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April 3rd, 2013

Hoofprints Walk of Fame honors thoroughbreds

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and the Saratoga 150 Committee today announced 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 Saratoga Hoofprints Walk of Fame will honor 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 celebrates the 150th anniversary of thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course.

Saratoga 150 Committee Honorary Chairs Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson were joined by Committee Chairman Charles Wait and several senior executives from NYRA to announce the inaugural class of honorees today at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs. The inductees were announced during a live draw utilizing the Whitney family trophy won by Equipoise in the 1932 Whitney Handicap.

"Celebrating 150 years since the birth 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 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 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 Hoofprints Walk of Fame will be installed in the walkway outside the Clubhouse gates at Saratoga Race Course and will feature an inaugural class of 30 horses. Each thoroughbred will be honored on a granite plaque alongside the names of its sire, dam, owner, trainer, and jockey. The plaques will also feature the horse’s year of birth and signature wins at Saratoga Race Course.

The project is a collaborative effort between NYRA, the Saratoga 150 Committee and the National Museum of Racing. It will be unveiled in advance of the 2013 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course.

The selection committee was led by 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.

The selection committee is rounded out by Allan Carter, librarian of the National Museum of Racing, and author and historian Ed Bowen, 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 on an annual basis, through the National Museum of Racing.

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