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Oriental Park Hall of Fame

Calder Race Course and the Oriental Park Hall of Fame

The significance of the Oriental Park Hall of Fame at Calder Race Course may be lost on some of the present generation, but among horsemen from the top echelon down to the stable help, it is understood and appreciated.

Oriental Park is a link between the past and the present because, before the Communist regime of Fidel Castro in Cuba, Oriental Park was the developing ground for many of today’s finest trainers and former jockeys.

The plush course, located in Marianao – about seven miles from the heart of Havana, opened January 14, 1915, and was known as the “millionaire’s paradise.” It was the winter mecca for Americans and American horses until major winter racing began at Hialeah Park.

Racing stopped completely in 1959 when Castro took over the government controls.

What was Cuba’s loss was North America’s gain as the top Cuban trainers and jockeys shifted their operations to tracks in the United States and Canda.

Calder Race Course, in recognition of the achievements of these trainers and jockeys, as well as officials, owners and breeders, initiated a Hall of Fame in 1979.

An Oriental Park Hall of Fame committee, consisting of an accomplished group of Cuban horsemen, selects and honors the inductees.  Commemorative plaques hang on the Oriental Park "Wall of Fame" on the second floor of the Calder grandstand.