Day At The Track

W. Dalton Dietrich, Tom Sage award winners

02:28 AM 02 May 2015 NZST
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Tom Sage, Len Foote Award Tom Sage
Tom Sage, Len Foote Award
Tom Sage

TAMPA, FL - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) is pleased to announce that noted spinal cord injury researcher W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D. and racing regulator Tom Sage were the recipients of the organization's top awards that were bestowed at the 81st Annual RCI Conference on Racing and Wagering Integrity, held last week at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tampa, Florida.

Dr. Dietrich was named the winner of the 2015 William H. May Award, which is given annually to an individual or group that has provided "meritorious service" to the racing industry, to honor his work with The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The program is dedicated to developing and testing new treatments for people living with paralysis, and has worked very closely with several Thoroughbred racing jockeys who have suffered catastrophic spinal cord injuries while competing. Among those jockeys include Michael Straight, Rene Douglas, Gary Donahue, and exercise rider and assistant trainer Robin Cleary, who since her injury has raised over $1 million for The Miami Project.

"The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis was established in 1985 to promote a new type of research today called regenerative medicine. Currently, over 200 dedicated individuals are helping to obtain the knowledge required to achieve the goals of the mission. We thank our supporters for helping us move our programs across the finish line," said Dr. Dietrich, who was unable to attend the ceremony. Receiving the award in his place was Terry Meyocks, National Manager for The Jockeys' Guild.

The 2015 Len Foote Award was given to Tom Sage, Executive Director of the Nebraska State Racing Commission. The award is named in honor of the late Len Foote, longtime Executive Director of the California Horse Racing Board, and is considered the highest distinction for racing officials in North America.

The award was presented by John F. Wayne, the Executive Director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, who spoke highly of the work that Sage has done over the years with RCI as well as the Organization of Racing Investigators (ORI).

In Sage's remarks, he noted that while he is considered one of the younger Executive Directors to be named the Len Foote Award recipient, he is very proud of the work that he has done in Nebraska as well as nationally through RCI and the ORI.

RCI President Ed Martin also issued Certificates of Exemplary Service to Charles Gardiner, Executive Director of the Louisiana State Racing Commission, to Ralph "Chip" Kemnitz, Chairman of the South Dakota Commission on Gaming, and to the late Kirk Breed, Executive Director of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB). Accepting on behalf of Breed's family was current CHRB Executive Director Rick Baedeker.


1991 Bill Linton, Arizona
1992 Bruce Garland, New Jersey
1993 Gordon Hare, Oklahoma
1994 Larry Eliason, South Dakota
Dennis Oelschlager, Nebraska
1995 Ken Kirchner, Pennsylvania
1996 Frank Lamb, Wyoming
1997 Steve Barham, Oregon
1998 Frank Zanzuccki, New Jersey
1999 Joe Gorajec, Indiana
2000 Roy Wood, California
2001 Bruce Batson, Washington
2002 Cliff Nelson, Ohio
2003 John Wayne, Delaware
2004 Charles Gardiner III, Louisiana
2005 Paul M. Kelley, New Hampshire
2006 Stan Bowker, Virginia
2007 Dan Hartman, Colorado
2008 Ben Nolt, Pennsylvania
2009 Lisa E. Underwood, Kentucky
2010 Charla Ann King, Texas
2011 Dick Krueger, Minnesota
2012 Constantin Rieger, Oklahoma
2013 Hugh Gallagher, Delaware
2014 Marc Laino, Illinois
2015 Tom Sage, Nebraska
1986 Robert P. Strub, Santa Anita
1987 Breeders’ Cup Ltd.
1988 Daily Racing Form
1989 Stanley F. Bergstein, HTA
1990 James P. Ryan, Ryan Foundation
1991 The Jockey Club
1992 William Shoemaker, Jockey
1993 Tony Chamblin, RCI
1994 Joe Hirsch, Racing Columnist
1995 Paul Mellon, Philanthropist
1996 Allen Paulson, Owner and Breeder
1997 James E. Bassett III, Keeneland
1998 Fred Noe, USTA
1999 Bob and Beverly Lewis, Horse 
2006 Curtis Barrett, University of Louisville
2007 American Greyhound Council
2008 University of Arizona, Race Track Industry Program
2009 Richard Duchossois, Arlington Park
2010 Paul J. Bowlinger, Former RCI Employee
2011 Team Zenyatta
2012 John and Barbara Smicklas
2013 Steve Barham
2014 Jim Gowan
2015 W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D. 
2000 R.D. Hubbard, Track, Horse Owner
2001 John R. Gaines, Horse Owners, Breeders’ Cup
2002 American Quarter Horse Association
2003 American Association of Equine Practitioners 
2004 Racetrack Chaplaincy Program
2005 Lonny T. Powell, Past RCI President and CEO

Steve May

Vice President and Business Manager

Association of Racing Commissioners International

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