Eight new names, including legendary jockey Bill Hartack, were added to the Hall of Fame at Charles Town Races in December. The group covers past, present, human and equine and brings the Hall’s total list of honorees to 40.
The 2012 class, officially inducted in December, includes:
Bill Hartack (Distinguished Achievement): One of the most prolific jockeys in the history of American racing, he began his career at Charles Town in 1949 and rode his first winner at Waterford Park in 1952. He led all riders in wins during Charles Town’s 1952 meet and, by his third season, was the country’s leading jockey. Included in his 4,272 winners are five victories in the Kentucky Derby, three in the Preakness and one in the Belmont Stakes.
Cortan (Horse): Known for his Mid-Atlantic rivalry with fellow Charles Town Hall of Famer Jiva Coolit, Cortan won 28 of his 60 career starts for owner/breeder Charles Russell and trainer Bob Rawlings. The son of Illustrious was known for his versatility – winning at distances from 31?2 furlongs to 11?16 miles.
Dr. Dale Keyser (Distinguished Achievement): The long-time practicing veterinarian in Jefferson County originally came to Charles Town for an internship with fellow 2012 inductee Dr. William Trussell. Keyser went on to be an official for the West Virginia Racing Commission and Department of Agriculture prior to his passing in 2008.
Eddie Maple (Jockey): He won his first race at 17 aboard Swami at Charles Town in 1966 as his career began in Ohio and West Virginia before moving to New Jersey and New York. Maple rode 4,398 winners, captured two Belmont Stakes in a career that ended in 1998 and, like Hartack, is in the National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame.
Jeff Runco (Industry): Following his start as a jockey, he made the switch to training in the mid-1980s. At the time of his 3,000th victory as a trainer in April 2011, Runco stood as one of only eight trainers in American racing with 3,000 wins and a winning percentage of 20 percent or higher. Included in those wins are two Charles Town Classics with Researcher and three tallies in the West Virginia Breeders Classic.
Onion Juice (Horse): Owned and trained by Buck Woodson, the local hero won 27 of 65 lifetime starts in a career that spanned from his 2-year-old season in 1982 through 1988. While eight wins came in stakes, none was bigger than the inaugural running of the West Virginia Breeders Classic in 1987. He amassed $226,715 in career earnings.
William R. Lewis Jr. (Jockey): He had a decorated riding career that included 2,647 wins, the last coming in 2009. He won four races in the West Virginia Breeders Classics, including the 1987 Classic aboard Onion Juice.
Dr. William Trussell (Industry): Born in Charles Town in 1907, the well-known veterinarian in Jefferson County practiced for more than a half century. In addition, he served as the track veterinarian at Charles Town and Shenandoah Downs from 1934-’71.