The board of trustees of the National Museum of Racing has approved recommended changes in voting procedures for Thoroughbred racing's Hall of Fame, museum president John von Stade announced Friday.
The key changes are a conversion to a percentage system and the lengthening of the jockey eligibility requirement from 15 to 20 years of riding. The change in jockey eligibility will take effect in 2006.
Approximately 150 writers, broadcasters, and historians vote for four Hall of Fame categories after the Hall of Fame nominating committee has arrived at a slate of finalists. Under the new system, each category will have five nominees, and voters can vote for up to three in each category. A nominee must receive "for" votes on 75% or more of the ballots cast in order to be elected. However, if in any category more than one receives 75% or more "for" votes, only the candidate with the highest total is elected.
"Last year, representatives from the National Turf Writers Association requested we consider a proposal changing the system that requires a certain percentage of ballots being cast in favor of a candidate," von Stade said. "Since then, the executive committee of the museum board has discussed the issue at a series of meetings over many months.
"We believe the new system makes election to the Hall of Fame slightly more difficult," von Stade said, "and that insures the integrity of the honor even more than the previous system did."