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Romero heads new Hall of Fame inductees in US

USA: Former jockey Randy Romero and equine heroes Best Pal, Azeri and Point Given have been named as this year's inductees to the Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga Springs, New York.

This new class will be inductedinto the Hall of Fame in Saratoga on August 13

Romero, 52, retired in 1999 with 4,292 victories from 26,091 mounts, among them 122 graded stakes for career earnings of $75.2 million.

Among the Cajun-born rider's many outstanding mounts were the unbeaten filly Personal Ensign and the ill-fated Go For Wand.

Personal Ensign closed out her career a perfect 13-for-13 with a last-stride decision over that year's Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors inthe 1998 8reeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs.

Go For Wand lost her life in a spectacular spill in the Distaff at Belmont Park just a few years later, severely injuring Romero.

Earlier in his career Romero, whose family was depicted in the motion picture Casey's Shadow, was badly burned in a hot box [sauna] accident at Oaklawn Park.

In recent years he has suffered from kidney failure due to all the medications he has taken during his riding career.

Best Pal won 18 of his 47 career starts and earned $5.6m and is one of only four horses to have won the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup and Strub Stakes.

He also won the Pacific Classic in 1991 and was second in the Kentucky Derby; he won at least one graded stakes every season from age two through to seven.

With 17 wins from 24 starts, Azeri was the all-time leading female earner at the time of her retirement with almost $4.1m to her name.

She was voted Horse of the Year in 2002 and was a divisional championthree years running, from 2002 through 2004, in a fantastic career during which she was mainly handled by trainer Laura De Seroux, for whom she won 14 of her first 15 races.

The Bob Baffert-trained Point Given won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 2001 after being beaten into fifth as the favourite in the Kentucky Derby.

He earned $3.9m while winning nine of 13 career starts and was voted Horse of the Year and divisional champion in 2001, when he also included the Haskell Invitational and Travers Stakes among his victories.


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