Tommy Oliphant Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Announces 2002 Inductees

The Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame announced the 2002 inductees in a special ceremony at Retama Park after the $25,000 Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Stakes on Friday, June 21. Initiated in 1999, the Hall of Fame's chief role is to preserve the rich history of the sport of horse racing in our state by paying tribute to the men, women, and horses who have both made Texas racing great and had a profound effect on the industry as a whole. This year's inductees are truly deserving in both respects.

Thoroughbred Individual: Tommy Oliphant - Tommy Oliphant has been a member and director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA) and trainer of racehorses for over 50 years. A long-time and dedicated horseman, Oliphant joined forces with Texas veterinarian Dr. Dan Saunders in 1958 and started a training and breeding facility called Sunny Clime Farms. Since then, Oliphant has broken and/or given early training to over 100 stakes winners, including Cox's Ridge, No Le Hace and Staunch Avenger.

Thoroughbred Horse: Staunch Avenger - Staunch Avenger, foaled in 1968, was a winner of 15 of 42 starts, including the 1970 Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park and the 1971 Phoenix Handicap at Keeneland. He also set a track record for five furlongs of :57 1/5 at Arlington Park in Chicago. The horse retired to stud in 1973 and became a perennial leading sire in Texas standing most of his stallion career at Dr. Dick Shepherd's Classic Manor Ranch in Aubrey, Texas. Staunch Avenger died in 1991 after producing 15 graded stakes winners among his 291 winning foals, with earnings totaling nearly $9 million.

Quarter Horse Individual: C. W. "Bubba" Cascio - "Bubba" Cascio has been one of the most successful trainers in the horse racing industry for over 40 years. He trained Texas Hall of Fame runner Dash For Cash to two World Champion titles and won the All American Futurity twice, with Three Oh's in 1968 and Rocket Wrangler in 1970. In addition, Cascio trained Quarter Horse racing's top money earning female and World Champion Dashingly. In recent years, Cascio has turned his attention to Thoroughbreds, and his runners include 2002 stakes winner Lights On Broadway and Manor Downs Futurity winner Rumbleinthejungle.

Quarter Horse: Easy Jet - Undoubtedly one of the greatest juveniles in the history of Quarter Horse racing, Easy Jet won nine stakes races as a two-year-old in 1969, including the All American Futurity. An earner of $445,723 on the track, Easy Jet moved his success to the breeding shed as well, siring the earners of more than $26.2 million, including 145 stakes winners. His most notable offspring include 1974 All American Futurity winner Easy Date, 1979 All American Futurity winner Pie In The Sky, and 1985 All American Futurity winner Mr. Trucka Jet.

Arabian Individual: Joe Cassel - Joe Cassel of Tyler, Texas, is considered a "foundation breeder" of Arabians, with a line-bred Polish program that traces in its entirety to the first imports to this country. He was a pioneer in the development of Arabian racing and was the first chairman of the International Arabian Racing Committee, which established this sport in the late 1950s. In 2001, Joe and his wife, Martha, were honored with the Arabian Breeders Association Lifetime Breeders Award.

At Large Individual: Dr. Charles W. Graham - Charles W. Graham, "Doc" as his is referred to by most, could arguably be singled out as the most influential individual in Texas horse racing today and in the history of Texas racing. He was a key player in the passage of pari-mutuel legislation for Texas and is the only man to have ever been elected as both the president of the Texas Quarter Horse Association and the Texas Thoroughbred Association. Dr. Graham has owned and operated Southwest Stallion Station for 40 years and has built the operation into one of the most prominent breeding facilities in the Southwest for both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds.

The new members of the Hall of Fame will be inducted during a gala on October 12 at Retama Park. The gala is held to honor inductees and raise money for a building to house the Texas Hall of Fame Museum. In addition, to honor the celebration, Retama Park will host a Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Night, with eight stakes races totaling over $500,000 in purse money.

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