Hall of Fame Makes Changes in Voting Procedures

Edited press release

The National Museum of Racing has authorized changes in the Hall of Fame voting procedures that will go into effect in 2007.

During its regularly scheduled October meeting in New York, the executive committee of the museum's board of trustees approved a proposal to tighten the nomination process and return to a plurality voting policy to select inductees in the four contemporary categories: Jockey, Trainer, Female Horse, and Male Horse.

Plurality voting was in effect for many years through 2004. In 2005 and 2006, a nominee was required to receive at least 75% of the votes cast to earn induction. During those two years, one contemporary nominee, trainer Nick Zito, was elected to the Hall of Fame.

"We have made the nominating process stringent enough that returning to the plurality system does not lower standards," museum president Stella Thayer said. "The new process is designed to ensure that only bona fide Hall of Fame-quality individuals are nominated, so whichever one receives the highest number of votes has passed a very difficult series of tests."

The trustees also voted to have the Historic Review Committee meet more frequently. The committee considers candidates who have not been active in racing for at least 25 years.

Under the previous schedule, the Historic Review Committee met every even-numbered year, and the Steeplechase Committee met every other odd-numbered year. The new schedule calls for the Historic Review Committee to meet in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012 and the Steeplechase Committee to meet in 2009 and 2013. Ed Bowen continues as the chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee.

The executive committee voted to make the changes in the voting rules in the contemporary categories following a long review process. Members of the committee first discussed the subject during their meeting in June. They considered the results of a survey of Hall of Fame voters conducted by the museum staff, as well as a package of possible plans for amending the process. A conference call was held Oct. 9. and the matter was reviewed again during the Oct. 12 meeting before a vote was taken.

The trustees approved a more rigorous nomination process to select candidates to submit to the voting panel. In the previous plan, the top three finishers in the voting by the Nominating Committee earned spots on the final ballot sent to voters in April. The policy was changed to require the Nominating Committee to determine during a conference call which eligible candidates should be placed on the final ballot.

The committee may select as few as two or as many as four finalists in each of the categories. The committee also has the option not to place any names in a category.

The Nominating Committee's selections will be on the ballot sent to the panel of approximately 185 voters in the United States. and Canada. Voters will be asked to vote "yes" or "no" for each of the finalists on the ballot. The one candidate in each category with the highest number of votes will be inducted.

In the event of a mathematical dead heat, each candidate involved in the tie will be inducted. An independent accounting firm conducts the voting.

The 2007 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held Aug. 6 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.