Thu, Jun 01, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Historic Review Committee selects Cougar II for Hall

AP , SARATOGA SPRINGS, NEW YORK

Jockey Bill Boland, trainer Carl Hanford and turf champion Cougar II were elected to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame on Tuesday as no contemporary nominees were selected.

The Historic Review Committee chose the inductees. The committee considers only nominees who haven't been in racing for 25 years or more.

Hanford trained five-time Horse of the Year Kelso. The 90-year-old Hanford was a jockey in the 1930s for about five years before becoming a trainer. In 1934, he rode the winning horse in the first race run at Suffolk Downs.

After a five year Army stint, Hanford went back to training and opened his own stable before being hired to manage Allaire du Pont's stable in 1960. While there, Hanford helped Kelso to a five-year reign as outstanding Thoroughbred in training and a career-earnings record of nearly US$2 million that stood until Affirmed broke it in 1979.

The horse, considered one of the best of the 20th century, won the Jockey Club Gold Cup five straight years.

"I just can't see myself with guys like Ben Jones and Preston Burch, those types of trainers, but I guess when you're the Horse of the Year five years in a row, you might have to be considered," Hanford said in a statement.

Boland, a native Texan who now lives in Florida, was a 16-year-old apprentice when he rode Middleground to victory in the 1950 Kentucky Derby, just the second apprentice jockey to win the Derby. Middleground was second in the Preakness and won the Belmont that year. Before retiring as a jockey in 1969, Boland rode nearly 2,000 winners. He later worked as a trainer and New York state Racing Association official.

"I was the most surprised guy in the world," the 72-year-old Boland said of his selection. "I read something in the paper that there were 10 or 15 jockey nominations, and my name wasn't on there, so it was a complete surprise."

Cougar II, son of Tale of Two Cities out of the Madara mare Cindy Lou, was purchased by Mary Jones Bradley on the advice of her trainer, Charlie Whittingham. The Chilean-bred horse won the Century Handicap at Hollywood Park in May 1973, becoming the first foreign-bred millionaire in American racing history.

Cougar II had his turf championship season in 1972, winning the Century Handicap, the Oak Tree Invitational and the Carlton F. Burke Handicap, while coming in second in the San Juan Capistrano. On dirt, he was second in the Santa Anita Handicap and the San Pasqual, and was third in the San Antonio. He won the Santa Anita in 1973.

Ten days after his awful breakdown in the Preakness Stakes, Barbaro is progressing so well even his surgeon is impressed, though he conceded the colt will have a "hitch in his giddyup."

After initially saying the Kentucky Derby winner's chance for survival was a "coin-toss" -- 50-50 -- Dr. Dean Richardson was happy to amend it.

"I was going to call a news conference to say it's officially 51 percent," the surgeon said, smiling. "Seriously, every day that goes by is a big day."

"He will never be able to do a dressage test. He won't be able to gallop, he won't be able to jump. He will have, at the very best, a hitch in his giddyup," Richardson said during a news conference at the University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals.

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