Kathy Walsh, winner of four training titles at the old Longacres track and one of the nation’s most successful woman trainers, has been voted into the Washington Racing Hall of Fame for 2009.
Jockey Lennie Knowles, 1961 Longacres Mile winner Sparrow Castle, and breeders Wilbur and Marianne Stadelman will join Walsh. The induction ceremony will take place Sept. 13 during Washington Cup VII at Emerald Downs.
Walsh, the daughter of Northwest training fixture Jim Walsh, took over the stable upon her father’s death in 1970 and proceeded to win training titles in 1972, ’73, ’76 and ’78. She later made her mark in the Midwest and Southern California, but returned for the final two seasons at Longacres, winning 11 stakes races.
Still going strong, Walsh has trained grade I winners Georgie Boy and Nany’s Sweep, and finished seventh in the 1998 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with Hanuman Highway.
Knowles was a four-time leading rider at Longacres and rode the second most winners—1,263—in the history of the Renton track while maintaining the highest win percentage—15.8%—of jockeys with 5,000 or more career mounts. Knowles also won the riding title at Playfair, rode in 10 Longacres Miles and won the 1964 Washington Derby aboard Washington-bred filly Smogy Dew. Knowles even had a Longacres stakes named in his honor.
Two-time Washington Horse of the Year Sparrow Castle won a state record six stakes races in 1961 and was the first horse to win nine stakes at Longacres. A 1957 son of Cold Command, Sparrow Castle won 13 of 47 starts and at one time held track records at 6 ½ furlongs and 1 ¼ miles. Trained by 2008 Hall of Fame trainer Glen Williams, Sparrow Castle won the 1961 Longacres Mile by a nose over Dusky Damion.
Wilbur and Marianne Stadelman bred Washington’s first two graded stakes winners—Any Time Girl, 1976 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. II); and Table Hands, 1979 Del Mar Debutante (gr. II) and Hollywood Lassie Stakes (gr. II). The Stadelmans bred five Washington champions—1976 Horse of the Year Any Time Girl; 1979 Horse of the Year Table Hands; 1984 2-year-old filly Got You Runnin; 1989 sprinter Crystal Run, and 1990 older filly or mare A Little Bit Tipsy.
Founded in 2003, the Washington Racing Hall of Fame each year honors one horse, jockey, trainer, and breeder with induction into the Hall. A committee selected four finalists in each category, and a 15-person panel composed of members of the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, Washington HBPA, Emerald Downs, and media elected the Class of 2009.