National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
National Museum of Racing.jpg
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
Established1951; 69 years ago (1951)
LocationSaratoga Springs, New York
TypeProfessional sports racingmuseum.org

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame was founded in 1951 in Saratoga Springs, New York, to honor the achievements of American Thoroughbred race horses, jockeys, and trainers. In 1955, the museum moved to its current location on Union Avenue near Saratoga race course, at which time inductions into the hall of fame began. Each spring, following the tabulation of the final votes, the announcement of new inductees is made, usually during Kentucky Derby Week in early May. The actual inductions are held in mid-August during the Saratoga race meeting.

The Hall of Fame's nominating committee selects eight to ten candidates from among the four Contemporary categories (male horse, female horse, jockey and trainer) to be presented to the voters. Changes in voting procedures that commenced with the 2010 candidates allow the voters to choose multiple candidates from a single Contemporary category, instead of a single candidate from each of the four Contemporary categories.[1] For example, in 2016, two female horses (Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta) were inducted at the same time.

The museum also houses a large collection of art, artifacts, and memorabilia that document the history of horse racing from the eighteenth century to the present.

History

The museum first opened its doors in 1951, at which time it occupied a single room in Saratoga's Canfield Casino. The establishment was supported by the city of Saratoga Springs, which donated $2,500, the Saratoga Racing Association, which donated $5,000, and various patrons of the sport, who also donated various pieces of art and memorabilia. The first item in the museum's collection was a horseshoe worn by the great Lexington.[2]

In 1955, the museum relocated to its current location on Union Avenue, close to the main entrance of Saratoga Race Course. Inductions into the hall of fame began at the same time. Since then, the museum has expanded several times to allow for the display of its extensive art collection and more multimedia displays on the history of the sport.[2]