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Thoroughbred Industry Employee Award winners announced for 2019

The Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards, now in its fourth year in the United States, concluded this afternoon with Keeneland hosting the ceremony in Lexington. Jill Byrne, Vice President of Racing Operations at Colonial Downs, was once again the master of ceremonies, with Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott on hand to present the awards.

Jimmy Bell, President of Godolphin in America commented, “Keeneland has always been such a great philanthropic partner to many, not only in the local community, but to the Thoroughbred industry as a whole. We sincerely appreciate their generosity once again in hosting this year’s awards ceremony. Thank you to our corporate and media partners who are crucial players in the implementation and facilitation of this months-long process and spreading the word about these important awards. To the nominators, thank you. If not for you we wouldn’t be able shine the spotlight on all of these deserving people that dedicate their lives to taking care of these magnificent animals. And last but not least, congratulations to all the nominees, finalists and winners. We hope that by being recognized for your hard work that you know that you are truly appreciated and placed in the highest regard and we are forever in your debt.”

Dan Metzger, President of the Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, said, “Although this is a different year for these awards, one thing that hasn’t changed during the first four years is a common theme of  tremendous talent and dedication of the candidates. These are the people that are so vital to our racing and breeding industry and it’s just tremendous to see them being recognized in this way. And on behalf of TOBA, The Jockey Club and the HBPA, thank you to Godolphin for bringing this program to America and for allowing us to be its industry partners in such a great event.”

The full list of winners and runners-up is as follows:

Administration Award
Winner: Bessie Gruwell, Executive Director, Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association
(Runners-up: Andrea Greathouse, Sales Coordinator, Paramount Sales; Maria Catignani, Executive Director, Charles Town HBPA)

Leadership in Racing Award
Winner: Saul Castellanos, Assistant Trainer, Mark Hennig Racing Stable
(Runners-up: Destin Heath, Assistant Trainer, WinStar Farm; Thomas Brandebourger, Assistant Trainer, Chad Brown)

Leadership in Breeding Award
Winner: Jenny Carpenter, Farm Manager, Buttonwood Farm
(Runners-up: Joe Peel, Stallion Manager, Claiborne Farm; Mark Cunningham, Farm Manager, Airdrie Stud)

Dedication to Racing Award
Winner: Leslie McCall, Stable Pony Rider, Moquett Racing
(Runners-up: Cristobal Trejo, Groom, Tomlinson Thoroughbred Training; Janeen Painter, Exercise Rider, Richard Mandella)

Dedication to Breeding Award
Winner: Ernest Blair, Senior Broodmare and Sales Assistant, Lane’s End Farm
(Runners-up: Barrett Midkiff, Horse Transport, Taylor Made Farm; Steve Clark, Stallion Groom, Godolphin at Jonabell)

Newcomer Award
Winner: Amy Stokes, Management Assistant, Godolphin at Stonerside
(Runners-up: Courtney Schneider, Director of Sales, Shawhan Place; Michael Norris, Foreman, Katherine Ritvo Racing Stable

Thoroughbred Industry Community Award
Winner: Bobby Lillis, Executive Director, Maryland Horsemen’s Assistance Foundation

The Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards, with a total prize money of $128,000, was managed and administered by The Jockey Club, the Horsemen’s Protective and Benevolent Association, and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. Media partners are Thoroughbred Daily News, BloodHorse, Daily Racing Form, The Paulick Report and TVG.

For more information, please contact:

Andy Schweigardt
Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association