Richard Migliore and Racing's Hall of Fame: "The Mig" Deserves the Honor

Alan HorvathCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2013

Jockey Richard Migliore winning the 2008 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint aboard Desert Code
Jockey Richard Migliore winning the 2008 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint aboard Desert CodeHarry How/Getty Images

Richard Migliore, one of racing's premier jockeys spanning over three decades, is a name mysteriously missing from the list of finalists for this year's National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame vote.

A brilliant, "thinking man's" rider with cat-like reflexes, Migliore burst onto the racing scene while winning the 1981 Eclipse Award for leading apprentice jockey during his first full season. At the time, he was just 17 years old.

That season included 298 victories and purse earnings of $5,305,926. But, it was only the beginning for Migliore.

Known as "The Mig" (a Russian fighter jet), Migliore's compelling combination of guile, tenacity and courageousness amassed 4,450 victories on the track during the course of his career—ranking him 42nd in all-time wins by a jockey.

Equally impressive, Migliore had career purse earnings of $160,205,725, much of which was compiled during times when purses were considerably lower than they are today.

Still, Migliore's total ranks 22nd on the all-time list of earnings.

Of "The Mig's" 4,450 victories, an impressive 178 of them were graded-stakes winners. In 2008, Migliore won the prestigious Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint aboard Desert Code at odds of 36-1.

Adding to Migliore's accomplishments is that most of his victories took place while competing against some of the greatest jockeys in history on the New York Racing Association circuit. They include Jorge Chavez, Angel Cordero and Mike Smith, to name a few.

There is no telling how many more wins The Mig could have compiled if not for some major injuries, with the final one ending his career as a jockey.

In 1988 on May 30th, Migliore suffered a near-fatal injury to his neck at Belmont Park while aboard Madam Alydar. His story was featured on the television show Rescue 911 in 1992.

Miraculously, Migliore was racing again the following year—winning 194 races with earnings of $5,536,262.

On February 23, 2008, Migliore won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, as voted by his Jockeys' Guild peers based on both career and personal character, on and off the track. It is one of the most coveted awards in all of racing.

Now 49, had Migliore's career not been cut short due to an injury he suffered on January 23rd, 2010 at Aqueduct while riding Honest Wildcat, he would be a lock for over 5,000 career victories and probably still be competing.

Today, Migliore remains active in the sport, one of his roles being as a television analyst for the New York Racing Association. He is also involved with coaching apprentice jockeys and providing an introduction to those interested in thoroughbred ownership.

However, one of The Mig's greatest contributions to racing is as a beloved true ambassador for the sport he loves, one who continues to keep on giving.

A winner on and off the track; Richard Migliore is a much deserving future Hall of Famer.

You can bet on that.