Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame’s Pillars of the Turf Committee has elected 12 new members to the Hall of Fame. The 2018 Pillars of the Turf inductees are: Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin, August Belmont I, Cot Campbell, Penny Chenery, John W. Galbreath, Arthur B. Hancock, Sr., Hal Price Headley, John Morrissey, Dr. Charles H. Strub, William Collins Whitney, Harry Payne Whitney and Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney.
The 12 Pillars join the previously announced selections of the racehorses Heavenly Prize and Preakness and trainer William Lakeland in the class of 2018. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Friday, Aug. 3 at 10:30 a.m. at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. The event is open to the public and free to attend.
The Museum’s executive committee approved a measure in January allowing the Pillars of the Turf Committee to select as many as 12 inductees in both 2018 and 2019 to address the significant backlog of worthy candidates, as this Hall of Fame category was established only five years ago.
Baldwin (1828-1909), a native of Hamilton, Ohio, relocated to California during the Gold Rush and became successful in numerous business ventures. He owned several top thoroughbreds and was one of the first prominent breeders in California. Racing under the name Santa Anita Stable, he campaigned champions Emperor of Norfolk (a Hall of Fame member) and Los Angeles, among others. Emperor of Norfolk won 21 of 29 starts, including the American Derby at Chicago’s Washington Park in 1888, arguably the most prestigious race in the country at the time. Baldwin horses also won the American Derby in 1885 (Volante), 1886 (Silver Cloud) and 1894 (Rey el Santa Anita). Baldwin’s stable was one of the most prolific of the 1880s, regularly winning major races throughout the country. In 1885, his horses won 14 stakes races at seven different tracks. Baldwin runners also won 15 of 25 starts that year at Saratoga. His durable mare Los Angeles, racing from 1887 through 1891, won 48 times. Her 34 stakes wins featured a record 16 at Saratoga, including the 1891 Saratoga Cup, in which she defeated Kingston.
In December of 1907, Baldwin opened the original Santa Anita track on his Rancho Santa Anita property. The track was successful in its short run, but in February of 1909 the Walker-Otis bill was passed and outlawed “pool selling” in California, making it impossible for bookmakers to ply their trade and forcing the track’s closure. Baldwin died shortly after at the age of 80. His obituary in the San Francisco Call described him as the “most noted figure of the American turf,” while the Los Angeles Times referred to him as the “King of the Turf.”
Belmont (1813-1890) who was born in Alzey, Germany, was introduced to thoroughbred racing in 1866 by Leonard Jerome, who convinced him to be one of the incorporators of the American Jockey Club at Jerome Park, which Belmont helped finance. When Jerome Park opened that fall, Belmont became track president and won his first race as an owner with the filly Maid of Honor. In 1867, Belmont began his breeding operation by purchasing several broodmares and around 1,000 acres on Long Island, N.Y., for his Nursery Stud. That year, Belmont also purchased his first good horse, Glenelg, who became the best 3-year-old of 1869, winning the Travers and Jerome. At Jerome Park, Belmont’s Fenian won the third running of the Belmont Stakes, named in the owner’s honor.
In 1870, Belmont was one of six founders of Long Branch Racetrack in New Jersey, which was later renamed Monmouth Park. In 1872, Belmont’s filly Woodbine, sired by Nursery Stud stallion Kentucky, won the inaugural running of the Alabama Stakes, as well as the Monmouth Oaks. Belmont also had great success with the fillies Olitipa, Sultana and Susquehanna. Olitipa and Susquehanna both won the Alabama, while Sultana won the Travers. Belmont was America’s leading owner and breeder in both 1888 and 1889. Following his death in 1890, Belmont’s impressive roster of active racehorses, stallions, broodmares, yearlings and weanlings were offered at two auctions. The 131 horses sold for a total of $639,500, a new record for a dispersal sale. Belmont’s son, August Belmont II, purchased several of the broodmares to begin development of the second Nursery Stud.
Campbell, born on Sept. 27, 1927 in New Orleans, La., began syndicating racehorses in 1969 and created Dogwood Stable as a partnership venture shortly after. Based in Aiken, S.C., Dogwood partnerships produced more than 80 stakes winners, including 1990 Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall, who also won the Hopeful, Saratoga Special and Blue Grass, among others. Summer Squall went on to sire Charismatic and the Dogwood-owned Breeders’ Cup winner Storm Song. Both Storm Song and steeplechase standout Inlander, winner of the Colonial Cup, were Eclipse Award winners for Dogwood. Palace Malice delivered a second victory in the Triple Crown series for Dogwood when he won the 2013 Belmont Stakes. He also won the Metropolitan Handicap, Jim Dandy and Gulfstream Park Handicap, among others. Seven Dogwood partnership horses earned $1 million or more. Mrs. Cornwallis became Dogwood’s first stakes winner with a victory in the 1971 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland and was followed by such notables as Dominion, Domynsky, Nassipour, Southjet, Wallenda, Trippi, Smok’n Frolic, Limehouse, Cotton Blossom and Aikenite.
