In an effort to tell a more comprehensive history of Thoroughbred racing in North America, the National Museum of Racing will be expanding its Hall of Fame with a new category, Pillars of the Turf, beginning in 2013.
Joining the three original Hall of Fame categories—horses, jockeys, and trainers—the Pillars of the Turf category will honor individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to racing in a leadership or pioneering capacity at the highest national level. Candidates must be deemed to have represented the sport with indisputable standards of integrity and commitment through disciplines including, but not limited to, innovation, philanthropy, promotion and education, breeding, and ownership.
"After extensive research and deliberation, the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame has instituted a new category to recognize individuals whose exceptional contributions to the sport of Thoroughbred racing warrant their induction to the Hall of Fame as Pillars of the Turf," said Stella Thayer, president of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, in a release.
In general, candidates will be expected to have a minimum of 25 years active participation in racing to be considered for Pillars of the Turf. However, the selection committee would be given the power of discretion to waive this guideline if such action was merited.
Any member of the general public, the media, or member of the Pillars of the Turf Selection Committee may submit candidates for consideration. The Museum staff will confirm the eligibility of each candidate and prepare a biography of the individual for the Selection Committee.
A committee of 12 industry experts and historians, under the guidance of Edward L. Bowen, will determine a historic (prior to 1950) and contemporary finalist each year. To be elected to the Hall of Fame as a Pillar of the Turf, an individual must receive 75% of the vote of the committee. Bowen, a Museum trustee and distinguished turf writer, also chairs the Museum's Hall of Fame Contemporary Nominating Committee, Historic Review Committee, and Steeplechase Election Committee.
"It was strongly believed by the Museum's Executive Committee that it would be appropriate to add a category which enables us to honor those who have given great service to the sport of Thoroughbred racing," Bowen said. "It will be a pleasure to reach back into history as well as honoring contemporary leaders of the sport."
A group of esteemed racing experts and historians comprise the Pillars of the Turf Selection Committee: Bowen, Jane Goldstein, Ken Grayson, Jay Hovdey, G. Watts Humphrey, Bill Marshall, Lev Miller, Bill Mooney, Mary Simon, D.G. Van Clief, Michael Veitch, and Gary West.
Initial nominations for the Pillars of the Turf category may be submitted to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame though Brien Bouyea, the museum's communications officer. Please e-mail nominations and any supporting materials to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may mail nominations to Bouyea c/o the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, 191 Union Ave., Saratoga Springs, N.Y., 12866. All nominations for the 2013 election must be submitted by April 1, 2013.