Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Millerick, Pierce named to Hall of Fame
By Matt Hegarty
Daily Racing Form
Trainer Michael "Buster" Millerick, jockey Don Pierce, and Harry Bassett, a horse who was a champion in 1870 and 1871, have been elected to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame through the organization's historic review process, the Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday.
The three inductees were approved by the Hall of Fame's 12-member Historic Review Committee, which is chaired by Edward L. Bowen. They will be inducted on Aug. 13 at a ceremony in Saratoga Springs, along with the horses Azeri, Best Pal, and Point Given, and jockey Randy Romero, who were elected earlier this year through the Hall's contemporary voting process.
Harry Bassett won three of four starts at 2, and won all nine of his starts as a 3-year-old, including the Belmont Stakes. He was named champion 2-year-old in 1870 and champion 3-year-old the next year, and then pushed his winning streak to 14 races in his 4-year-old year before losing the Monmouth Cup to Longfellow, another Hall of Famer. Though he tailed off later in his career, he retired with 23 wins from 36 starts, with 5 seconds and 3 thirds.
Based on the West Coast, Millerick trained Hall of Fame member Native Diver, one of the most popular horses ever to race in California and a winner of 37 races, including 34 stakes, from 81 starts, with career earnings of just over $1 million when he retired in 1967. In total, Millerick trained 54 stakes winners and won 1,886 races over a 50-year career, while taking the training titles multiple times at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, and Del Mar.
Don Pierce, who rode for 30 years, from 1954 to 1984, was one of the most sought-after riders in his prime. Though he rode primarily in California, and won the most prestigious stakes races on the Southern California circuit multiple times, he also took a riding title at Belmont Park. He won the George Woolf Memorial Award in 1967, and retired with 3,546 wins from 28,740 mounts and purse earnings of $39 million.