Eclipse Award-winning sprinter and three-time Florida Stallion Stakes winner Big Drama, south Florida riding stalwart Eduardo Nunez, and top-five all-time Calder trainer Dan Hurtak were among the nine new members to the Calder Hall of Fame announced at the FTBOA Awards Gala in Ocala on March 11.
“Our nine inductees have played important roles in Florida racing, and their achievements both at Calder and on a national level have propelled them from greatness to legendary status,” Vice President and General Manager of Racing John Marshall said.
Joining Big Drama in the Calder Hall of Fame is the millionaire turf warrior Soldier’s Dancer, a Calder turf stakes winner at the ages of two, three, four, and five; along with the brilliant but fleeting filly Three Ring, a two-time Florida Stallion Stakes heroine that won the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes as a three-year-old and was the third-place finisher in the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Jose Santos, who began his U.S. riding career at Calder in 1984 and currently ranks third in all-time stakes wins at the Tropical Meet, will join longtime local rider Nunez as part of the Class of 2013 jockey inductees; while Kathleen O’Connell, the only female trainer to win a training title at Calder, will become the first female conditioner inducted to the Calder Hall of Fame when joining Hurtak, a five-time leading local trainer, in enshrinement.
Prominent owners and breeders at Calder for many years, Bernard and Bea Oxenberg, best known for the successful exploits of their two-time Carl Rose Classic and Spend A Buck Handicap-winning homebred Best of the Rest, received the most votes in Hall of Fame balloting and will be honored alongside Fred and Jane Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm, Inc., who in tandem with trainer Stanley Gold dominated the Florida Stallion Stakes from 2010 – 2012, winning 11 of the 18 events during that span, including series sweeps by Awesome Feather, Jackson Bend, and Fort Loudon.
The Calder Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will be recognized at Calder Casino & Race Course on Saturday, April 13.