Saturday, January 20, 2024

Hall of Fame rolled to a 10 ¼-length maiden special weight win Saturday at Fair Grounds, earning the 3-year-old Gun Runner colt a TDN Rising Star tag and a start in the Feb. 17 Risen Star S. (G2) at the New Orleans racetrack.

In what was his first try around two turns, Hall of Fame broke well and made his way to the inside rail as he rounded the first turn. He was less than a length behind pacesetter Funnyflame after a half-mile in :46.76. That pair pulled well clear of the field around the final bend, then as the entered the homestretch, Hall of Fame pulled away with authority and won under a hand ride.

His final time of 1:44.27 for 1 1/16 miles was nearly a half-second faster than Track Phantom’s clocking (1:44.73) in the featured  Lecomte S. (G3) later on the card.

“Hall of Fame is as advertised,” trainer Steve Asmussen, himself a Hall of Famer, said. “As a $1.4 million yearling, he’s impeccably bred and a beautiful individual with a tremendous amount of talent. I do expect him to run back in the Risen Star.”

Hall of Fame is owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor, Derrick Smith, Westerberg, Gandharvi LLC & Rocket Ship Racing, LLC. The flashy chestnut sold at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearlings sale for the aforementioned $1.4 million. He was one of seven $1 million-plus yearlings by Gun Runner in 2022

Hall of Fame was bred in Kentucky by Earl Mack LLC and is the first foal out of the unraced Flag Day, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed Street Ready.

Gun Runner holds a strong hand on this year’s road to the Kentucky Derby (G1). Hall of Fame and Remsen S. (G2) runner-up Sierra Leone are both entered in the $400,000 Risen Star S. (G2) at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17, while Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Locked is training for his first start of 2024 in south Florida with Todd Pletcher.