Velazquez, Gomez join Hall finalists

Jockeys Calvin Borel, John Velazquez and Garrett Gomez, and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer were named Wednesday for the first time as finalists for the National Racing Museum’s Hall of Fame.

This year’s nominations are rounded out by six previous finalists: jockey Alex Solis; trainers Gary Jones and Robert Wheeler; and thoroughbreds Open Mind, Safely Kept and Sky Beauty.

Borel has won three of the past four runnings of the Kentucky Derby, last year on Super Saver, and has 4,815 career wins. Among them was a string of stakes victories on 2009 Horse of the year Rachel Alexandra.

Velazquez led all North American riders in earnings in 2004 and 2005, winning Eclipse Awards as outstanding jockey both years. His 4,483 wins include a record 65 at Saratoga Race Course in 2004, and he ranks fourth all-time in purse earnings.

Gomez led all riders in earnings from 2006 through 2009, winning a record 76 stakes races in 2007, and Eclipse Awards in 2007 and 2008.

Hollendorfer has been the leading trainer in Northern California since the mid-1980s, and has won training championships at every meeting in the Bay Area from 1986 through 2008.

The finalists were chosen from among 80 contemporary candidates whose names were suggested by industry participants. The inductees will be announced on May 13 and the induction ceremony is set for Aug. 11.

The hall’s Historic Review Committee is considering candidates whose careers ended more than 25 years ago.

The other nominees have been considered in past years.

Solis won the Preakness, Santa Anita Derby, Florida Derby and Jersey Derby with Snow Chief and the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup with Pleasantly Perfect.

Wheeler, who died in 1992, trained 56 stakes winners, including Silver Spoon, the co-champion 3-year-old filly of 1959.

Jones twice won the Santa Anita Handicap and trained 1986 Champion Older Male Turkoman.

Open Mind was champion 2-year-old filly in 1988, Safely Kept won 24 of her 31 starts in a four-year career and Sky Beauty won 15 of 21 starts.

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