Native Dancer: The Nearly Perfect Grey Ghost of Sagamore
Champion racemare Royal Delta and Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Craig Perret highlight the 2019 inductees to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. Sixteen new members will be inducted in a ceremony scheduled for Friday, Aug. 2, 2019 at the Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
In addition to Royal Delta and Perret, the 2019 induction class is comprised of racehorses My Juliet and Waya and 12 inductees to the Pillars of the Turf wing: James E. “Ted” Bassett III; Christopher T. Chenery; Richard L. “Dick” Duchossois; William S. Farish; John Hettinger; James R. Keene; Frank E. “Jimmy” Kilroe; Gladys Mills Phipps; Ogden Phipps; Helen Hay Whitney; Marylou Whitney; and Warren Wright, Sr.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. ET at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. The event is open to the public and free to attend. Legendary racecaller Tom Durkin will serve as master of ceremonies.
Perret and Royal Delta were elected to the Hall via the contemporary voting process; My Juliet and Waya were chosen by the Museum’s Historic Review Committee; and the Pillars were selected by the Museum’s Pillars of the Turf Committee.
Craig Perret, 68, was North America’s leading apprentice jockey by earnings in 1967 (prior to the Eclipse Awards) and won the 1990 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. A native of New Orleans, La., Perret won 4,415 races in a career that spanned from 1967 through 2005. He won the Belmont Stakes in 1987 with Bet Twice, denying Alysheba the Triple Crown. Three years later, Perret won the Kentucky Derby with Unbridled. He won four Breeders’ Cup races, including two editions of the Sprint, as well as two runnings of both the Travers Stakes and Queen’s Plate, among others.
Royal Delta was bred in Kentucky by Palides Investments N.V., Inc. and campaigned by Besilu Stables. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Royal Delta won three Eclipse Awards (Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in 2011 and Champion Older Mare in 2012 and 2013) and consecutive runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (now known as the Distaff) in 2011 and 2012. Royal Delta won nine graded stakes in her career, including six Grade 1 events. Competing from 2010 through 2013, Royal Delta made 22 starts with a record of 12-5-1 and earnings of $4,811,126.
My Juliet was bred in Kentucky by J. R. Bettersworth and owned for most of her career by George Weasel, Jr. A dark bay, she won the 1976 Eclipse Award for Champion Sprinter before there were separate championship designations for males and females. Competing from 1974 through 1977, My Juliet raced 36 times with a record of 24-4-2 and earnings of $548,859. Trained for most of her career by Eugene Euster, My Juliet won 17 stakes races, including six graded events.
Waya was a bay filly bred in France, where she competed for her owner/breeder Daniel Wildenstein and trainer Angel Penna, Sr. She won two stakes races there as a 3-year-old before being sent to the United States at age 4. In her first American campaign, Waya equaled a world record for 1⅛ miles on grass, covering the distance in 1:45 ⅖ en route to winning the 1978 Diana Handicap at Saratoga. She also defeated males in two Grade 1 races that year at Belmont, the Man o’ War Stakes and Turf Classic. Sold to George Strawbridge, Jr. and Peter M. Brant prior to her 5-year-old season, Waya won the 1979 Eclipse Award for Champion Older Mare while being trained by David Whiteley. She won five stakes that year, including Grade 1s in the Santa Barbara (carrying 131 pounds), Top Flight, and Beldame. Waya was retired at the end of her 5-year-old campaign with a record of 14-6-4 from 29 starts and earnings of $822,948.
Pillars of the Turf:
James E. “Ted” Bassett III, 97, was born in Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 26, 1921. A 1944 graduate of Yale University, Bassett served as an infantry officer in the Fourth Marine Regiment, Sixth Division, during World War II. Twice wounded during the Okinawa campaign, Bassett recovered and participated in the initial landing by Allied Forces on Japan. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Presidential Unit Citation. Bassett began working for the Keeneland Association in 1968, initially as the assistant to Louis Lee Haggin II. In 1969, Bassett became Keeneland’s president, serving in that capacity until 1986, when he became chairman of the board. In 2003, Bassett became a Keeneland trustee. He now holds the title of trustee emeritus.
