Justify, Gun Runner and Rosario all in Hall Of Fame

Nine new members have been chosen for the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame's 2024 class, including jockey Joel Rosario and racehorses Gun Runner and Justify in the contemporary category. They were elected in their first year of eligibility. The induction ceremony will be held on Friday, Aug. 2, at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs at 10:30 a.m. and will be broadcast live on the Museum's website.

Joel Rosario, 39, from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, has had a remarkable career since 2003, winning 3,604 races and ranking fourth all-time in North American purse earnings with $318,313,804. He has claimed 15 Breeders' Cup races, including the Classic with champion Accelerate and Horse of the Year Knicks Go. Rosario's impressive resume also includes victories in prestigious races like the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.

Gun Runner, bred in Kentucky by Besilu Stables, had a standout career from 2015 to 2018, winning accolades such as the Eclipse Awards for Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male in 2017. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Gun Runner's achievements include Grade 1 victories in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Woodward, Whitney, and Stephen Foster.

Justify, a chestnut colt bred in Kentucky by John D. Gunther, made history as America's 13th Triple Crown winner in 2018. Trained by Bob Baffert, Justify won all six of his career starts, including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes. His achievements earned him the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male in 2018.

The class of 2024 also includes historic figures like jockey Abe Hawkins and racehorses Aristides and Lecomte. Hawkins, known as "The Black Prince" and the first Black athlete to gain national prominence, achieved fame in the pre- and post-Civil War years for his remarkable riding skills.

Aristides, bred in Kentucky by H. P. McGrath, won the inaugural Kentucky Derby in 1875 and is retrospectively acknowledged as the champion 3-year-old male of that year. Lecomte, another chestnut colt bred in Kentucky by Gen. Thomas Jefferson Wells, set records and achieved notable victories in the mid-19th century.

The contributions of Pillars of the Turf Committee selections Harry F. Guggenheim, Clement L. Hirsch, and Joe Hirsch also highlight the diverse impact on the sport. Guggenheim, a prominent figure in publishing, mining, and philanthropy, made significant contributions as an owner, breeder, and industry leader. Clement L. Hirsch, known for his successful racing horses and as the co-founder and President of the Oak Tree Racing Association, left a lasting legacy in the sport. Joe Hirsch, a prolific journalist, and influential figure in horse racing media, used his platform to become one of the sport's greatest ambassadors.

Overall, the 2024 Hall of Fame class reflects the rich history and diverse contributions that have shaped horse racing into the sport it is today.

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