09/01/2004 11:00PM

Washington honors Baze and Whittingham


Jockey Russell Baze and trainer Charlie Whittingham head a list of six new inductees into the Washington Thoroughbred Hall of Fame for 2004.

The inductees, announced Wednesday, also include breeder George Drumheller, horses Turbulator and Saratoga Passage, and the founder of Emerald Downs, Ron Crockett Jr., who received a lifetime achievement award.

Baze, a native of Granger, Wash., scored his initial victory at Yakima Meadows in 1974 and rode for four years at Longacres before becoming the dominant rider northern California. He is one of only four riders who have won more than 8,000 races, and recently won the Grade 3 Longacres Mile for the third time, aboard Adreamisborn.

Whittingham, who died in 1999, campaigned at Longacres from 1935 through 1940 before going on to train 252 stakes winners and 11 champions in one of the sport's great training careers.

Drumheller, an original sponsor of the bill that legalized horse racing in Washington, was the state's leading breeder from 1935 through 1940.

Turbulator, perhaps the most popular horse ever to race in the state, won 11 stakes and earned horse of the year honors at Playfair, Yakima Meadows, and Longacres, the only horse to do so.

Saratoga Passage won Grade 1 stakes on both dirt (the 1987 Norfolk) and grass (the 1989 Eddie Read) and is still the richest Washington-bred ever with $800,212 in earnings.

Crockett has been the driving force in the Washington Thoroughbred industry since Longacres closed in 1992, when he led the effort to resurrect racing in western Washington. He remains the president of Emerald Downs.

The Hall of Fame class of 2004 will be inducted at a banquet at Emerald Downs on Saturday, Sept. 18. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association at (253) 288-7878.