From 1988 through 1996, Bassett served as the president of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. A member of The Jockey Club, Bassett is a past president of Thoroughbred Racing Associations of America, and formerly served as a trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, University of Kentucky Equine Research Foundation, and Transylvania University. He also served as chairman of Equibase and the Kentucky Horse Park. Bassett received the Eclipse Award of Merit in 1996 and the Lord Derby Award in 1998. Bassett is an Honorary Member of the Victoria Racing Club of Australia, the Hong Kong Race Horse Owners Association, and the Association of Jockey Clubs of Latin America.
Christopher T. Chenery (1888-1973) was born in Richmond, Va., and graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1909. He established the famed Meadow Stud in Virginia and was one of the founders of what became the New York Racing Association. Chenery began his involvement with racing and breeding with the purchase of a few horses in 1936. In 1939, he bought his foundation mare, Hildene, for $750. Hildene produced two of Chenery’s most important horses: Hill Prince, the 1950 Horse of the Year and a Hall of Fame member, and First Landing, champion juvenile in 1958. First Landing later sired Hall of Famer Riva Ridge, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes in 1972. Chenery also owned Hall of Famer Cicada, once the world’s leading money winner among mares.
In the mid-1950s, Chenery was one of three men appointed by The Jockey Club to restructure New York racing. Along with John W. Hanes and Harry Guggenheim, Chenery organized the non-profit Greater New York Association with the idea of funneling proceeds to benefit the state. Chenery personally obtained the $30 million loan necessary to renovate New York’s racetracks. In 1965, Chenery entered a foal-sharing agreement with the Phipps family, which owned leading sire Bold Ruler. Each year, two Meadow broodmares were bred to Bold Ruler. Then, before the foals were born, they would decide by coin toss who got first choice of the two foals. In 1968, Chenery became ill, and his daughter, Penny Chenery, took charge of Meadow Stud. She chose Somethingroyal as one of the mares for breeding to Bold Ruler. In the fall of 1969, Penny Chenery lost the coin toss with Phipps, who chose the other mare’s foal. The Meadow kept Somethingroyal’s yet-to-be-born foal, Secretariat, who went on to win the 1973 Triple Crown en route to the Hall of Fame. Overall, Chenery is credited with breeding 43 stakes winners.
Richard L. “Dick” Duchossois, 97, was born in Chicago on Oct. 7, 1921. He attended Washington and Lee University for two years before serving in World War II. Duchossois served in five European campaigns, including Normandy under Gen. George Patton, where he was a commander with the 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion. He attained the rank of Major before being discharged and was awarded a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars. In 1983, Duchossois purchased Arlington Park and helped the track garner international acclaim through the continued development of its signature event, the Arlington Million. The Million brought tremendous popularity to Arlington with a purse double that of the Kentucky Derby in its early years, attracting horses such as two-time winner John Henry.
Under the direction of Duchossois, Arlington became the first track to win the Special Eclipse Award in 1985 when it produced the “Miracle Million,” successfully running the marquee race less than a month after a major fire devastated the track. Duchossois was presented a Special Eclipse Award in 1989 and the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2003. Arlington played host to the Breeders’ Cup in 2002, and the Arlington International Festival of Racing remains one of the top draws of elite foreign horses to America each year. In 2000, Arlington merged with Churchill Downs, Inc., with Duchossois maintaining a prominent role on the board of directors. A member of The Jockey Club, Duchossois has served many organizations in the sport, including the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations. He was awarded The Jockey Club’s Gold Medal in 1986, a Special Sovereign Award from The Jockey Club of Canada in 1988, and the Lord Derby Award in Great Britain, also in 1988.
William S. Farish, 80, was born in Houston on March 17, 1939. He is the owner of the 2,300-acre Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Ky. Lane’s End is recognized as one of the world’s leading breeding operations. A two-time Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Breeder (1992, 1999), Farish served as the Chairman of the Board of Churchill Downs from 1992 through 2001 and won the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2009. Farish raced his first stakes winner, Kaskaskia, in 1967 and received his first major headlines as the owner of Bee Bee Bee, upset winner over Riva Ridge in the 1972 Preakness Stakes.
Farish has campaigned more than 165 stakes winners and Lane’s End has bred more than 300 stakes winners, including Horse of the Year winners A.P. Indy, Charismatic, and Mineshaft, and champion Lemon Drop Kid. In 1999, Farish became the first breeder since A. J. Alexander in 1880 to breed or co-breed two horses (Charismatic and Lemon Drop Kid) that combined to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont in the same year. Farish was also the co-breeder of Danzig, the leading sire in North America in 1991, 1992, and 1993. Danzig sired 188 stakes winners and 10 champions. Farish has been a steward and vice chairman of The Jockey Club, a director and chairman of the executive committee of the Breeders’ Cup, and a member of the board of directors of the Keeneland Association. In 2006, Farish became a trustee of the Keeneland Association. In 2001, he was appointed by President George W. Bush as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, serving in the role for three years.
