Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who concluded his history-making career with a victory at Keeneland in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), and Todd Pletcher, the track’s all-time leading trainer by stakes wins, were announced today as members of the National Museum of Racing’s 2021 Hall of Fame class. American Pharoah and Pletcher were elected in the contemporary category in their first year of eligibility.
American Pharoah ended Thoroughbred racing’s 37-year Triple Crown drought when he swept the Kentucky Derby (G1), Preakness (G1) and Belmont (G1) six years ago. The son of Pioneerof the Nile made the final start of his career at Keeneland during the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, winning the Classic by 6½ lengths and setting a track record of 2:00.07 for 1¼ miles. For winning the Triple Crown and Classic, he became the first horse to capture the sport’s unofficial “Grand Slam.”
Pletcher, who served as an assistant to Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas from 1989-1995, went out on his own in 1996 and sent out his first Keeneland winner during that year’s Fall Meet. Since then, he has earned seven Eclipse Awards as North America’s outstanding trainer and has conditioned more than 5,100 winners and the earners of a record $405.7 million.
Pletcher has won a Keeneland record 59 stakes. Two of those wins came during the 2021 Spring Meet: Central Bank Ashland (G1) with Malathaat and Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association with Jouster.
His 243 wins at Keeneland place him fourth on the list of the track’s all-time leading trainers by victories behind Lukas (295 wins), Bill Mott (286) and Rusty Arnold (284). Pletcher has earned five Keeneland training titles.
The class of 2021 will be enshrined along with the 2020 inductees, which include Keeneland-based Horse of the Year Wise Dan and influential horsewoman Alice Headley Chandler, on Aug. 6 in Saratoga Springs, New York.