Jockey Russell Baze, trainer Charlie Whittingham, breeder George Drumheller, and horses Saratoga Passage and Turbulator are the 2004 inductees to the Washington Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame.In addition, Emerald Downs president Ron Crockett Jr. received the lifetime achievement award.Baze, who notched his third career victory in the Longacres Mile (gr. III) on Aug. 22, is one of only four riders to win 8,000 or more races. Baze began his career in Washington, picking up his first career victory at Yakima Meadows in 1974 and later riding for four years at Longacres. Whittingham saddled horses at Longacres from 1935 until 1940. Arguably the greatest trainer of the 20th century, Whittingham conditioned 252 stakes winners and 11 champions during his incredible career. Drumheller was among the original sponsors of the bill that legalized horse racing in Washington in 1933. He stood early leading state sires Gladiator, Black Forest, and Fort Churchill and was Washington's leading breeder, by earnings, from 1935 through 1940.Saratoga Passage, the only Washington-bred horse to win two grade I races, is the state's all-time leading earner with $800,212. He finished his career with a record of 6-3-5 from 22 starts. He won the Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita in 1987 and the Eddie Read (gr. IT) at Del Mar in 1989.Turbulator won 11 stakes races during his career and hit the board in 35 of 47 starts with 21 victories. "Tubby" as he was affectionately known, was the only horse in history to earn Horse of the Year Honors at Longacres, Playfair and Yakima Meadows. In addition he set the 6 ½ furlong world record (1:14) at Longacres in 1970.Crockett, a longtime racing owner and breeder, led the effort to return live Thoroughbred racing to Western Washington, which resulted in the construction and opening of Emerald Downs. Crockett continues to oversee operations at Emerald Downs while helping shape the future of the statewide industry.
Inductees into the Washington Thoroughbred Hall of Fame were selected by a 16-member committee consisting of members of the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, Washington HBPA, Emerald Downs and outside media members.They will be inducted into the Washington Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame during a banquet at Emerald Downs on Sept. 18.