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Mar 06, 2015

Finalists announced for 2015 Racing Hall of Fame class


Saratoga Springs, NY ( - Former Horse of the Year Black Tie Affair and two-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Lava Man headline the 10 finalists on this year's National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame ballot.

The four candidates with the highest vote totals will be elected with results of the voting on contemporary candidates to be announced Monday, April 20.

Other finalists include jockeys Chris Antley, Victor Espinoza, Corey Nakatani and Craig Perret; horses Kona Gold and Xtra Heat and trainers King Leatherbury and David Whiteley.

Black Tie Affair was the 1991 Horse of the Year with wins that season in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Stephen Foster, Michigan Mile, Cornhusker, Iselin Handicap, Washington Park Handicap and the Commonwealth Stakes. He concluded his racing career with 18 wins in 45 starts and $3,370,694. Black Tie Affair was trained by Walter Reese at age 2 and Ernie Poulos for the remainder of his career.

Lava Man, trained by Doug O'Neill, won the Big 'Cap in 2006 and 2007 along with three consecutive Hollywood Gold Cups from 2005 through 2007. In 2006 he also won the Pacific Classic at Del Mar to complete the Triple Crown of California's major stakes for older horses. Lava Man earned $5,268,706 with 17 wins from 47 career starts.

Kona Gold, trained and co-owned by Bruce Headley, was 2000 champion sprinter after winning that year's Breeders' Cup Sprint. Kona Gold finished his racing career with 14 wins in 30 starts for $2,293,384.

Xtra Heat was voted the Eclipse Award as 2001 champion 3-year-old filly. Co- owned and trained by John Salzman Sr., Xtra Heat posted 26 wins from 35 starts for $2,389,635.

Antley, who died in 2000 at age 34, rode Charismatic to victory in the 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and was aboard the 3-year-old when he finished third in the Belmont Stakes but suffered an injury. Antley also won the Run for the Roses with Strike the Gold in 1991. The jockey earned $92,261,894 with 3,480 wins.

Espinoza is the current jockey for reigning Horse of the Year California Chrome. Last year, rider and horse won the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The pair would finish third in the Breeders' Cup Classic and capture the Hollywood Derby. Espinoza has won 3,188 races through Feb. 24 and ranks 19th all time in earnings with $171,130,260.

Nakatani has won 3,766 races and ranks 11th all-time in earnings with $224,484,846 through Feb. 24. He has won 10 Breeders' Cup races and was the rider of Lava Man.

Perret retired from race riding with 4,415 wins and earnings of $113,837,299. He won the 1990 Kentucky Derby with Unbridled and that year was the Eclipse Award winner as champion jockey.

Leatherbury is a legend in Maryland racing. The trainer won his first race in Florida in 1959 and currently ranks fourth all time with 6,449 wins and has career earnings of $62,792,375. Leatherbury currently trains Ben's Cat, whom he bred and owns, and who has won 22 stakes and $2.3 million.

Whiteley, the son of Hall of Fame trainer Frank Whiteley Jr., won 678 races and earned $11,837,823 in a 26-year career. He trained 1976 champion 3-year- old filly Revidere, 1979 champion mare Waya and 1980 champion female turf horse Just a Game.

The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Friday, Aug. 7 at 10:30 a.m. ET and is free and open to the public.

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