Tommy Cugle, an energetic veteran harness racing groom who is currently employed at Teague Stables, has been named 2010 Groom of the Year in the annual competition sponsored by HTA and Hanover Shoe Farms.
Cugle told his nominator, Delaware-based publicist and TV racing show producer and host Heather Moffett, "I can't imagine my life any other way...I would say that I love it, but I enjoy it even so much more than that. I still get such a great feeling when I walk into the barn in the mornings and see my horses."
Those horses include, winner of the Oliver Wendell Holmes division and The Adios in 2010; , hometown winner of the Governor's Cup at the Delaware State Fair; and I'm Gorgeous, who won a leg of the Battle of the Brandywine as well as elims of the Cane Pace and the Little Brown Jug.
George Teague, Jr., described his long-time acquaintance and current employee's dedication and skill thusly, "When I send Tommy on the road, I don't have to worry about a thing. In fact, there have been a couple stakes races where I decided to stay at home with the family and just watch on simulcast. Tommy will ask, ‘Why aren't you going to come up?' and I tell him, ‘Why should I? You're here!' I never have to worry about equipment, warm-up time, not a thing. It's nice to have a groom you can have so much trust in."
Moffett notes that in addition to his talents as a groom for Teague's racehorses, Tommy Cugle is an "amazing singer" who performed the national anthem at a past Hambletonian and Breeders Crown and that he "dumps grain morning and night for 15 equines and manages the turn-out schedule" at another of Teague's farms. Her glowing nomination concludes, "No matter what he's doing -- working, singing or being the go-to guy to put a smile on your face -- he does everything with enthusiasm."
The judges, representing HTA and Hanover Shoe Farms, appreciate such devotion among all of this year's nominees and note that the award is symbolic of the work ethic of grooms everywhere.
Harness Tracks of America