1998 Thoroughbred Racing Hall Of Fame Inductees
Ansel Williamson, the onetime slave who trained the first winner of the Kentucky Derby in 1875, was inducted into the thoroughbred Hall of Fame today as a legend of racing's past. He was joined by 45-year-old Bill Mott, who saddled Cigar and is a legend of the present, the youngest trainer ever enshrined. ''It came awfully early in life,'' Mott said, sounding a bit awed. ''It was never planned; it was never expected.'' Racing put its best foot forward for its 43d annual ceremony, which attracted a standing-room crowd of 1200 under a tent pitched on a field next to the National Museum of Racing across Union Avenue from the Saratoga Race Course, which is booming in its 130th year. Dozens of famous trainers and jockeys of the past sat together as footnotes to history, applauding the six racing figures being honored. Besides Williamson and Mott, they were Jacinto Vasquez, the jockey who rode 5231 winners, won the Kentucky Derby twice and won 268 stakes races, and three celebrated horses: Riva Ridge, the stablemate of Secretariat and the juvenile champion of 1971, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes in 1972; Bayakoa, the Argentine filly, who became a double champion in the United States by winning 16 of her 21 starts in 1989 and 1990, and Fort Marcy, three times a champion on grass and Horse of the Year for his exploits in 1970. They brought the Hall of Fame roster to 77 jockeys, 71 trainers and 154 horses. But few have been honored as early as Bill ...
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