Judy Davis Wilson, who not only hails from a family who has been involved in harness racing for generations, but has devoted most of her career to helping promote the Standardbred industry, has been voted by her peers as the 2013 USHWA (United States Harness Writers Association) Member of the Year.
Wilson, born in Elkton, Maryland and raised in Delaware, is part of the renowned “Davis” family, who are steeped in harness racing tradition in the Delaware Valley. Her father, Olin Davis, trained and drove with great success in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s for his uncle, J M Davis and their private stable of homebreds. Judy’s mother, Ruth Bower Davis, had a brief amateur career as a driver at Freehold Raceway in 1947 and later she was a Clerk of Course and Program Director at local tracks.
"I started my official career as a stand-in for my mom," Judy noted. "I was the Clerk of Course at Brandywine Raceway in 1969, and I took time off for family matters but returned to that track as Program Director in 1980 and was there until they closed in 1989. I also worked in the same position at Dover Downs and Freestate Raceway. I was there for the beginning of computerized programs in 1984 which led to a brief stint as a USTA RTS field representative"
Judy then became the Stakes Manager for the Hambletonian Society in 1992 and oversaw that program being modernized from index cards to a computer database. She then returned to her roots in her home state of Delaware in 2001 to oversee the Sire Stakes program there.
The former president of USHWA took over as the organization’s treasurer two years ago and combined as executive director of the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund, she works tirelessly to improve the harness racing and breeding industry in Delaware, and also on both a national and international level throughout her career in the sport.
Over the year Judy has been honored with a President’s Award from the USTA in 2006, the Indiana State Fair Harness Racing Award in 2001 and the Kent County Animal Kindness Award in 2009. She is also an experienced horsewoman who enjoys fox hunting, eventing and trail riding.
“Judy has shown time and again her devotion not just to USHWA, but to the sport of harness racing through her professional assistance when ever called upon, dedication and enthusiasm,” said USHWA president Steven Wolf. “And during the 30 plus years I have known her she has been always smiling and always has an energetic character. All of these things combined merits her being the recipient of the 2013 USHWA Member of the Year Award.”
Judy Davis Wilson will be honored on Sunday, February 23, at the Dan Patch Awards Banquet that will be held at Dover Downs in Dover, Delaware. Further information about the banquet, ticket purchases and the awards journal is available at www.ushwa.org.
By Steven Wolf for United States Harness Writers Association