John Hettinger (1933-2008) graduated from Yale University and enjoyed success in Mexico and Spain in chemical sales and real estate before returning to the United States in 1973 to take over Akindale Farm in Pawling, N.Y., which his father had owned. Hettinger expanded the property to 800 acres and campaigned such stakes-winning horses as Chase the Dream, Genuine Regret, Jazzing Around, Lady D’Accord, Move It Now, Prospector’s Flag, Up Like Thunder, and Virgo Libra. Akindale also stood such stallions as D’Accord, Personal Flag, Stacked Pack, and Sir Wimborne. Hettinger’s favorite horse was Warfie, who he said gave him his biggest thrill as an owner when she won the Long Island Handicap in 1989.
Hettinger stepped in at a crucial period in the history of Fasig-Tipton, North America’s oldest thoroughbred auction company. In December of 1991, Hettinger and his family funded a significant portion of the firm’s recapitalization plan. Most of the money was used to pay off Fasig-Tipton’s debt, and in exchange the Hettinger family was given 58 percent of the voting control of Fasig-Tipton. A member of The Jockey Club and chairman of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Hettinger was presented the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2000. An outspoken opponent of horse slaughter, he founded Blue Horse Charities to fight the mistreatment of horses and to set up adoption for many after their racing careers were over. Hettinger also personally financed the book “After the Finish Line,” which detailed the atrocities of horse slaughter. He sent copies to every member of Congress. Hettinger was also honored with the Safe Home Equine Protection Award by Equine Advocates in 2004 and given a Presidents’ Award by the New York Turf Writers Association. Today, Akindale remains one of the leading horse rescue and retirement farms in the country.
James R. Keene (1838-1913) was born in London and moved to the United States with his family in 1852. As a young man he made shrewd investments in California and Nevada mining companies and was eventually appointed president of the San Francisco Stock Exchange. Keene moved to New York in 1876 and became interested in horse racing. His first major racing success was with Spendthrift, winner of the Belmont Stakes in 1879. In 1881, Keene sent Foxhall, named for his son, to become the first American horse to win the Grand Prix de Paris, at the time the most important race in France. Foxhall went on to win the prestigious Ascot Gold Cup in England the following year.
In 1884, huge losses in the grain market cost Keene his entire fortune, but he rebounded financially a few years later and his success with stocks prompted J. P. Morgan and William Rockefeller to hire Keene to manage their assets. Having emerged once again as a wealthy and powerful force in the New York financial community, Keene went back to investing in racing. In the 1890s, his Castleton Farm near Lexington, Ky., became one of the most important breeding operations in American history. Keene brought 40 mares from England for breeding and brought in James Rowe, Sr. to train his racehorses. He also raced once again in England, winning the 1901 Epsom Oaks with Cap and Bells II. Keene bred 13 champions: Runnymede, Kingston, Commando, Delhi, Sysonby, Court Dress, Colin, Peter Pan, Ballot, Maskette, Sweep, Novelty, and Dominant. Overall, Keene bred 113 stakes winners. He also owned Hall of Fame member Domino. Keene won the Belmont Stakes six times: with Spendthrift (1879), Hall of Famer Commando (1901), Delhi (1904), Hall of Famer Peter Pan (1907), Hall of Famer Colin (1908), and Sweep (1910). Keene also won the Preakness with Assignee in 1894 in partnership with his son, Foxhall.
Frank E. “Jimmy” Kilroe (1912-1996) began his career in racing at Jamaica Race Course, where his father was president. After graduating from Columbia University, where he entered at age 14, Kilroe served in the Army in World War II, rising to the rank of Sergeant Major and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. Following his military service, Kilroe resumed his career in racing with jobs that included serving as the racing secretary at Arlington Park and Washington Park. Kilroe became racing secretary and handicapper at Santa Anita for the 1953-54 meeting. Also in 1954, he was named racing secretary and handicapper for the tracks that became the New York Racing Association – Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga – here he remained through 1960. He split his time between New York and California for the remainder of the decade.
