The Len Foote Award is the highest honor bestowed on racing commission executive directors in North America. The award was presented at the annual awards luncheon held on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington, KY.
Laino has been employed in various capacities since 1987, including Deputy Director, State Director of Mutuels, and Board Investigator. He has served as the Executive Director since 2003, and currently chairs the RCI Wagering Systems Security Committee.
"Marc has been a tremendous asset to the Illinois Racing Board and to RCI, and there is a pleasure to honor him with the Len Foote Award," said RCI President Ed Martin. "Marc is not only an expert on flat and harness racing, but his knowledge of wagering security is rivaled by few."
RCI also honored James P. Gowen, Vice President and Secretary for the Thoroughbred Racing and Protective Bureau (TRPB), with the 2014 William H. May Award. The award is presented annually to an individual or group who has shown "meritorious service" to the pari-mutuel racing industry. Past recipients include Stanley Bergstein, John Gaines, and Steve Barham, the 2013 recipient.
Gowen, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, has been involved in racing investigation since joining the TRBP as a field investigator in 1973. Gowen has worked at numerous racetracks across the United States, and was promoted to the TRPB Vice President position in 1996.
Longtime friend and colleague John Wayne, the Executive Director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, noted that "Racing is better on a day-to-day basis because of the countless hours that Mr. Gowen has dedicated to the industry".
At the luncheon Martin also honored the following individuals with the RCI President's Award for Exemplary Service:
- David Loregnard, Executive Director, Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority
- Vince Mares, Executive Director, New Mexico Racing Commission
- Dr. Mary Scollay-Ward, Equine Medical Director, Horse Racing Commission
- John Wayne, Executive Director, Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission
by Steve May, for