Champion Royal Delta, jockey Craig Perret and industry stalwarts James E. “Ted” Bassett III and William S. Farish are among the 2019 inductees in the Racing Hall of Fame with Keeneland connections. The inductees were announced Monday by the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Trained by Bill Mott, Royal Delta captured a Keeneland allowance during the 2011 Spring Meet in her third career start. She went on to win that year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1) (now the Distaff) and earn the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly.
A few days after her 2011 Breeders’ Cup win, Royal Delta sold for $8.5 million at Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale as part of the dispersal of Palides Investments N.V. Inc. for which Chanteclair Farm was agent. Her buyer was Ben Leon’s Besilu Stables, who spent a Keeneland record for the highest amount paid for a horse in training and the eighth-highest price for a horse of any age in Keeneland history.
Leon returned Royal Delta to Mott, and she won the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic a second time. She was honored as champion older mare in 2012 and 2013.
By Empire Maker, Royal Delta won 12 races from 22 starts and earned $4,811,126 from 2010-2013. She won nine graded stakes, including six Grade 1 events.
Perret, who rode from 1967-2005, won 4,415 races, including 245 races at Keeneland. His 32 Keeneland stakes victories include the 1976 Spinster (G1) on Optimistic Gal and the 1992 Ashland (G1) on Prospectors Delite.
North America’s leading apprentice jockey by earnings in 1967 (prior to the Eclipse Awards), Perret won the 1990 Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey. His wins included the 1987 Belmont (G1) on Bet Twice, denying Alysheba the Triple Crown, and the 1990 Kentucky Derby (G1) on Unbridled. His other notable wins include four Breeders’ Cup races as well as two runnings of both the Travers (G1) and Queen’s Plate.
Bassett and Farish were selected as Pillars of the Turf.
Bassett began working for the Keeneland Association in 1968, initially as the assistant to Louis Lee Haggin II. In 1969, he became Keeneland’s President, serving in that capacity until 1986, when he became Chairman of the Board. In 2003, Bassett became a Keeneland Trustee. He now holds the title of Trustee Emeritus and remains a beloved figure at Keeneland.
From 1988-1996, Bassett served as the President of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. A member of The Jockey Club, he is a Past President of Thoroughbred Racing Associations of America. He formerly served as a Trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, University of Kentucky Equine Research Foundation and Transylvania University. He also served as Chairman of Equibase and the Kentucky Horse Park.
Bassett received the Eclipse Award of Merit in 1996 and the Lord Derby Award in 1998. Further, he is an Honorary Member of the Victoria Racing Club of Australia, the Hong Kong Race Horse Owners Association and the Association of Jockey Clubs of Latin America.
Farish recently retired as a Keeneland Trustee, a position he had held since 2006.
Farish owns 2,300-acre Lane’s End Farm, recognized as one of the world’s leading breeding operations and a successful consignor at Keeneland sales. A two-time Eclipse Award winner for outstanding breeder (1992, 1999), Farish served as the Chairman of the Board of Churchill Downs from 1992-2001 and won the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2009.
Farish has campaigned more than 165 stakes winners and Lane’s End has bred more than 300 stakes winners, including Horse of the Year winners A.P. Indy, Charismatic and Mineshaft, and champion Lemon Drop Kid.
Farish has been a Steward and Vice Chairman of The Jockey Club, a Director and Chairman of the executive committee of the Breeders’ Cup and a Keeneland Director. In 2001, he was appointed by President George W. Bush as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom and served in the role for three years.
The 2019 class includes a total of 16 people and horses who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 2.