05/25/2016 2:30PM

Woodward, Hancock made Hall of Fame Pillars


William Woodward Sr. and Arthur B. “Bull” Hancock Jr., two giants of racing and breeding, have been elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in the Pillars of the Turf category, the museum announced Wednesday.

Woodward and Hancock will be inducted Aug. 12 in a ceremony at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., along with the previously announced 2016 inductees, horses Rachel Alexandra, Tom Ochiltree, and Zenyatta; jockeys Ramon Dominguez and Wayne Wright; and trainer Steve Asmussen. The museum said Tuesday that due to such strong interest in the event, only museum members will be able to attend, with the event being streamed live on the Hall of Fame website.

The Pillars of the Turf category, instituted in 2013, is decided by committee and honors individuals who made extraordinary contributions to the sport in such areas as breeding, ownership, innovation, philanthropy, and promotion. Previous Pillar inductees are August Belmont II, Paul Mellon, E.R. Bradley, E.P. Taylor, Alfred Vanderbilt Jr., and John Hay Whitney.

Woodward and Hancock have some common threads, and both achieved success at the top of the sport and influenced the breed long after their passing.

Hancock, a third-generation horseman, took an already-successful Claiborne Farm, based in Paris, Ky., to new heights under his management. Born in 1910, the son of Claiborne Farm founder A.B. Hancock Sr., Hancock was raised at the farm and went to Princeton University. He took over operations of the farm in the late 1940s when his father became ill and made it one of the most successful farms in the world, expanding it from 2,100 acres to 6,000 acres.

In every year from 1955 through 1969, Claiborne stood the leading sire in America. The stallion roster had such greats as Bold Ruler, Nasrullah, and Princequillo. In Hancock’s years, Claiborne bred and raced Horse of the Year Moccasin, plus three other champions, and for clients, Claiborne raised 32 champions, including Kelso, Buckpasser, Nashua, Round Table, Hoist the Flag, Riva Ridge, and First Landing. Hancock bred four European champions, including Nureyev, and the farm bred 112 stakes winners during his era, leading all breeders in earnings four times.

The first working horseman to be elected to The Jockey Club, Hancock advised such breeders-owners as the Phipps family and William Woodward Sr. He was involved in numerous industry organizations, including as director and trustee of Keeneland and Churchill Downs, and helped establish the American Horse Council. He died in 1972.

Woodward, born in 1876, graduated from Harvard Law but never practiced, working instead in banking and eventually being chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. When his uncle died in 1910, he inherited Bel Air Farm in Maryland and turned it into a powerhouse in breeding and racing.

He boarded his mares at Claiborne and raised the horses as weanlings at Bel Air. He bred and raced Triple Crown winners Gallant Fox and Omaha (by Gallant Fox) and campaigned Belmont winners Faireno, Granville, and Johnstown. Late in life, he bred Horse of the Year Nashua.

Woodward was chairman of The Jockey Club from 1930-50 and helped convince the English Jockey Club to repeal the exclusionary Jersey Act, which kept many American-breds out of the English Stud Book. He died in 1953.

Randy Schulhofer More than 1 year ago
Great horsemen!