Stretching from Kentucky's win in 1864's inaugural Travers Stakes to Heavenly Prize's otherworldly victory in the 1995 John Morris Stakes, Saratoga's new Hoofprints Walk of Fame covers not quite all of the track's 150 years of history. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, where the monument doesn't fall short, is its promise to provide a cross section of the greatest thoroughbreds to ever race at the Spa.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Owned by Sally Jeffords' ancestors, War Admiral ended up on the wrong side of history in the famed 1938 match race against the legendary Seabiscuit.
"That race was never mentioned in my house because he lost,” Jeffords said Friday. “It wasn't until I was much older I realized what a big race it was. It was never discussed."
More than 70 years later, the 1937 Triple Crown winner finally got the best of “The Biscuit” when he was inducted into the new Hoofprints Walk of Fame, unveiled Friday at Saratoga Race Course.
"I think this is really where the racing and the history of racing in the United States is, is in Saratoga," said Jeffords, who attended the ceremony Friday.
The inaugural class features 30 of the greatest horses to run at Saratoga. Among them, titans of the sport: Four Triple Crown winners (Affirmed, Secretariat, War Admiral, Whirlaway) and 14 victors of Saratoga’s Travers Stakes.
"The horses are what made Saratoga famous,” said John Hendrickson, honorary co-chair of the Saratoga 150 Committee. “We'd like to think it's the people, but it's the horses that put their life on the line every day."
"Saratoga, from the start in the 1860s, attracted some of the best owners, trainers and horses in the world,” said Michael Veitch, chair of the Hoofprints Walk of Fame selection committee. “That's one of the remarkable stories about Saratoga."
Located in front of the Clubhouse entrance, the Walk of Fame offers more than just a welcome to racing fans. It's a chance to embrace the storied history of a track that embodies greatness.
"I think all 30 are great, deserving members of this class," said Veitch, who initially set out to honor just 15 horses, but determined too many great thoroughbreds would have been left off the list.
"People have been coming here year after year after year and it keeps getting better as far as I'm concerned," said Jeffords, whose family also owned Man o’ War, one of the other honorees.
Saratoga Race Course Hoofprints Walk of Fame Inaugural Class
- Alydar (Travers Winner)
- Chief's Crown (Travers Winner)
- Duke of Magenta (Travers Winner)
- Easy Goer (Travers Winner)
- Eight Thirty (Travers Winner)
- Emperor of Norfolk
- Go for Wand
- Granville (Travers Winner)
- Harry Bassett (Travers Winner)
- Heavenly Prize
- Henry of Navarre (Travers Winner)
- Kentucky (Travers Winner)
- Lady's Secret
- Man o' War (Travers Winner)
- Native Dancer (Travers Winner)
- Roamer (Travers Winner)
- Ruthless (Travers Winner)
- Sky Beauty
- Tom Fool
- Top Flight
- War Admiral
- Whirlaway (Travers Winner)