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Croll, Cauthen Elected to Hall of Fame

May 05, 1994|BILL CHRISTINE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Trainer Jimmy Croll, jockey Steve Cauthen and champion sprinter Ta Wee, all with connections to Kentucky Derby favorite Holy Bull, have been elected to the Racing Hall of Fame.

Polling of 100 turf writers was announced Wednesday at Churchill Downs. Others elected were Arts And Letters, horse of the year in 1969; Eight Thirty, a top handicap horse in the early 1940s, and Flatterer, the champion steeplechase horse from 1984-1987.

Croll trains Holy Bull, Cauthen was the regular rider of Great Above, the sire of the colt, and Ta Wee was Great Above's dam.

Because of his pedigree, which consists mostly of sprinters, Holy Bull is considered vulnerable in Saturday's Derby, a 1 1/4-mile race. Cauthen said he was leaning toward picking Strodes Creek to win.

"Great Above was a high-priced claiming horse who got good," Cauthen said. "But he was strictly a sprinter."

Cauthen was 18 when he rode Affirmed to victories in the 1978 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, sweeping the Triple Crown. The next year he went to England, where he won the Epsom Derby with Slip Anchor and Reference Point. He also won the French Derby, the Irish Derby and the Italian Derby. Cauthen retired in 1992 and is now associate vice president of Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

At a news conference at Churchill Downs, Croll, 74, was emotional after the announcement.

Asked if the Hall of Fame honor made his week, Croll said: "It's a good start."

Besides Holy Bull, other important horses trained by Croll include Mr. Prospector, Bet Twice and Housebuster.

Arts And Letters finished second to Majestic Prince in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, then won the Belmont, the Travers and the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Ta Wee was a filly who frequently beat males, one of those occasions being the Fall Highweight Handicap at Belmont Park under 140 pounds in 1970.

The Hall of Fame inductions are scheduled for Aug. 8 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

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