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Some names that belong in the Hall of Fame
When Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are held Monday in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., it will mark 50 years since the National Museum of Racing opened and honored the first group of horses, jockeys, and trainers.
Trustees of the museum toughened the Hall of Fame voting requirements this year, and, as a result, trainer Nick Zito will be the only inductee from flat racing.
The new requirements, which if kept will likely continue to limit the number of inductees in future years, have pleased some in the sport and upset others.
Among those likely still to be displeased with the Hall of Fame are members in the media and industry who have called in recent years for an expansion of eligibility beyond horses, jockeys, and trainers.
While owners and breeders are the biggest groups left out, there are many other important people who are not eligible. For example, there is no place for a person like Matt Winn, who for nearly 50 years nurtured the Kentucky Derby into America's most famous race.
Test your knowledge of renowned racing people whose careers are deserving of the Hall of Fame.
1. Ask fans at a racetrack to name this starter, and most are likely to give a blank stare. Before the modern-day starting gate gained widespread use in the 1940's, though, this starter was often the most loved or most hated man at the track. In two famous instances, horses in major stakes races were at the post more than 90 minutes before the field was dispatched.
This starter sent the field on its way in the 1930 Belmont Stakes, won by Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox. Fifty years later, he was still at his post, sending Spectacular Bid on his way to a walkover in the 1980 Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park. Name him.
2. Tom Durkin has called every Breeders' Cup race. Dave Johnson's signature line, "And down the stretch they come," is one of the most recognizable in racing. Fred "Cappy" Capossela and Harry Henson were so prominent as race callers that they have stakes races named for them today.
But if the Hall of Fame expands its scope, this man who pioneered the calling of races at the track and on radio is likely to be the first announcer inducted. Name him.
3. Walter Vosburgh was one of the founders in 1891 of the Board of Control, which became The Jockey Club in 1894, and served as its secretary and handicapper until his death in 1934.
In addition to being racing secretary at all the major New York tracks for nearly 40 years, Vosburgh was a prolific writer and racing historian. His "Racing in America, 1866-1921," published in 1922, remains one of the great treasures of racing history.
Vosburgh would be a certain Hall of Fame candidate, but many noted horsemen contend that the man who succeeded him in New York was at least his equal. Name him.
4. She "probably knew more about the breeding of horses and the management of horse farms than any woman in the country," the great racing journalist Joe Palmer wrote.
And, in describing this woman who managed Man o' War's stud career for a decade, Ed Johnstone of The Thoroughbred Record wrote in 1951, "She did about as much for the American Thoroughbred and the sport of racing as any human that lived in the last half century." Name her.
5. Without Matt Winn, there might not be a Kentucky Derby today. Churchill Downs was struggling financially, and the Kentucky Derby had become a regional race with fields of as few as three or four horses when Winn took over in 1902.
Without this man, there might not be any Preakness Stakes today. He arranged to buy the charter of the bankrupt Maryland Jockey Club and reopened Pimlico in 1904, after it had been closed for Thoroughbred racing since 1889. In 1909, this man resurrected the Preakness and rebuilt it into one of the major 3-year-old fixtures in the East. Name him.
1. George Cassidy took over the starting duties at the New York tracks in 1929, replacing his father, Mars Cassidy, who for 30 years had been one of the most well-known and colorful starters in America.
When War Admiral met Seabiscuit in their famous 1938 match race, Cassidy was brought from New York to Maryland to replace Pimlico's regular starter.
Every Triple Crown winner with the exception of Sir Barton in 1919 faced George Cassidy at the start of the Belmont Stakes.
Cassidy's brother, Marshall, was executive secretary of The Jockey Club from 1937-1968 and is credited with many of racing's innovations during that period, including the photo-finish camera, film patrol, and saliva test.
2. Clem McCarthy began his racing career early in the 1900's, writing national columns for Daily Racing Form and later its sister publication, The Morning Telegraph.
When Bowie Race Course was the first to install a permanent public address system in 1927, McCarthy became racing's first track announcer. Fair Grounds in New Orleans added a PA system later that year and McCarthy took up duties there.
It was as a radio race caller, however, that McCarthy's voice became famous throughout America. For more than two decades, he handled network radio broadcasts of the country's biggest races, including the Kentucky Derby, which he called from 1928-1950.
When Seabiscuit beat War Admiral at Pimlico with an entire country listening on radio, McCarthy was at the microphone.
3. If the Hall of Fame is opened to racing officials, Walter Vosburgh would likely be among the first inductees.
But the man who succeeded him as racing secretary for the New York tracks in 1935, John Blanks Campbell, would not be far behind.
Campbell had a reputation as one of the shrewdest handicappers ever - and one of the fairest - never being concerned about ownership when weighing horses.
Campbell assigned weights for the annual Experimental Free Handicap (begun by Vosburgh in 1933) from 1935 until his death in 1954.
The Vosburgh Handicap is an annual Grade 1 fixture at Belmont Park. For years, the premier event of the season at the now-defunct Bowie Race Course in Maryland was the John B. Campbell Handicap.
4. Elizabeth Daingerfield managed the stud career of Man o' War from 1921-1930, the colt's most prolific years in the breeding shed.
It was as a crusader for the American Thoroughbred for nearly a half-century, though, that she made her mark. The British passed the Jersey Act in 1913, declaring most American-breds as non-Thoroughbreds, and some prominent Americans bought into that theory.
Armed with a wealth of facts and statistics, Daingerfield convinced most breeders to ignore the Jersey Act, which she believed would eventually doom British Thoroughbreds.
Many great American bloodlines owe their existence today to Daingerfield's crusade.
5. William P. Riggs, an 1885 graduate of Princeton University, began his association with the Maryland Jockey Club in 1898 and reopened Pimlico in 1904.
With the track back on sound financial footing, Riggs decided to bring back the Preakness Stakes in 1909. He did so with a bang, making the purse $50,000 - at the time one of the richest races in the nation. As such, the Preakness began once again to attract the nation's top 3-year-olds, as it had in the 1870's.
The Riggs Handicap was inaugurated at Pimlico in 1926, the year of Riggs's death, and was for the next 75 years a major fixture on the track's stakes schedule.