Day At The Track

Illinois horsemen honor the best in the state

05:05 PM 14 Mar 2012 NZDT
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The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association held their 2011 Hall of Fame banquet dinner Monday night (March 12) at the Double Tree Hotel in Alsip. Turnout was high with over 250 harness racing horsemen attending to support and pay tribute to Illinois' top horsemen and Standardbred horses.

"All of us are here because of our love of the game," said IHHA President and Person of the Year David McCaffrey. "We fight for our existence in Illinois so future generations have the option to become horsemen like their parents and grandparents."

While it was understood by all that there are major problems with laws regulating the horse racing industry, many people noted that horsemen across the state have pulled together to solve their problems in ways that have never been seen before.

"This is one of the most active and engaged Board of Directors that Illinois has seen in many years," said McCaffrey. He noted that even with the lure of other states that have slot machines at their racetracks, IHHA membership is up 30 percent this year.

In a show of solidarity, members from the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, including President Mike Campbell, attended the banquet. Also in attendance were representatives from the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Racing Board.

Attendees had the chance to win over 70 door prizes including a new jog cart. Other prizes included horse blankets, a racing harness and an iPad.

The following were chosen for induction into the Illinois Harness Hall of Fame:

Living Inductee

Jim Eaton

Roger Welch

Equine Inductee

Million Dollar Bye

Valley Victor

Also being honored with special recognition were:

Person of the Year--David McCaffrey

Caretaker of the Year--Ted Pearson

Illinois Horse of the Year--Well To Do Guru

Lifetime of Dedication--Dr. Greg Petkus

Ambassador--Denny Pietranduono

Other honorees were:

Maywood and Balmoral Park's Driver of the Year--Marcus Miller

Maywood Park Co-Trainers of the Year--David McCaffrey and Pete Procopi

Balmoral Park Trainer of the Year--Bob Phillips

from the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Assn.

Courtesy of the US Trotting Association's Web Newsroom

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