Campbell’s partnership concept paved the way for numerous other groups that followed, providing a successful model and making thoroughbred ownership more attainable and inclusive. More than 1,200 people participated in Dogwood ownership. A member of The Jockey Club, Campbell served as a trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and received the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2012. He has also been honored in the Saratoga Walk of Fame and was the Thoroughbred Club of America’s Honored Guest in 2004.
Chenery (1922-2017), a native of New Rochelle, N.Y., was a daughter of Christopher T. Chenery, founder of the famed Meadow Stud in Virginia. She successfully guided the family’s ancestral farm and racing stable through a period of uncertainty and led it to the highest ranks in the sport and business of thoroughbred racing. Chenery was raising a family in Colorado when her father’s health deteriorated to the point that Meadow Stud and the racing stable were threatened. She chose to take on the challenge and was foremost among Mr. Chenery’s children in her determination to continue operation of the breeding farm and racing stable. The champion Riva Ridge emerged to win the Kentucky Derby and Belmont for Meadow Stable in 1972. That same year, Secretariat won his first of back-to-back Horse of the Year honors, helping to steady the Meadow operation. In 1973, Secretariat became a cultural phenomenon and won the Triple Crown, setting stakes records in each of the three races, including a 31-length victory in world-record time in the Belmont. Later that year, Secretariat was retired to Claiborne Farm, where he went on to sire Horse of the Year Lady’s Secret and Belmont winner Risen Star.
Chenery became a respected leader in the sport, serving as president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association from 1976 through 1984. She was also president of the Grayson Foundation and was welcomed into The Jockey Club in 1983. Chenery was a leading advocate for the health and welfare of retired thoroughbreds and served as a driving force behind the formation of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. In 2005, Chenery was voted the Eclipse Award of Merit and in 2012 was the Thoroughbred Club of America’s Honored Guest.
Galbreath (1897-1988) was born in Derby, Ohio, and attended Ohio University before serving in World War I. After the war, he returned to school, finished his degree and began a career in commercial property development. Galbreath’s business interests steadily expanded, including ownership of baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates from 1945 through 1985. Galbreath became a key figure in New York racing in the early 1950s. He oversaw the construction of the new Aqueduct Racetrack and was later involved in the extensive rebuilding of Belmont Park. Galbreath was elected to The Jockey Club in 1955 and got involved in the purchases of both Hialeah Park and Churchill Downs when those tracks faced economic and political issues.
Galbreath began acquiring property in Kentucky in the mid-1940s and bred a few stakes winners by 1950. In 1949, Galbreath bought the 650-acre core of Col. E. R. Bradley’s Idle Hour Farm and renamed it Darby Dan. The farm stood notable stallions such as Swaps, Ribot, Sword Dancer, Sea-Bird II, Graustark and His Majesty, among others. Darby Dan eventually produced champions Chateaugay, Primonetta, Little Current, Tempest Queen and Sunshine Forever, as well as Roberto, a champion in both Ireland and England and winner of the Epsom Derby. Both Chateaugay and Proud Clarion won the Kentucky Derby for Darby Dan and Little Current won the Preakness and Belmont. Another standout, Proud Truth, won the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Galbreath, who bred a total of 91 stakes winners, was the first person to breed and own both a Kentucky Derby winner and Epsom Derby winner. He was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder in 1974.
Hancock (1875-1957) established Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky., and developed it into an international leader in racing, breeding and sales. Hancock was born in Ellerslie, Va., where his father, Richard Johnson Hancock, owned Ellerslie Stud. In 1908, Arthur Hancock married Nancy Tucker Clay of Paris, Ky., who inherited a family farm they named Claiborne. Hancock expanded his father’s Ellerslie Stud to his wife’s Kentucky property and eventually transferred the bulk of his operation there. Hancock began importing significant breeding stock from Europe to the benefit of Claiborne, including four-time leading sire Sir Gallahad III, who sired 1930 Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox. In 1936, Hancock was part of a group that imported Epsom Derby winner Blenheim II, one of the most influential sires in the world. His greatest son was 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway. In 1944, Hancock purchased Princequillo, who was the leading sire in the U.S. in 1957 and 1958.
