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2021 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2021 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards have been announced, including three finalists in six of the seven categories, as well as the winner and runner-up of the Thoroughbred Industry Community Award. This year’s Community Award winner is Nick Caras of the New York Racetrack Chaplaincy, with Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s Diana Pinones as runner-up.

After a successful virtual Awards Ceremony in 2020, TIEA is excited to welcome the finalists in each of the six categories, along with Nick Caras and Diana Pinones, to an in-person Awards Ceremony held at Keeneland on Friday, October 15 in Lexington, Kentucky. The weekend includes travel and accommodation for out-of-town finalists, a tour of a local horse farm, dinner for finalists and their connections, and the Awards Ceremony luncheon followed by an afternoon of racing at Keeneland.

The shortlist judging panel, the first of the two judging panels, met on Tuesday, August 17 to determine the finalists in each category as well as the Community Award winner and runner-up. The second and final stage of judging will be conducted as in person interviews with each finalist on October 14.

“From my experience last year on the final judging panel, I knew coming in how tough this was going to be,” said Panel Chair Dr. David Richardson. “Determining 20 finalists from almost two hundred nominations was no easy task, but what a rewarding experience it was to learn about these nominees who have dedicated their livelihoods to the sport we all love. While difficult decisions were made in order to narrow down what is a most impressive field, I think all will see from the list of finalists that we are blessed with an incredible workforce in our industry.

“These awards are incredibly important to our industry and sport. Now more than ever as we navigate a workforce shortage across the country, these awards are an opportunity to recognize and reward the industry’s most steadfast individuals. This judging panel took that to heart in determining this year’s finalists.

“Thank you to all of the nominators for taking the time to recognize the hardworking people in their lives. I’d also like to thank the National HBPA, TOBA, The Jockey Club, Breeders’ Cup, and Godolphin, without whose underwriting and support these awards would not be possible to implement. Lastly, a heartfelt thanks to our media partners – BloodHorse, TDN, Daily Racing Form, TVG, Paulick Report and Fox Sports – for helping to spread the reach of the awards.”

The shortlist panel was composed of Chair, Dr. David Richardson, UofL Chief of Surgery, Louisville KY; Jane Buchanan, Bloodstock Agent & Racing Manager, Lexington KY; Mindy Coleman, Counsel, Jockey’s Guild, Lexington, KY; and Tom Law, Managing Editor, ST Publishing, Saratoga Springs, NY. Their meeting was hosted by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, NY.

This year seven industry organizations came on board as title sponsors of individual award categories with the goal to help spread the reach and impact of the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards.

This year also saw the addition of the Support Services Award category to recognize those in the industry who may not work hands on with horses. With the addition of this category, TIEA has the opportunity to recognize and reward more outstanding talent, diligence and commitment at the heart of our sport.

The winners of the Administration, Dedication to Breeding, Dedication to Racing, Leadership and Support Services Awards will receive a prize of $7,500, with an additional $2,500 awarded to the winner’s team at their farm, stable or organization. The two runners-up in these categories will win $2,500 each, with $2,500 awarded to their farm, stable or organization.

The winner of the Newcomer Award will receive $2,000 and a five-day educational trip to Dubai, with $1,000 awarded to their team at their place of work. The two runners-up in this award will receive $1,000 each, and $1,000 will also be awarded to their farm, stable or organization.

As the winner of the Community Award, Nick Caras will receive a prize of $7,500 and an additional prize of $2,500 will be donated to the charity of his choice. Diana Pinones will receive $2,500 as the runner-up in this category.

The 2021 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards finalists are:

Katherine McKee Administration Award sponsored by Keeneland
Lori Johnson - The Jockey Club
Sue Kenny - Herringswell Stables
Kelsey Marshall - Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners

Support Services Award sponsored by I am Horse Racing
David Kyle - Fasig-Tipton
Katherine Todd Smith - Self-Employed, Horse Identifier
Brenda Wilhelm - Charles Town Races

Dedication to Breeding Award sponsored by Hallway Feeds
Luis Coronado - Machmer Hall
Wayne Howard - Spendthrift Farm
Calvin Smith - Runnymede Farm, PA

Dedication to Racing Award sponsored by National Thoroughbred Racing Association
Benjamin Betts - Ocala Jockey Club, retired
Tessa Bisha - Brad H. Cox Racing
Lorita Lindemann - Joe Sharp Racing

Leadership Award sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute
Joseph Littrell - Stone Farm
Robert Turner - Stonestreet Farms
Billy Sellers - Lane’s End Farm

Newcomer Award sponsored by New York Racing Association
Emily Csenar - Taylor Made Sales Agency
Joshua McLemore - Keeneland
Olivia Desch - WinStar Farm

Thoroughbred Industry Community Award sponsored by Churchill Downs
Winner | Nicholas Caras - New York Racetrack Chaplaincy
Runner-up | Diana Pinones - Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association

For more information, please contact:

Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards
(859) 977-4655