The Washington Racing Hall of Fame has announced the 20 finalists in five categories eligible to win the state’s highest honor in Thoroughbred racing for 2013. Among them is Renton native Jack Leonard who twice won the Longacres Mile — first in 1961 while riding Sparrow Castle, and again in 1969 with Praise Jay.
Leonard also won the 1969 Longacres riding title. He currently runs the Jockey's cafe on the front side at Golden Gate Fields. His sister, Sally (Leonard) Steiner who also grew up on the track, runs the Quarter Chute Cafe at Emerald Downs.
"How exciting for him to be a finalist. I am very proud," said Steiner.
Leonard 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.
Four finalists were announced in each category: Male Horse, Female Horse, Jockey, Trainer and Breeder. A 16-member committee composed of media, track officials, WTBOA and HBPA will whittle down the competition. Winners will be announced in March. An official induction ceremony will take place on the eve of the 78th Longacres Mile (G3).
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
Eligibility requirements: Any Washington-bred or any horse that has raced at least twice in Washington shall be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame. Any jockey or trainer born in Washington shall be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame, or any jockey or trainer who has competed in at least five years in Washington shall be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame. A female horse category was added in 2011.
*Editor's Note: Additional information for this story was provided by Emerald Downs in a press release.