Overall, Hancock bred 138 stakes winners, including 10 champions. He was America’s leading breeder in races won eight times and in earnings five times. In addition to his own success as a breeder, Hancock advised on bloodstock for many prominent clients. Hancock was also active in numerous organizations within the racing industry, serving as president of the Thoroughbred Horse Association, trustee of the Keeneland Association upon its formation in 1936 and executive on the Kentucky State Racing Commission, among others. Hancock was the Thoroughbred Club of America’s Honored Guest in 1944. Upon his death in 1957 the English annual Bloodstock Breeders’ Review described Hancock as “probably the most influential breeder in the history of the American Turf.”
Headley (1888-1962), a native of Lexington, Ky., returned to his home state in 1908 from Princeton University to take over management of his family’s farms, Beaumont and La Belle. In 1912, Headley began to actively purchase horses for his own stable and throughout the next half-century became one of the foremost breeders in America. Headley bred the champions Alcibiades, Apogee, Menow and Askmenow among a total of 88 stakes winners between 1916 and 1953. Headley was one of the prime, and perhaps most important, of the original organizers of Keeneland Race Course. Thoroughbred racing in Lexington had suffered a hiatus of nearly a decade after the Kentucky Association track was shut down in 1927, ending more than a century of activity. Keeneland opened in the fall of 1936 with Headley serving as its first president, a post he held until 1951. To aid the track in its early years, Headley provided workers and mules from his own farm to help operations.
Headley was also instrumental in establishing the Breeders’ Sales Company in Lexington, which later became part of the Keeneland Association. He was also the first president of the Thoroughbred Horse Association, a forerunner of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. Headley was the Thoroughbred Club of America’s Honored Guest in 1941. Upon his death in 1962, The Blood-Horse stated: “In all-around mastery of the various aspects of thoroughbred racing and breeding, Hal Price Headley had no equal among his contemporaries.”
Morrissey (1831-1878) was born in Ireland and grew up in Troy, N.Y. He used sheer will and powerful fists to become an against-all-odds American success story and the originator of thoroughbred racing at Saratoga. An undefeated bare-knuckle boxing champion, Congressman and New York State Senator, Morrissey amassed a considerable fortune through ownership in various gambling houses in New York City and Saratoga. In 1863, Morrissey orchestrated Saratoga’s first formal thoroughbred race meeting at an old trotting course. The inaugural four-day meeting was described in The Spirit of the Times as a great success, laying “the foundation for a great fashionable race meeting at the Springs, like that at Ascot in England.” Morrissey built upon the foundational meeting by enlisting several prominent sportsmen to back his opening of Saratoga Race Course the following year.
Although he kept his name out of the track’s incorporation documents, Morrissey was anything but a silent partner. As Saratoga’s impresario, Morrissey led the track’s day-to-day operations and maintained an ownership interest until his death in 1878. Morrissey brought order, prestige and elite competition to Saratoga both during and after the Civil War. His leadership delivered the first truly organized sports schedule in the country and furthered the appeal of Saratoga Springs as a summer destination. The John Morrissey Stakes is run in his honor each summer at Saratoga and he is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Strub (1884-1958), a native of Hollister, Calif., was a prominent dentist who became involved in thoroughbred racing in 1933 when he was granted a license to build and operate a track in San Francisco under the management name of the St. Francis Jockey Club. The project, however, was abandoned and Strub instead partnered with filmmaker Hal Roach in developing the Los Angeles Turf Club and Santa Anita Park, which opened on Christmas Day 1934. It was there that the first of the famed “Hundred Granders,” the Santa Anita Handicap, was inaugurated. The race became known as the “Big Cap” and brought credibility and significant attention to racing in the Los Angeles area, which had been dormant for a quarter-century. Many of the top stables in the sport gravitated to Santa Anita under Strub’s leadership. Even though the country was suffering through the Great Depression during Santa Anita’s early years, the track thrived because of Strub’s abilities as a marketer and his relentless drive to attract top stars such as Seabiscuit.
Strub is credited with introducing several important innovations to American racing, including finish-line cameras, electronic timing and electronic starting gates. Strub also played professional baseball in the minors and later became a successful executive and owner of the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League while simultaneously leading Santa Anita. Strub was honored by the New York Turf Writers Association as “the man who did the most for racing” and by the Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association of America for “outstanding contributions to thoroughbred racing.”
