The Washington Racing Hall of Fame has announced 20 finalists in five categories eligible to win the state’s highest honor in Thoroughbred racing for 2013.
Four finalists were announced in each category—male horse, female horse, jockey, trainer, and breeder—with the winners to be chosen by a 16-member committee composed of media, track officials, Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, and the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. Winners will be announced in March, followed this summer by the official induction ceremony on the eve of the 78th Longacres Mile (gr. III).
Jockey Jack Leonard, trainers Clint Roberts and Wesley Ward, male horses Georgie Drum and Loto Canada, and female horses Reba Is Tops and Run Away Stevie all make their first appearances as HOF finalists.
Reba Is Tops and Run Away Stevie join grade I winner Flag de Lune and 1979 Washington Horse of the Year Table Hands to compose the 2013 Female Horse category. By He's Tops, Reba Is Tops began her career at Emerald Downs and later became a turf specialist, winning multiple stakes in northern and southern California en route to honors as 2009 Washington Horse of the Year. By Table Run, Run Away Stevie is the only horse to win stakes at both Emerald Downs and Longacres and is the third richest filly or mare in state history with earnings of $468,267.
Georgie Drum and Loto Canada join 12-time stakes winner Military Hawk and 1965-66 Washington Horse of the Year Travel Orb in the Male Horse category. Named after Washington Hall of Fame Breeder George Drumheller, Georgie Drum made national headlines in 1944 while defeating a star-studded field that included Kentucky Derby winner Pensive in the Stars & Stripes Handicap. Loto Canada represents one of the state’s greatest underdog stories: fledgling owners purchase inexpensive yearling after winning million-dollar lottery; colt becomes state champion 2-year-old of 1979 and is among nation's top sophomores in 1980.
Jack Leonard scored Longacres Mile victories aboard Sparrow Castle (1961) and Praise Jay (1969) and captured the 1969 Longacres riding title. He joins fellow Longacres riding greats Gary Boulanger and Basil Frazier, and all-time winningest Emerald Downs jockey Gallyn Mitchell as finalists in the jockey category.
Wesley Ward and Clint Roberts are newcomers in the trainers’ category, joining two-time Longacres Mile-winning trainer Howard Belvoir and the husband and wife tandem of Larry and Sharon Ross as 2013 finalists.
A native of Selah, Ward won the 1984 Eclipse Award as apprentice jockey, but he grew too big for riding and instead has developed into one of the nation’s most successful trainers. With over 1,000 training victories on his ledger, Ward competes at many of the nation’s toughest meets, and in 2009 he became the first American trainer to win a stakes at England’s prestigious Royal Ascot. Roberts, a former rodeo star, was a dominant figure in the 1980s when his powerful claiming outfit captured Longacres training titles in 1980, ’83 and ’88.
The breeding category alternates between pre-and-post 1970 accomplishments. Post 1970 will be honored in 2013, with Czechmate Stable, Griffin Place, Gunshy Manor, and Savario Farm named finalists.
Introduced in 2003, the Washington Racing Hall of Fame is co-sponsored by Emerald Downs and the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association. The inaugural class featured three inductees in each category, while subsequent classes have been limited to a single member in each category.
2013 Washington Racing Hall of Fame Finalists
Horse: Georgie Drum, Loto Canada, Military Hawk, Travel Orb
Horse (F&M): Flag de Lune, Reba Is Tops, Run Away Stevie, Table Hands
Jockey: Gary Boulanger, Basil Frazier, Jack Leonard, Gallyn Mitchell
Trainer: Howard Belvoir, Clint Roberts, Larry & Sharon Ross, Wesley Ward
Breeder: Czechmate Stable, Griffin Place, Gunshy Manor, Savario Farm