $205 million in purses, struggled with substance abuse throughout his career and was found dead late last year in a hotel room in Tucson, Ariz., of an overdose of methamphetamines, three years after he rode his last race.

Perret, 66, won 4,415 races and had purses earnings of $113 million during a career running from 1967 to 2005.

Casse, 56, was voted onto the Hall of Fame ballot just months after being inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and being named a finalist for the first time for the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer. Once a nearly year-round fixture at Woodbine in Toronto, Casse has been voted the Sovereign Award for outstanding trainer eight times, and he has trained two U.S. champions, Tepin and Classic Empire, and four Canadian Horses of the Year.

Shirreffs is most popularly known as the trainer of Zenyatta, the 2010 Horse of the Year who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year in her first year on the ballot. Shirreffs won the Kentucky Derby in 2005 with Giacomo and has won 464 races in his career, with earnings of $44 million.

Whiteley, 71, trained the Eclipse Award winners Waya, Revidere, and Just a Game and won 678 races during a 25-year career.

While Goldikova and Gio Ponti likely will garner significant support in their first year on the ballot, the other modern horse on the ballot, Kona Gold, will have another high hurdle to clear in order to be inducted, considering the four-candidate limit each year. Kona Gold was the champion sprinter in 2000 and the runner-up that year for Horse of the Year, and he retired in 2003 with 14 wins, including 10 graded stakes, from 30 career starts.