William Collins Whitney (1841-1904) was a native of Conway, Mass. He graduated from Yale University and attended Harvard Law School before becoming involved in politics, including a stint as Secretary of the Navy under President Grover Cleveland. In 1896, after scaling back his political interests, Whitney was introduced to thoroughbred racing by August Belmont II and John E. Madden. Two years later, Whitney bought his first racehorse, Shillalah, one of the best jumpers of the era. In 1899, he purchased Jean Bereaud for $30,000 and won the Belmont and Withers with him in the name of his racing manager, Sydney Paget. Whitney then won the 1901 Epsom Derby with Volodyovski.
Whitney spearheaded the restoration of top-class racing at Saratoga after it had become diminished under previous leadership in the 1890s. Leading a syndicate of prominent owners, Whitney spent a half-million dollars to improve the track to return Saratoga to its former glory. He also promoted the transition of the key New York yearling sale to Saratoga from downstate and was involved in the creation of Belmont Park. Although his association with racing lasted less than a decade, Whitney bred 26 stakes winners and developed a broodmare band that impacted the sport for generations. He bred champions Artful, Tanya, Perverse and Tangle. Whitney was also instrumental in the establishment of Aiken, S.C., as a popular winter quarters for racing stables. Whitney’s racing stable topped the earnings list in 1901, 1903 and 1904, under lease to Herman B. Duryea in 1904 following Whitney’s death that February. Whitney’s bloodstock was auctioned off for a total of $463,650. His son, Harry Payne Whitney, purchased several of the top offerings and built upon his father’s legacy.
Harry Payne Whitney (1872-1930) was born in New York City and graduated from Yale. A world-class polo player, Whitney bought his first interest in a racehorse in 1902. He raced in partnership with Herman B. Duryea until purchasing much of the bloodstock of his late father at a dispersal sale in 1904. Those acquisitions, including the stallion Hamburg and several notable broodmares, served as the foundation for the most successful racing and breeding operation in America for more than a quarter-century. Whitney bred 192 stakes winners, including 20 champions. He was America’s leading breeder in earnings 11 times, including several years posthumously. Whitney was also America’s leading owner eight times.
The 20 champions bred by Whitney include Hall of Fame members Regret, the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby; Equipoise, a two-time Horse of the Year; Top Flight, champion filly as a juvenile and sophomore; and Whisk Broom II, Horse of the Year in 1913. Other champions bred by Whitney were Burgomaster, Cudgel, Diavolo, Dice, Johren, Maud Muller, Moisant, Mother Goose, Prudery, Rosie O’Grady, Stamina, Tryster, Vexatious, Whichone, Whiskaway and Whiskery. Whitney either bred or owned the winners of 12 Triple Crown races: Kentucky Derby winners Regret and Whiskery; Preakness winners Royal Tourist, Buskin, Holiday, Broomspun, Bostonian and Victorian; and Belmont winners Tanya, Burgomaster, Prince Eugene and Johren. Upon his death in 1930, Whitney’s Kentucky farm and bloodstock passed to his son, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, who continued to build upon the family’s influential legacy within the sport.
Cornelius Vanderbilt “Sonny” Whitney (1899-1992) was born in Roslyn, N.Y., and graduated from Yale. He served in the Army as a Second Lieutenant and flight instructor during World War I and volunteered for service in the Army Air Forces in World War II. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and Legion of Merit and later served under President Harry S. Truman as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force and Undersecretary of Commerce. A successful businessman, Whitney became involved in motion pictures with his cousin, John Hay Whitney, as a major shareholder in the Technicolor Corporation and financier of “Gone with the Wind” and other classic films.
Whitney followed the success of his father in both polo and thoroughbred racing. He won the U.S. Open polo title three times and became the third generation of his family involved in racing. Whitney acquired his father’s breeding stock and racing stable in 1930 and enjoyed immediate success with greats such as Equipoise and Top Flight. Whitney won the Belmont Stakes in 1947 with Phalanx and again in 1951 with Horse of the Year Counterpoint. He won the Travers with Fisherman (1954), Tompion (1960) and Chompion (1968). Whitney was one of the founders of the National Museum of Racing in 1950 and served as its first president. He also spent time as a director at Churchill Downs. Whitney bred five champions: Handcuff, First Flight, Counterpoint, Career Boy and Silver Spoon among a total of 176 stakes winners. He was the Thoroughbred Club of America’s Honored Guest in 1966 and was presented a Special Eclipse Award in 1984.
The Museum’s Pillars of the Turf Committee is comprised of D. G. Van Clief (chairman), Edward L. Bowen, Bob Curran, Jane Goldstein, Ken Grayson, Jay Hovdey, G. Watts Humphrey, Bill Marshall, Daisy Phipps Pulito, Barry Schwartz, Mary Simon, Stella Thayer and Gary West.