Nominations are now being accepted for the 2007 “Caretaker of the Year” Award. The award, sponsored annually since 1982 by Harness Tracks of America and now jointly by HTA and Hanover Shoe Farms, recognizes the unsung heroes of the sport, the caretakers who maintain the health and welfare of the sport’s horses.
All that is needed to nominate a groom for the 26th annual “Caretaker of the Year” award is a letter from an individual or group to Harness Tracks of America detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker. The winning caretaker receives an oil painting of himself or herself with the horse of their choice. All individuals nominated for the award receive a certificate of excellence and the first 50 grooms nominated also receive an embroidered jacket as a groom of the year nominee.
The “Caretaker of the Year” Award was founded in 1982 after Delvin Miller, addressing attendees at the annual HTA meeting as its Messenger award winner for that year, noted the sport gave no recognition to its grooms, its unsung stars. The 2006 “Caretaker of the Year” was Henry “Pete” Reynolds.
Indiana's Tomi Gillespie (currently employed in the Joe Putnam Stable) was bestowed this honor in 1992. Recognizing her hard work on two horses, Bret's Kash and Lori's Diamond, her trainer (Ernie Gaskin, while at Viking Meadows Farm) took the time to nominate her for the award. She was honored with a special presentation at the Indiana State Fair, during the Grand Circuit Meet that year. It was definitely a highlight for her. Tomi now has a beautiful statue which she treasures.
In 2005, Stephanie Black (also from Indiana) was the winner of this annual award. The nomination letter, written by Tammy Knox, noted Stephanie's ability to care for several horses racing on the same card. The award was presented during the live racing meet at Hoosier Park.
If you know of a groom who has performed outstanding work this year, take the time to nominate him/her for the prestigious award. Letters must contain the name, address, telephone number and jacket size for the nominated caretaker, along with the name, address and telephone number of the nominator.
Nominations must be postmarked by December 31, 2007.
Harness Tracks of America Caretaker of the Year
640 East Sunrise; Suite 200
ucson, AZ 85718
r faxed to (520) 529-3235,
r e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com