06/19/2007 11:00PM

Lincoln: Seven to join Hall


The 2007 Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame induction banquet, hosted by the Nebraska Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Lincoln State Fair Park, is set for July 8, as seven new members will be added to the state's honor roll.

Ticket reservations must be made at the horsemen's group's office in the administration building at State Fair Park or at its office at Horsemen's Park in Omaha. Tickets are free to all state licensees, but the reservations must be received by next Wednesday, June 27. The general public is also invited, with tickets available for $15 per person.

This is the second year of the resumption of the Hall of Fame banquet after a lengthy hiatus that began with the final season of racing at Ak-Sar-Ben in 1995. The festivities were resumed last year at Fonner Park in Grand Island, with six new members enshrined.

This year's class of inductees will include owners Gary and Mary West of Omaha, who campaigned the 1993 Arkansas Derby winner, Rockamundo, and the 2002 Donn Handicap winner, Mongoose, among their many stakes winners.

Jockey R.D. Williams will join close friend and 2006 inductee Perry Compton in the Hall of Fame this year. He also joins his father, Dean, who was inducted in 1995. Williams reached the 4,000-win milestone last year at Fonner Park.

Trainer J.D. Taylor, who died in 1993, raced on the state circuit for most his career and campaigned two namesake horses in Big Cigar and Stogie Smoker, named for Taylor's trademark and ever-present cigar.

Thoroughbred inductees this year will be Dazzling Falls and Vale of Tears. Dazzling Falls began his career at Ak-Sar-Ben and won the 1995 Arkansas Derby on his way to a start in that year's Kentucky Derby. Although he finished 13th in Kentucky, he went on to win the Alabama Derby and the Remington Park Derby that year and became the richest Nebraska-bred earner of all time with $904,922. His career was cut short in his 4-year-old season by injury, and he now stands at stud at Roger's Ranch in Mead in Nebraska.

Vale of Tears, foaled in 1963, raced for six years and won the Cornhusker Handicap twice and the J.E. Davidson Memorial Handicap three times at Ak-Sar-Ben.

Lifetime achievement awards will be presented to trainer Leon Hall and announcer Terry Wallace. Hall was an outrider on the circuit for 24 years before returning to training in 1994. Wallace, who still serves as track announcer and director of media relations at Oaklawn Park, started calling races for Ak-Sar-Ben in 1977 and also served as Daily Racing Form columnist for several years. He also has called the races at Horsemen's Park in Omaha for the past three years.