The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame announced Thursday it has cancelled the 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the Museum Ball as a result of the ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are incredibly disappointed we won’t be able to have these time-honoured special events this summer, but the health concerns we are facing right now take precedence,” said John Hendrickson, president of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
“The Hall of Fame ceremony is an experience we want to be able to share with the fans. With racing at Saratoga this summer likely to take place without spectators, we believe it is in the best interests of everyone involved and for the integrity of the event to postpone the ceremony for a year.”
The Hall of Fame ceremony was scheduled for Friday, Aug. 7. This year’s induction class — trainer Mark Casse, jockey Darrel McHargue, horses Wise Dan and Tom Bowling, and Pillars of the Turf Alice Headley Chandler, Keene Daingerfield, Jr., and George D. Widener, Jr. — will be inducted in the traditional manner alongside the class of 2021 next August.
“The 2020 inductees will be honoured together with the class of 2021 next summer in what will be a truly special ceremony,” Hendrickson said. “Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the most prestigious honour in the sport of thoroughbred racing and we will make sure this year’s class is properly recognized for the incredible mark they have made on the game.”
The 44th Museum Ball, which was scheduled for Aug. 14, is traditionally one of the highlights of the Saratoga summer social season. That event will also return to the calendar in 2021.
The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame remains closed to the public. The Museum is currently under construction, as work has resumed this week on the new Hall of Fame Education Experience. More information on the reopening of the Museum will be forthcoming.
“We look forward to completing our new Hall of Fame Education Experience as soon as we are given the green light to move forward by the state,” Hendrickson said. “The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame will be back better than ever. We can’t wait to share with everyone all the work we have done to make our institution something everyone in the sport can be proud of.