A Quiet Home of Racing Champions in Aiken
By Mary Perdue
Many racing fans might be surprised to learn that 40 champions have spent significant part of their training career in historic Aiken, SC. The Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame Museum, located inside the city’s historic Hopelands Gardens, features trophies, photos, news clippings and other memorabilia from noteworthy greats, including 2013 Belmont Stakes (GI) winner Palace Malice.
Additional exhibits feature champions Midshipman, Pleasant Colony, Swale, Shuvee, Lamb Chop, Gamely, Kelso and Hawaii, among many others.
Since 1971, inductees into the museum’s Hall of Fame must have won an Eclipse Award and spent at least part of their training career in Aiken. This year’s inductee is champion filly Curalina.
The second floor of the museum includes historical artifacts on steeplechase racing, including a 1937 handwritten letter from then 8-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier (eventually Kennedy, the wife of President John F. Kennedy) to rider Lib Maloney, who broke her collarbone riding Bouvier family horse Stepaside at that year’s Deerskill Horse Show.
To learn more about champions who trained in Aiken, pre-order “Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Champions,” by Lisa J. Hall, to be released April 10 on amazon.com
For more information on the museum visit www.aikenracinghalloffame.co