By the 1970s, Kilroe oversaw racing at Santa Anita Park, Del Mar, and Hollywood Park. He thus forged a coherent and consistent racing program in Southern California, which was as successful as any in the country. Kilroe became senior vice president of the Los Angeles Turf Club and Oak Tree Racing in 1982, serving in the position retiring until retiring in 1990. Kilroe was on the Publications Committee of The BloodHorse, wrote for Daily Racing Form, the Thoroughbred Record, and Sports Illustrated, and was involved in the creation of the American Graded Stakes initiative. He received the Eclipse Award of Merit in 1979 and the Joe Palmer Award from the National Turf Writers Association in 1982. Kilroe became a member of The Jockey Club in 1981 and a steward for the organization in 1983. He also spent time as the director of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, served as a trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, and an advisor for the American Horse Council.
Gladys Mills Phipps (1883-1970) was born in Newport, R.I., in 1907. She became involved in thoroughbred racing when she established Wheatley Stable in 1926 with her brother, Ogden L. Mills, who died 11 years later. In 1927, Mrs. Phipps and her brother purchased eight of Harry Payne Whitney’s homebreds, including Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Diavolo, Wood Memorial winner Distraction, and Alabama winner Nixie. Before long, Wheatley Stable hired James E. “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons as head trainer.
Breeding and raising its horses at Claiborne Farm, Wheatley Stable bred 11 champions under the direction of Mrs. Phipps: Seabiscuit, High Voltage, Misty Morn, Bold Ruler, Castle Forbes, Bold Lad, Queen Empress, Successor, Bold Bidder, Top Bid, and Autobiography. Bold Ruler led the sire list for seven consecutive years (1963 through 1969) and again in 1973. No other sire in the 20th century topped the list more than five times. Bold Ruler sired 11 champions, including Hall of Famers Secretariat and Gamely. Overall, Wheatley Stable bred 102 stakes winners and was America’s leading owner in earnings in 1964.
Ogden Phipps (1908-2002) was born in New York City, graduated from Harvard University, and served in the Navy in World War II. After the war, he became a partner in the prominent brokerage firm, Smith Barney & Co., then used his training to head up Bessemer Securities Corp. Phipps bought a group of horses from the estate of Col. E. R. Bradley’s dispersal in 1946 that served as the initial core of a successful operation that built on his family’s already extensive legacy in racing. Like his family’s Wheatley Stable, which was brought to prominence by his mother, Phipps bred and developed his horses at Claiborne Farm through much of his career. Phipps bred 12 champions: Hall of Fame members Buckpasser, Easy Goer, Heavenly Prize, and Personal Ensign, as well as Ancestor, Impressive, Mako, Queen of the Stage, Vitriolic, Numbered Account, Relaxing, and Storm Flag Flying.
Phipps was the leading breeder in money won in 1988 and 1989. He won two Eclipse Awards as outstanding owner (1988, 1989) and one as outstanding breeder (1988). Overall, Phipps bred 108 stakes winners either individually or in partnership. In England, Phipps won the St. Leger Stakes and the One Thousand Guineas. His horses also won four Breeders’ Cup races. Phipps was a founding member of the New York Racing Association and a member of its board of trustees. He also served as the chairman of The Jockey Club for 20 years. Phipps was posthumously voted the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2002. The Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont is named in his honor.
Helen Hay Whitney (1875-1944) was the daughter of John Milton Hay, who served as Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. In 1902, she married Payne Whitney and began to show an interest in racing a few years later. The first horse that was recognized as being owned by Mrs. Whitney was the jumper Web Carter, whom she acquired in 1910. In 1911, Web Carter won six of 11 races at hunt meetings. By the early 1920s, Mrs. Whitney grew the size of her stable and expanded into flat racing. She raced under the name of Greentree Stable, the name of Payne Whitney’s estate on Long Island and of the Kentucky stud farm that was adjacent to Harry Payne Whitney’s Whitney Farm.
