- 25 Nov
It will be a special night, Dec. 7, when the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association honors its best at the annual Awards Ceremony and Christmas Party at the Laurel Park Carriage Room.
The MTHA continues its 27-year tradition of honoring owner, trainer and backstretch workers-of-the-year and has added to the excitement with a lifetime achievement award and two special awards, one for unsung hero and the other for outstanding service to backstretch employees.
History will be made when Maryland Jockey Club owner Frank Stronach is celebrated as Owner of the Year. He will be the first track owner to receive the award; Graham Motion is Trainer of the Year; and trainer King Leatherbury is the lifetime achievement honoree.
The Backstretch Workers of the Year awards go to men and women for their exemplary service to the industry behind the scenes. This year, Rigoberto “Rigo” Salazar is the Pimlico Race Course award winner and Eveline Kjelstrup receives the award for her work at Laurel Park.
The special unsung hero award goes to Joe Miller, who works for the MJC, driving the horse ambulance; and the Maryland Horsemen’s Assistance Fund honors Richard Meyer with an award for outstanding service to backstretch employees. Meyer, who recently retired, served for 26 years as the chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee.
Stronach has earned the owner award because of his support of Maryland racing on the track by sending 38 percent of his total entries to Maryland racetracks and for investing nearly $20 million toward track improvements at Laurel Park and Pimlico in 2015.
Stronach’s philosophy is centered on reinvesting in his businesses and his goal is to make horse racing at the tracks owned by The Stronach Group self-sustaining.