Jeff Gural was voted horse person of the year for his enormous contribution to the sport by the fans of harness racing. Gural has been the driving force behind the resurgence of harness racing in New Jersey with the opening of the impressive $88 million dollar grandstand at the new Meadowlands Racetrack, and in the process helped to ensure the stability of the sport in North America.
This year's balloting produced the highest amount of votes ever cast in this category (4,559) and Gural received 1,499 of them (33%). This is the second time Gural has won this award as he was presented this same honor in 2011.
The racing moment of the year went to Bee A Magician's perfect 17 for 17 2013 campaign. In what turned out to be her closest race all season, Bee A Magician beat out Foiled Again topping the $6 million mark for his career by only two votes, 818 to 816. A total of 3,113 votes were cast in that category and the top two moments combined to take 53% of all the tallies.
Jeff Gural and the connections of Bee A Magician will be honored on Sunday, February 23 at the USHWA Dan Patch Awards Banquet, the climatic event of the 2013 racing season, to be held at Dover Downs in Dover, Del. Further information about the banquet, hotel reservations and purchasing dinner tickets is available at www.ushwa.org.
The Railbird Recognition Awards are a fan voted honor that is co-sponsored by the United States Harness Writers Association and the United States Trotting Association. Voting in this year's Railbird's displayed a total of 7,672 ballots cast online on the USTA homepage during the month of December, which was a 24% increase over last year and the second highest voting total in the history of the award.