Mrs. Whitney had her first champion in 1923, Untidy, who won the Kentucky Oaks and Alabama Stakes. A couple years later, the great steeplechaser Jolly Roger emerged for Greentree. Bred by Harry Payne Whitney, he was sold to Greentree and became one of America’s greatest jumpers, winning the American Grand National in 1927 and 1928 en route to the Hall of Fame. Whitney also won the Grand National in 1926 (Erne II) and 1937 (Sailor Beware). Homebred Twenty Grand emerged for Greentree in 1930 and went on to a Hall of Fame career that included victories in the Kentucky Derby, Belmont, Travers, Saratoga Cup, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. In 1939, Greentree bred both Hall of Famer Devil Diver and the outstanding Shut Out. A champion in 1943 and 1944, Devil Diver won three consecutive editions of the Manhattan Handicap, as well as the Hopeful, Sanford, Brooklyn, Carter, and Whitney. Shut Out gave Greentree its second Kentucky Derby win in 1942 and won the Belmont, Travers, and Pimlico Special. Mrs. Whitney bred a total of 79 stakes winners and was the first woman to be the Thoroughbred Club of America’s Honored Guest in 1938.
Marylou Whitney, 93, was born on Dec. 24, 1925 in Kansas City, Mo. An actress, author, and philanthropic socialite, Mrs. Whitney took up her pursuit of racing following the death of her husband, C. V. Whitney, in 1992. Mrs. Whitney spent a substantial amount of time and money trying to buy back mares associated with the Whitney family for breeding. She purchased Dear Birdie, who proved to be the foundation for Marylou Whitney Stables. Dear Birdie was named Broodmare of the Year in 2004 and is the dam of Birdstone and champion Bird Town, who set a record for the fastest Kentucky Oaks in 2003, covering the 1⅛ miles in 1:48.64. Bird Town gave Mrs. Whitney the distinction of being the only woman to breed and own a Kentucky Oaks winner. Mrs. Whitney also bred and campaigned Birdstone, winner of the 2004 Belmont and Travers. As a stallion, Birdstone sired Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and champion Summer Bird, winner of the Belmont and Travers. Birdstone became the first stallion since the 19th century to sire two American Classic winners in his first crop.
In 2003, Mrs. Whitney was honored by the New York Turf Writers with the Ogden Phipps Award. She was one of the founding members of The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and a major contributor to the opening of the Secretariat Center at the Kentucky Horse Park. Mrs. Whitney has been an advocate for finding retired thoroughbreds new careers and homes once their racing careers have ended. She has also done substantial charitable work with backstretch workers. Mrs. Whitney founded the National Museum of Dance and was influential in the creation of Saratoga Performing Arts Center. In 2010, Mrs. Whitney was awarded the Eclipse Award of Merit. She was elected to The Jockey Club the following year. As Mrs. Whitney was accepting the Eclipse Award of Merit, she was also honored by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo’s mother, Matilda, presented Mrs. Whitney with a citation proclaiming her the “Queen of Saratoga.” Mrs. Whitney was at the forefront of various successful elements of the 2013 celebration of 150 years of racing in Saratoga.
Warren Wright, Sr. (1875-1950), a native of Springfield, Ohio, became chairman of Chicago’s Calumet Baking Powder company in 1914, taking the reins from his father, William Monroe Wright, the founder of the company. In 1929, Wright sold the business to a New York company, Postum, which soon became General Foods. William Monroe Wright had moved a standardbred horse farm from Illinois to Kentucky in 1924. Upon his father’s death in 1931, Warren Wright converted the Lexington farm, which bore the company name, from standardbreds to thoroughbreds, setting it on a path toward greatness. During Wright’s lifetime, Calumet Farm bred and raced 10 champions: Triple Crown winners Citation and Whirlaway, as well as Nellie Flag, Mar-Kell, Twilight Tear, Armed, Bewitch, Coaltown, Two Lea, and Wistful. An 11th champion, Real Delight, became a yearling soon after Wright’s death and was one of the many distinguished horses raced by Wright’s widow, Lucile Parker Wright. During Wright’s time, Calumet bred a total of 73 stakes winners and matched Col. E. R. Bradley by winning the Kentucky Derby four times. Of the 11 champions, eight are in the Hall of Fame (Armed, Bewitch, Coaltown, Citation, Real Delight, Twilight Tear, Two Lea, Whirlaway).
During Wright’s era, Calumet was the leading owner in money won seven times (1941, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949), the leader in races won three times (1942, 1947, 1948), and the leading breeder in earnings six times (1941, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950). Key moments included Wright’s purchase of future five-time leading sire Bull Lea as a yearling and the hiring of Ben Jones to train the stable. Citation became the first thoroughbred to earn $1 million only a few months after Wright’s death. Wright was elected to The Jockey Club in 1937 and was a member of the board of the original Grayson Foundation. He was the Thoroughbred Club of America’s Honored Guest in 1940.