The Washington Racing Hall of Fame has released its annual list of finalists for the state's highest honor in Thoroughbred racing.
Twenty horses, breeders and jockeys--four in each category--have been announced as finalists to become inducted into the Class of 2012 later this year.
There are nine first-timers on this year's ballot: Male horses Handy N Bold and Hilco Scamper; fillies and mares Bix's Bet, Flag de Lune, and Rings a Chime; jockey Basil Frazier; trainers Howard Belvoir and Bob McMeans; and breeder Maurice McGrath.
Handy N Bold becomes the first horse to make the ballot based mainly on a body of work at Emerald Downs. A British Columbia-bred trained by Charles Essex and owned by Doris Orr, Handy N Bold won 10 stakes at Emerald Downs including a record four runnings of the Governor's Handicap, and was voted top older horse in 2001. The other newcomers in the horse categories are all Washington-breds: grade I-winning distaffers Flag de Lune and Rings a Chime, multiple stakes-winning mare Bix's Bet, and multiple grade II-winning gelding Hilco Scamper.
In the trainers' category, two-time winning Longacres Mile-winning conditioner Belvoir, and No. 3 all-time Longacres stakes-winning trainer Bob McMeans both make their first appearances on the ballot. Bob McMeans could join his brother in the Hall of Fame. The late Bill McMeans was inducted in 2010.
Frazier won more than 2,000 races while riding mainly at Longacres and Exhibition Park, and captured the 1974 Longacres Mile on Times Rush.
A 16-member committee composed of media, track officials, WTBOA, and HBPA will determine one winner from each category.
The winners will be announced June 14 and the 2012 induction ceremony will be held Aug. 18, following the races at Emerald Downs. The 77th running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (gr. III) is set for the following day.
Introduced in 2003, the Washington Racing Hall of Fame was created to honor and showcase Washington's Thoroughbred industry elite. The inaugural class featured three inductees in each category, while subsequent classes have been limited to a single member in each category.
2012 Washington Racing Hall of Fame Finalists
Horse: Handy N Bold, Hilco Scamper, Sirde, Travel Orb; Female Horse: Bix's Bet, Flag de Lune, Rings a Chime, Whang Bang
Jockey: Gary Boulanger, Basil Frazier, Paul Frey, Merlin Volzke
Trainer: Howard Belvoir, Wayne Branch, Ben Harris, Bob McMeans
Breeder: John Carlson, Maurice McGrath, George Newell, Penney Farms
Complete Washington Racing Hall of Fame:
Class of 2011: Jockey-Vicky Baze; Trainer-Tim McCanna; Horse (f&m)-Firesweeper; Horse-Pataha Prince; Breeder-Grousemont Farm; Lifetime Achievement-Karen and Mickey Taylor.
Class of 2010: Jockey-Joe Baze; Trainer-Bill McMeans; Horse-Biggs; Breeder-Les Turner; Lifetime Achievement-James Seabeck.
Class of 2009: Jockey-Lennie Knowles; Trainer-Kathy Walsh; Horse-Sparrow Castle; Breeder-Wilbur and Marianne Stadelman.
Class of 2008: Jockey-Larry Pierce; Trainer-Glen Williams; Horse-Belle Of Rainier; Breeder-Frank Brewster; Lifetime Achievement-Pete Pedersen.
Class of 2007: Jockey-Johnny Adams; Trainer-Red McDaniel; Horse-Peterhof's Patea; Breeder-Dan Agnew
Class of 2006: Jockey-Albert Johnson; Trainer-Frances Keller; Horse-Sir William; Breeder-C. J. Sebastian.
Class of 2005: Jockey-Basil James; Trainer-Bud Klokstad; Horse-Smogy Dew; Breeder-Guy and Barbara Roberts.
Class of 2004: Jockey-Russell Baze; Trainer-Charles Whittingham; Horse-Saratoga Passage, Turbulator; Breeder-George Drumheller; Lifetime Achievement-Ron Crockett.
Class of 2003: Jockey-Gary Baze, Ralph Neves, Gary Stevens; Trainer-Allen Drumheller, Jim Penney, Tom Smith; Horse-Captain Condo, Chinook Pass, Trooper Seven; Breeder-Herb Armstrong, Jerre Paxton; Lifetime Achievement-Joe Gottstein.