03/01/2006 12:00AM

Solis among finalists

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Silver Charm is a Hall of Fame finalist in the male horse category.

ARCADIA, Calif. - After riding in the shadow of Hall of Famers Eddie Delahoussaye, Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay Jr., and Gary Stevens for most of his career in Southern California, Alex Solis is taking his turn in the spotlight. For the first time in his career, Solis is a finalist among jockeys eligible to be voted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

Solis is a finalist along with two others who have been finalists previously, Eddie Maple and Craig Perret.

The Hall of Fame on Wednesday announced three finalists in each of four categories - jockey, trainer, male horse, and female horse. To gain admission to the Hall, a person or horse must receive votes from 75 percent of the electorate and be the leader in its respective category. If, for example, both Perret and Solis clear the 75-percent hurdle, only the one with the most votes would get in. If they tie, however, both would get in.

Solis has won more than 4,300 races, including the Preakness and three Breeders' Cup races.

Maple, who retired in 1998, won 4,398 races, including the Belmont Stakes, and rode Secretariat in his final start, the Canadian International.

Perret has won more than 4,300 races, including the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont, and four Breeders' Cup races.

The finalists were selected by a 14-member nominating committee, which weighed the merits of 91 people and horses submitted for consideration from a cross-section of the racing industry. Voters, numbering approximately 190, will be allowed to select as many horses or people as they desire in each category. Results will be announced May 30, and the Hall of Fame ceremonies will be held in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Aug. 7.

The vote will be particularly difficult in the female horse category, in which all three finalists - champions Inside Information, Silverbulletday, and Sky Beauty - have credentials worthy of the Hall of Fame.

Inside Information won 14 of 17 races, including the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Silverbulletday won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Kentucky Oaks and was a champion at ages 2 and 3. Sky Beauty won 15 of 21 races, including the New York triple crown for fillies at Belmont Park.

There is another strong group among trainers, where the finalists are Mel Stute, John Veitch, and the late Bob Wheeler.

Stute has been a mainstay in Southern California for decades, where his best horses include champions Brave Raj and Snow Chief. He has been a finalist numerous times. "It's getting embarrassing, but it's nice to be on there again," Stute said Wednesday morning at Santa Anita.

Veitch, long associated with Calumet Farm and then the Galbreath family, is best known as the trainer of Alydar, as well as Before Dawn, Davona Dale, Our Mims, Sunshine Forever, and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Proud Truth.

Wheeler was one of the all-time greats in Southern California. At the time of his death in 1992, he was fifth in stakes wins all-time at Santa Anita; he is now 10th. Wheeler has been a finalist three times previously.

The finalists for male horse are Best Pal, Manila, and Silver Charm, who will be favored in this category.

Silver Charm won two-thirds of the Triple Crown, as well as the Dubai World Cup. Best Pal, who won stakes races from ages 2 through 7, is the only horse to have captured the Hollywood Gold Cup, Santa Anita Handicap, and Del Mar's Pacific Classic. Manila, a turf specialist, won the Breeders' Cup Turf and Arlington Million.

Hall of Fame finalists

Male horses: Best Pal, Manila, Silver Charm

Female horses: Inside Information, Silverbulletday, Sky Beauty

Jockeys: Eddie Maple, Craig Perret, Alex Solis

Trainers: Mel Stute, John Veitch, Robert Wheeler