California Chrome and Arrogate Headline Strong List of Hall of Fame Finalists

Nine racehorses, six trainers, and one jockey account for the 16 finalists that will comprise the National Museum of Racing’s 2023 Hall of Fame ballot, as chosen by the Museum’s Hall of Fame Nominating Committee.

Racehorse finalists are Arrogate, Blind Luck, California Chrome, Game On Dude, Havre de Grace, Kona Gold, Lady Eli, Rags to Riches, and Songbird; trainers Christophe Clement, Kiaran McLaughlin, Graham Motion, Doug O’Neill, John Sadler, and John Shirreffs; and jockey Corey Nakatani.

This marks the first year of eligibility for Arrogate, California Chrome, Lady Eli, and Songbird.

Sadler, who trained the unbeaten Flightline to become Horse of the Year in 2022, is a finalist for the first time.

Hall of Fame voters may select as many or as few candidates as they believe 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. All 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 voting panel this week. The results on the contemporary candidates will be announced Tuesday, April 25. 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 occur Friday, Aug. 4, at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., at 10:30 a.m. ET. The ceremony is open to the public and free to attend.

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. All candidates must have been active within the past 25 years. The 20- and 25-year requirements for jockeys and trainers, respectively, may be waived at the discretion of the Museum’s Executive Committee. Candidates inactive within the past 25 years are eligible through the Historic Review process.

This marks the first year of eligibility for Arrogate, California Chrome, Lady Eli, and Songbird.

Arrogate, a gray son of Unbridled’s Song bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms, won the Eclipse Award for champion 3-year-old male in 2016 and holds the North American record for career earnings with $17,422,600. A winner of four Grade/Group 1 races, Arrogate was trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for Juddmonte. He was euthanized in June 2020 after a weeklong battle with an apparent neurological illness.

California Chrome, a chestnut son of Lucky Pulpit  bred in California by owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, won Eclipse Awards for Horse of the Year in 2014 and 2016, was champion 3-year-old male in 2014, and champion older male of 2016. Trained by Art Sherman for Martin and Coburn (the ownership later included Taylor Made Farm), California Chrome won 10 graded/group stakes, including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Santa Anita Derby, and Hollywood Derby in his first Horse of the Year campaign in 2014.

Lady Eli, a dark bay daughter of Divine Park  bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm and Catesby W. Clay, won the 2017 Eclipse Award for champion turf female. Trained by Chad Brown for Sheep Pond Partners, Lady Eli won her first six starts, including the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and 2015 Belmont Oaks. A battle with laminitis then kept her away from the races for more than a year but she maintained her brilliance upon her return, posting a career record of 10-3-0 from 14 starts with earnings of $2,959,800.

A dark bay daughter of Medaglia d’Oro bred in Kentucky by John Antonelli, Songbird won Eclipse Awards for champion 2-year-old filly in 2015 and champion 3-year-old filly in 2016. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Fox Hill Farms, Songbird won the first 11 races of her career. Overall, Songbird posted a record of 13-2-0 from 15 starts and earned $4,692,000. Twelve of her 13 wins were graded stakes, including nine Grade 1s. She won at seven different tracks.

Biographical and statistical information on all the equine and human finalists is available online.

Chaired by Edward L. Bowen, the Hall of Fame nominating committee is comprised of Bowen, Caton Bredar, Steven Crist, Tom Durkin, Bob Ehalt, Tracy Gantz, Teresa Genaro, Jane Goldstein, Steve Haskin, Jay Hovdey, Alicia Hughes, Tom Law, Jay Privman, Michael Veitch, and Charlotte Weber.