SARATOGA SPRINGS – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and the Saratoga 150 Committee unveiled Friday a new attraction designed to pay homage to the most accomplished thoroughbreds to compete at Saratoga Race Course during its 150-year history.
The new Hoofprints Walk of Fame honors the most prolific and notable horses to have raced at one of the nation’s most historic tracks. Modeled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the attraction is one component of a summer long celebration to commemorate the 150th anniversary of thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course.
Saratoga 150 Committee Chair Charles Wait was joined by Honorary Chair John Hendrickson, Selection Committee Chair Michael Veitch, NYRA Vice President Rodnell Workman and Sally Jeffords, a connection to the great Man o’ War, to officially unveil theHoofprints Walk of Fame outside the Clubhouse gates at Saratoga Race Course.
The new addition features an inaugural class of 30 horses. Each thoroughbred is honored on a granite plaque alongside the names of its sire, dam, owner, trainer, and jockey. The plaques also feature the horse’s year of birth and signature wins at Saratoga Race Course.
"Celebrating 150 years of racing would not have been complete unless we honored the historic athletes who helped make Saratoga Race Course the number one race track in the country," said Saratoga 150 Honorary Chair John Hendrickson, who conceptualized the project in conjunction with the Saratoga 150 committee. "I always thought there should be some way to recognize the real stars of the sport and the Hoofprints Walk of Fame will be a unique and educational retrospective of our history."
"I hope future generations will be inspired and humbled to see the hoofprints of some of the greatest athletes that have ever lived," said Saratoga 150 Honorary Chair Marylou Whitney, a long-time owner and breeder who is widely regarded as a premier figure and philanthropist in the Spa City. "Saratoga was fortunate to host these amazing stars."
The project is a collaborative effort between both the New York Racing Association and the Saratoga 150 Committee.
"The Hoofprints Walk of Fame is a true testament to the unsurpassed level of history and outstanding sportsmanship that has taken place in the last 150 years at Saratoga Race Course," said Rodnell Workman, vice president and chief marketing officer for NYRA. "NYRA is honored to help assemble a tribute worthy of our outstanding equine athletes and their contributions to 150 years of racing at Saratoga."
The selection committee was led by acclaimed racing expert and life-long Saratoga Springs resident Michael Veitch. A turf writer for the Saratogian since 1979, Veitch also serves as a trustee of the National Museum of Racing and is a member of the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee and Historic Review Committee.
"These horses were selected as a result of their outstanding records at Saratoga Race Course. With this first group, we have chosen to honor outstanding thoroughbreds from the 19th and 20th centuries," said Veitch. "This is only the first step in recognizing the many stars of Saratoga racing history."
The selection committee is rounded out by Allan Carter, librarian of the National Museum of Racing; and author and historian Ed Bowen of Lexington, KY, who also serves on the committee that selects the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame honorees.
The selection committee will consider additional horses for the Walk of Fame each year on an annual basis.