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May 22, 2015

Pillars of the Turf honorees announced


Saratoga Springs, NY ( - The National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame announced Wednesday that Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt and John Hay Whitney are the third group of inductees for the Pillars of the Turf category.

Pillars of the Turf recognizes people who have played important parts in the sport of thoroughbred racing.

Vanderbilt and Whitney join previously announced 2015 Hall of Fame inductees racehorses Lava Man, Xtra Heat and Billy Kelly; jockeys Chris Antley and Vincent Powers; and trainer King Leatherbury. The induction ceremony will take place in Saratoga Springs on Friday, Aug. 7.

Beginning at age 21, Vanderbilt became a major figure in the sport for seven decades of the 20th century. His first major horse was future Hall of Fame member Discovery.

He purchased and took over management of Pimlico Race Course while in his 20s and was elected to The Jockey Club at age 24 in 1937. Along with Discovery, Vanderbilt raced champions Next Move, Bed o' Roses, Now What, Petrify and the great Native Dancer. Native Dancer won the 1953 Preakness and Belmont Stakes after finishing second in the Kentucky Derby.

Vanderbilt was born in 1912 in London and died at the age of 87 in 1999.

Whitney, an owner, breeder and leader of the sport for more than a half- century, was described by racing journalist Kent Hollingsworth as being "as close to royalty as American racing ever had."

Whitney's first major winner in America was Singing Wood, winner of the Futurity at Belmont Park in 1933. He was appointed to the racing commission in 1934 when New York racing was reorganized.

Capot, racing for Whitney's Greentree Stable, was named 1949 Horse of the Year after winning the Preakness, Belmont Stakes and Pimlico Special.

Whitney owned future Hall of Famer Tom Fool who went on to win all 10 of his races as a 4-year-old in 1953, including the Metropolitan, Suburban, Brooklyn, Whitney and Carter handicaps, and Pimlico Special. Tom Fool was named 1953 Horse of the Year.

Whitney died in 1982 at the age of 77.

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