Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and jockey Alex Solis lead the class of 2014 inducted Friday into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame.
Joining Curlin and Solis as inductees are former champion thoroughbreds Ashado and Clifford, jockey Lloyd Hughes, trainer Gary Jones and "Pillars of the Turf" E. R. Bradley and E. P. Taylor.
Curlin was Horse of the Year for 2007 and 2008. He won the 2007 Preakness Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic. He claimed the 2008 Dubai World Cup as well as repeating in winning that year's Jockey Club Gold Cup.
"I think how he responded to difficult situations is what separated him from anything I've ever been associated with," said Curlin's trainer Steve Asmussen. "For him to get done what he did in the year (2007) that he did, against a very fast group of horses that put up tremendous numbers; to have only started your career in February, run in all three Triple Crown races and then beat older horses with everybody still being around in the Classic at the end of the year, you just don't do it.
"Not only did he do that, but he goes to Dubai the following year, wins the World Cup and then was one of the few horses to come back and still maintain a Grade 1 level. He built on what he did instead of chipping away at what he did."
Curlin retired as North America's all-time leading earner with $10,501,800 and 11 wins from 16 starts.
Ashado was the 2004 champion 3-year-old filly and 2005 champion older female. In 2004 the filly won both the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders' Cup Distaff. Ashado, owned in partnership by Starlight Stables, Paul Saylor and Johns Martin, won 12 of 21 career starts for $3,931,440.
"It's quite an accomplishment for any horse or person to make it to that level, so we're proud of her for being able to do that," said her trainer Todd Pletcher.
Solis, who still rides, won the 1986 Preakness aboard Snow Chief. In 2003 he rode Pleasantly Perfect to a win in the Breeders' Cup Classic and the following year rode the horse in claiming the Dubai World Cup. Coming into 2014, Solis recorded 4,938 victories for $231 million.
Jones retired in 1996 with 1,465 victories and $52,672,611. He was a fixture on the Southern California circuit with training championships at Del Mar, Hollywood Park, and Santa Anita.
"I was flabbergasted when they told me," said Jones. "I had been passed over a few times already, and I had decided I probably wouldn't be making it.
"It's a special fraternity; not easy to get into. I idolize some of those guys: Charlie (Whittingham), Bobby Frankel, Billy Mott, Shug McGaughey and, of course, Buster (Millerick). I wasn't sure I was ever going to make it, but it was well worth the wait."
The Historic Review Committee of the National Museum of Racing chose 19th century jockey Hughes and racehorse Clifford to be inducted.
Edward R. Bradley and Edward P. Taylor make up the second group of inductees from the Pillars of the Turf category. Pillars of the Turf recognizes people who have played important parts in the sport of thoroughbred racing.