My 2017 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Picks
Every year, the National Museum of Racing chooses 4 individuals, horse or human, that have had a big impact on horse racing to join their hall of fame. This year, there are 11 finalists with a shot to make it to the National Museum Racing Hall of Fame. Check out my 4 picks below!
Garrett GomezGomez passed away late last year. I you haven't read my blog celebrating some Garrett's best rides, please do so. He was the absolute best jockey at Santa Anita from around 2000 to 2010. His demons, like what happens to so many other athletes, finally caught up to Garrett. It's definitely a shame, but it shouldn't take away from how terrific he was atop a racehorse. He and Blame held off Zenyatta in the 2010 Breeders Cup Classic. It was Gomez's best ride since both of his arms didn't function at 100% leading up to the race. Per the New York Times, Gomez is quoted as telling Mike Smith, who rode Zenyatta that day, that she was the best he had "ever seen."
GoldikovaI've attached a broadcast of Goldikova winning the Queene's Anne at Royal Ascot in 2010. The Queene's Anne is one of the most important races in the world. Goldikova won it. She also won 3 straight Breeders' Cup Miles. All told, the multiple stakes winner won a stunning 14 Grade 1 races. She dominated her opponents both in the United States, and overseas. Without a doubt, Goldikova deserves to be in the National Museum Racing Hall of Fame.
Victor EspinozaBefore winning the Triple Crown with American Pharoah in 2015, Victor Espinoza was on the the doorstep with another Bob Bafffert trained horse in War Emblem. I remember the 2002 Kentucky Derby well. Going into the race, the discussion was about how fast the pace was going to be. Horses like Came Home, War Emblem, and the brilliant Medaglia D'Oro were all top notch front runners. No matter. Victor and Baffert knew what they had. Victor put War Emblem on the lead. Nobody caught him. In fact, if War Emblem hadn't stumbled out of the gate in the 2002 Belmont Stakes, Bob and Victor may have won the Triple Crown 13 years before Amerian Pharoah. I think it's time to put Espinoza into the Hall.
John ShirreffsTrainer John Shirreffs doesn't belong in the National Museum Racing Hall of Fame because he trained Zenyatta. He trained plenty of winners, including Giacomo to win the 2005 Kentucky Derby, before he started training Zenyatta. Check out a list of some horses Shirreff's trained pre-Z: Manistique, David Copperfield, Hollywood Story, Proposed, After Market, and Tiago. I think Shirreff's definitely deserves to get into the Hall this year.