Horse Racing

Justify, Gun Runner Among 2024 Hall of Fame Finalists


Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy) and 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg})–both in their first year of eligibility–head a list of nine racehorses, six trainers and two jockeys who were named as finalists on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot by the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame Nominating Committee Tuesday morning.

Also on the ballot are: 2010 champion 3-year-old filly Blind Luck (Pollard’s Vision), eight-time Grade I winner Game on Dude (Awesome Again), three-time Eclipse champion Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat), 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace (Saint Liam), 2000 champion sprinter Kona Gold (Java Gold), 2017 champion turf female Lady Eli (Divine Park), and Rags to Riches (A.P. Indy), one of only three fillies to win the GI Belmont S. and champion 3-year-old filly of 2007.

Trainers on the ballot are Christophe Clement, Kiaran McLaughlin, Graham Motion, Doug O’Neill, John Sadler and John Shirreffs.

The 58-year-old Clement trained three-time Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti, as well as 2014 GI Belmont S. winner Tonalist.

McLaughlin, 63, won three Breeders’ Cup races: the 2006 Classic (Invasor), 2007 Filly and Mare Turf (Lahudood), and the 2016 Dirt Mile (Tamarkuz) and trained three Eclipse champions: Invasor, Lahudood and Questing.

Motion, 59, won the GI Kentucky Derby and G1 Dubai World Cup with champion Animal Kingdom, trained two-time Eclipse Award winner Main Sequence, and has won four Breeders’ Cup races.

O’Neill, 55, won the Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. in 2012 with I’ll Have Another and added a second Derby in 2016 with Nyquist. O’Neill has trained five Eclipse Award winners: I’ll Have Another, Maryfield, Nyquist, Stevie Wonderboy, and Thor’s Echo. He has won five Breeders’ Cup races.

Sadler, 67, won the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic with Eclipse Award winner Accelerate in 2018 and with Horse of the Year Flightline in 2022. He also trained champion Stellar Wind.

Shirreffs, 78, is perhaps best known as the conditioner of Hall of Famer Zenyatta. He also trained 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo and Breeders’ Cup winner Life is Sweet.

Jockeys Jorge Chavez and Joel Rosario are also finalists for this year’s Hall of Fame class.

The 62-year-old Chavez earned the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 1999. He won the 2001 Kentucky Derby aboard Monarchos and earned a pair of Breeders’ Cup victories in his career.

The 39-year-old Rosario, in his first year of eligibility, has won 3,586 races with purse earnings of more than $316 million (fourth all time) in a career that begin in 2003. The Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey in 2021, Rosario has won 15 Breeders’ Cup races (tied for fourth all time), as well as the Kentucky Derby in 2013 (Orb) and the Belmont S. in 2014 (Tonalist) and 2019 (Sir Winston).

To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, trainers must be licensed for 25 years, while jockeys must be licensed for 20 years. Thoroughbreds are required to be retired for five calendar years.

Hall of Fame voters may select as many candidates as they believe are worthy of induction to the Hall of Fame. All candidates that receive 50% plus one vote (majority approval) from the voting panel will be elected to the Hall of Fame. All of the finalists were required to receive support from two-thirds of the 15-member Nominating Committee to qualify for the ballot.

Ballots will be mailed to the Hall of Fame voting panel this week. The results of the voting on the contemporary candidates will be announced Apr. 23. That announcement will also include this year’s selections by the Museum’s Historic Review and Pillars of the Turf committees.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Aug. 2 at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony is open to the public and free to attend.

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