It didn’t take long for Curlin to be inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame.
The two-time Horse of the Year was voted in the first year he was on the ballot, and will be joined by Ashado, jockey Alex Solis and trainer Gary Jones as 2014 inductees when the Hall of Fame ceremony is held in Saratoga Springs on Friday, Aug. 8.
Trained by Steve Asmussen for most of his career, Curlin won 11 of 16 starts in 2007 and 2008, including the 2007 Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Classic at Monmouth Park, one of nine horses to win that race at the age of 3 since the Breeders’ Cup began in 1984.
His 2008 victories included the Dubai World Cup, Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, Woodward at Saratoga Race Course and Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, after which he closed his career with a fourth to Raven’s Pass in the BC Classic.
Curlin retired as the all-time purse earner in North American history, with $10,501,800, breaking the record held by Cigar.
The late Jess Jackson and his wife, Barbara Banke, owned majority interest in Curlin through Stonestreet Stables.
The son of Smart Strike stands at stud at Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky. Among his progeny are 2013 Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice and Arkansas Derby runner-up Ride on Curlin, who is pointing toward next Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
Curlin was one of two horses to run in all three Triple Crown races in 2007.
He was third behind Street Sense and Hard Spun in the Derby, beat those two in the Preakness and was second to the filly Rags to Riches in the Belmont as the hard-luck Hard Spun finished third.
Besides his two Horse of the Year Awards, Curlin also won the Eclipse for top male 3-year-old in 2007 and top older male in 2008.
Asmussen himself was on the ballot, but his name was withdrawn in light of an investigation into his barn practices. The investigation was prompted by an undercover video by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, mostly taken at the Asmussen stable at Belmont and Saratoga overseen by his former assistant, Scott Blasi.
Ashado was a six-time Grade I winner and two-time Eclipse Award winner who won the 2004 BC Distaff as a 3-year-old.
She did some of her best work at Saratoga, where she won the Schuylerville and Spinaway in 2003 and the Go for Wand in 2005.
Besides the Distaff, she won the Kentucky Oaks and Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont in 2004. Her Grade I wins at 4 were the Ogden Phipps and Beldame.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Ashado was co-owned by Starlight Stables, Paul Saylor and Johns Martin. Jack Wolf was the Starlight managing partner and joined forces with Don Lucarelli of Duanesburg to form Starlight Racing shortly after Ashado was retired.
Solis, a 50-year-old native of Panama, is closing in on 5,000 career victories and ranks ninth on the all-time purse earnings list with $234,981,821 through Thursday.
A winner of 18 riding titles in Southern California, Solis won the 1986 Preakness on Snow Chief and three Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2003 Classic on Pleasantly Perfect. He was the regular rider of 2000 champion sprinter Kona Gold.
Jones, 69, won 1,465 races for $52,672,611 in purses in a career spanning 1975 to 1996.
Among the horses he trained were 1986 champion older male Turkoman.
The California-based trainer ranks sixth all-time in wins at Santa Anita and won the Santa Anita Handicap twice, with Best Pal and Stuka,
The contemporary inductees were selected by a panel of 185 writers, broadcasters, industry officials and historians from a group of nine finalists.