Justify, Gun Runner, Joel Rosario Elected to Hall of Fame

Triple Crown winner Justify, 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, and jockey Joel Rosario were among nine new members elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

Justify – NYRA photo

No modern-day trainer was selected for induction into the Hall of Fame this year.

Others elected to the Hall of Fame were jockey Abe Hawkins and horses Aristides and Lecomte by the Pre-1900 Historic Review Committee; and Harry F. Guggenheim, Clement L. Hirsch, and Joe Hirsch by the Pillars of Turf Committee.

Gun Runner, Justify, and Rosario were finalists in their first year of eligibility.

Justify, who swept the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes 2018 to become racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner, was trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. The Scat Daddy colt won all six of his career races in a span of 111 days by a combined margin of 23 ¾ lengths.

The Legacy of Justify and Gun Runner in Thoroughbred Racing

Earlier this year, Justify was disqualified from his victory in the Santa Anita Derby due to a medication violation, but the decision is being appealed.

Justify was voted 2018 Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male.

Gun Runner, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, compiled a stellar record of 12-3-2 from 19 career starts for $15,988,500 in earnings (second highest in North America behind Arrogate). The chestnut son of Candy Ride was voted 2017 Horse of the Year and champion older male.

Among his victories were the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Woodward, the Whitney, and the Stephen Foster. As a 3-year-old in 2016, he won the Clark Handicap, the Louisiana Derby and the Risen Star. In his final start, in 2018, Gun Runner won the Pegasus World Cup.

Nadal and Joel Rosario – Photo Courtesy of Oaklawn Park

Rosario, 39, has won more than 3,600 races over his career that began in 2003, with purses earnings over $318 million (fourth all-time). An Eclipse Award winner in 2021 for outstanding Jockey, Rosario won the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Orb and the Belmont Stakes with Tonalist in 2014 and Sir Winston in 2019.

Hall of Fame Honors for Jockey Joel Rosario: A Career of Achievements in Thoroughbred Racing

A native of the Dominican Republic, Rosario has won 15 Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2018 BC Classic with Accelerate and the 2021 Classic with Knicks Go. He’s been among the top 10 riders in North America in earnings 15 times.

Among his other top mounts were champions Animal Kingdom (in the 2013 Dubai World Cup), Blind Luck, Epicenter, Jackie’s Warrior, Clairiere, and Frosted. He’s also won nine riding titles on the Southern California circuit, two at Keeneland, and one at Kentucky Downs.

The three contemporary selections were chosen by a nationwide voting panel of 177 members from a group of 17 finalists submitted by the Hall of Fame’s nominating committee. To be elected, finalists needed 50% of the vote plus one from the panel.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Friday, Aug. 2, at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The other finalists were horses Blind Luck, Game On Dude, Gio Ponti, Havre de Grace, Kona Gold, Lady Eli, and Rags to Riches; trainers Christophe Clement, KIaran McLaughlin, H. Graham Motion, Doug O’Neill, John Sadler, and John Shirreffs; and jockey Jorge Chavez.


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