On 4th November, casino and racetrack owner Rod Ratcliff together with the longtime thoroughbred breeder and owner Jim Elliott were inducted as the newest members of the Indiana Hall of Fame. The two were recruited in the prestigious horse racing circle at a special ceremony hosted at the Indiana Grand Casino and Racing. The induction adds two new members to the association ahead of the Grand National 2020 event starting on 2nd April.
Elliott and Ratcliff were 16th and 17th people to join the prestigious Hall of Fame that honors individuals who have substantial and long-lasting contributions to the horse racing scene in Indiana. Several hundred people attended the event, hosted by on-air racing personalities Emily Gaskin and Rachel McLaughlin.
During the event, IHRA general manager and vice president Jon Schuster provided a brief history of the organization, giving background information on the implementation of the hall of Fame. According to Schuster, the IHRA came to life in 2014, intending to represent three racing breeds in this state. The hall was a brainchild of Rod Ratcliff, one of the inductees in the event.
Schuster noted that the hall became a success since the achievements and diligence of the industry needed a forum to reward individuals who have brought the sport to where it is today. During this inauguration event, the vice president read the names of previous inductees, including Michael G. Schaefer, Ralph Wilfong, Senator Robert Jackman, Sarah McNaught, and Raymond Panke, to mention a few.
Elliot passed away in 2016, and therefore he was inducted posthumously, represented by family and friends. Together with his wife, Amy, Elliot built a thoroughbred breeding and training business from scratch at their Brookston farm. The veteran breeder was born in 1941, developing an innate ability to identify and seek out true talent in racehorses. He then developed a country-wide reputation as a horse buyer and seller at some of the biggest sales in the country.
Initially, Elliot was part of the Indiana Breed Development Advisory after being appointed by the Governor. As such, he was instrumental in adopting the two-year-old sale policy in Indiana. His wife Amy has continued with his operations in the sport since his passing, with his daughter Michelle training the horses at the family’s stable.
Ratcliff was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his success as a businessman and in casino gaming, having acquired the control of Indiana Grand and Hoosier Park. In the process, he was responsible for the creation of over 2000 jobs and contributed over a billion dollars to the state’s economy. He developed a strong relationship based on respect and trust with dedicated and hardworking men and women at the Indiana horse industry.
Both Ratcliff and Elliot deserve to be in the Hall of Fame for their great contributions to the Indian horse industry. Their portraits were both unveiled during the ceremony, provided by Melinda Spear-Huff, an artist from the Sheridan industry.