Hall of Fame Releases 2005 Nominees; New Procedures Used

Edited press release
Ten horses, five jockeys, and five trainers have been nominated for the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame, museum president John von Stade announced Monday. The slate of nominees is the first presented under the revised procedures of Thoroughbred racing's official national Hall of Fame.

The 163-member voting panel will be asked to vote for as many as three finalists in each category. In an amendment to the procedure that now is similar, but not identical, to the process employed by the Baseball Hall of Fame, in order to be elected an individual must receive a "yes" vote on at least 75% of the ballots received. In the event that more than one nominee in a category attains the 75% level, the one with the highest percentage will be the sole inductee in that category.

If no candidate receives "yes" votes on as many as 75% of the ballots received, that category will not have an inductee this year. In prior years, voters selected one of three finalists in each division and inductees were elected by a majority or plurality of the votes received.

Jockeys nominated for 2005 induction are Eddie Maple, whose more than 4,000 wins included two Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Secretariat's final race; Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Craig Perret, still active nearly four decades after being the leading apprentice of 1967; Randy Romero, regular rider of Hall of Fame fillies Personal Ensign and Go for Wand and winner of three Breeders' Cup races; Jose Santos, four-time national leader in earnings and winner of six Breeders' Cup races; and Ismael (Milo) Valenzuela, renowned in the 1950s and 1960s as partner of champions Tim Tam and Kelso.

In the trainer category, nominees include Dale Baird, who in 2004 reached the unprecedented milestone of 9,000 wins, and Nick Zito, who last year completed a personal Triple Crown sequence by adding Birdstone's Belmont Stakes to his earlier Kentucky Derby victories with Strike the Gold and Go for Gin and his Preakness (gr. I) victory with Louis Quatorze. Also nominated are John Veitch, trainer of Hall of Famer Alydar and four champions; Mel Stute, trainer of 1986 champions Brave Raj and Snow Chief among nearly 100 stakes winners; and Gary Jones, trainer of champion Turkoman and popular Californian Best Pal among more than 100 stakes winners.

In the Contemporary Female Horse category, the nominees include three fillies which each won the New York Filly Triple Crown and then added the historic Alabama Stakes (gr. I), as well as winning other major events. They are Mom's Command, champion 3-year-old filly of 1985; Open Mind, champion 2-year-old filly of 1988 and champion 3-year-old filly of 1989; and Sky Beauty, champion older filly or mare of 1994. Also nominated are Inside Information, 13-length winner of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) and champion older filly or mare of 1995, and Silverbulletday, champion 2-year-old filly of 1998 and champion again at three in 1999.

The Contemporary Male Horses nominated are Best Pal, winner of 17 stakes from ages two through seven and earner of more than $5.6 million; Housebuster, champion sprinter in both 1990 and 1991; Lure, winner of consecutive runnings of the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) in 1992-93; Manila, Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner and grass course champion of 1986; and Silver Charm, winner of the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness as champion 3-year-old and later winner of the Dubai World Cup (UAR-I).

The Contemporary Horse categories involve runners active within the last 25 years whose last start came at least five years ago.

A 14-person nominating committee developed the slate of finalists after reviewing the careers of more than 100 provisional candidates suggested by voters, columnists, fans, and museum visitors. The voting panel is made up of Turf writers and editors, broadcast journalists, and racing historians.

This year's induction of new members marks the 50th anniversary of the Hall of Fame. The results for 2005 will be announced during a teleconference on May 31. The induction ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, New York, at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 8.