News and STORIES
Todd Pletcher & American Pharoah To Be Inducted Into Hall of Fame
Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Thursday May 06, 2021
There was no great surprise this week when it was revealed that Todd Pletcher and American Pharoah would be inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame. Many believed that it was almost a certainty that the two stars would be inducted this year, as it was the first year that both were eligible for the honor.
As well as the two huge names, Jack Fisher will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame for his history of training steeplechase winners. Fisher was determined by the steeplechase review, which meets every four years to determine the star that they will opt to induct.
Pletcher Inducted Into Hall Of Fame
Pletcher was among the ten nominations that voters could vote for, but only he and American Pharoah reached the threshold required to gain an induction. That is most surprising given that there is no restriction on the number of votes that can be made. However, Pletcher’s induction is thoroughly deserved and comes just a week after he trained Malathaat to success in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
Pletcher has been one of the most successful trainers throughout his career and has recorded well over 5,000 wins. The 53-year-old has won the Eclipse Award on seven occasions, which includes a four-year spell when he won the award consecutively. His first Eclipse Award success came in 2004, which was his breakthrough year as a trainer. He trained Ashado to win the Kentucky Oaks that season and also won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff with the same filly. In 2004, he would also train the winner of the Champagne Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Since that breakthrough season, Pletcher’s dominance has only continued. Malathaat’s win in the Kentucky Oaks this year was his fourth success in that Grade 1. Meanwhile, he has also won the Haskell Invitational on three occasions, the Blue Grass Stakes three times and the Metropolitan Handicap twice. Furthermore, Pletcher has trained the winner of the Florida Derby on six occasions, including this year, and the Arkansas Derby winner on five occasions.
Triple Crown Success For Both Nominations
Both stars that will be inducted into the Hall of Fame have both won Triple Crown events throughout their career. Pletcher has trained the winner of the Kentucky Derby on two occasions and the winner of the Belmont Stakes three times. His most recent victories for both came in 2017. His win in that year’s Kentucky Derby came with Always Dreaming, while Tapwrit won the Belmont Stakes.
American Pharoah was also no stranger to Triple Crown success throughout his career. He ended a 37-year wait for a Triple Crown winner when he won the Belmont Stakes in 2015. His victory in that race was recorded by a wide five and a half-length victory and added to the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes that he had recorded earlier in the year. His 2015 campaign was one of the best that we have ever seen by a three-year-old, as he ended the campaign by winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic. That victory in the Breeders’ Cup also ensured that he was the first-ever Grand Slam champion.
In 2015, he also won the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby. His achievements as a three-year-old were honored as he was named the Horse of the Year for that calendar year. He was retired shortly after winning at the Breeders’ Cup and went to stud, as an agreement was already in place between Ashford Stud and owner Ahmed Zayat. Since his retirement, he has been honored with a statue at Oaklawn Park, and there is also a race called the American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita.