A lively crowd of 220 harness racing horsemen and women, family and friends, came out to celebrate the 22nd annual Hall of Fame Awards Dinner Sunday, hosted by the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association at the Deerfield Beach Doubletree Hilton.
Inducted to the chapter’s Hall of Fame, which recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders within the industry for more than ten years and who have contributed to the betterment of the Standardbred Industry, were Marc Aubin of Pompano Beach, George Napolitano Sr. of Margate, and Mel Turcotte of Coconut Creek.
Also inducted into the Communicators’ Corner of the Hall of Fame, which is presented to an outstanding individual who had devoted his or her print or broadcast career to promoting the harness racing industry was Kathleen Dempsey of Pompano Beach.
And there are three horses that were also inducted into the Hall of Fame for their outstanding racing and/or stallion/broodmare careers. They were Coast Express, CR Charisma and .
Winner of the Delvin G. Miller Award, which recognizes someone or an organization whose life in harness racing has maintained the dedication and integrity furthering the growth of the sport, was the Florida Amateur Driving Club.
The William Popfinger Award for developing an outstanding juvenile pacer ended for the first time in the history of the award in a tie between Deshawn Minor of Delray Beach and Stewart Nemiro of Oakland Park.
The Stanley Dancer Award, which recognizes achievements of a trainer who has been continuously outstanding in the development of trotters, was awarded to Jim Gluhm of Trenton.
The Frances Dodge Van Lennep Award, which recognizes an outstanding female who has made great contributions to the sport, went to Kim Beach of Boca Raton.
Winner of the R.D. Ricketts Award, which goes to an owner whose contributions to Florida racing has been outstanding, was Fred Morosini of Deerfield Beach and the winner of the Dana Irving Award for breeding outstanding juvenile performers in 2012 was Tom Audley of Bell.
The Peter Haughton Award for the best newcomer to Pompano Park went to Robert Hoffman of Coconut Creek. The Dan Gawlas Good Guy Award, presented annually to an outstanding individual who has always contributed positively to the sport, was presented to Danny Roberts of Pompano Beach and the Florida USHWA Chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Award went to Kay Anderson and Charlie Adams both of Pompano Beach.
The annual Caretaker of the Year Award is presented to an outstanding individual who over his or her career has dedicated untiring time and effort towards caring for the horses in the stable(s) they worked for. This year’s honoree was Debbie Gray-Gagnon of Pompano Beach.
In addition to the Florida USHWA chapter’s awards, presentations were also be made by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association to the owners of the top 2- and 3-year-old state-bred trotters and pacers from the 2012 season and the annual Breeder of the Year Award. The Florida Amateur Driving Club also presented their year-end Driver of the Year Award to Joe Pennacchio.
by Steven WOLF