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Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has announced two candidates who will receive awards this year from the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship. The scholarship was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. "Both Micaela Bonilla and Jessica Hallett will each receive $500 from our Chapter," said committee chair Thomas H. Hicks. "Micaela is a senior at the University of Central Florida with a GPA of 4.0. She is a pre-veterinary science major, and Jessica is a college senior at Nova Southeastern University with a 3.33 GPA as a medical biology major. They are both outstanding students." Preference for these scholarship awards were given to a student(s) majoring in journalism, communications or equine related studies. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. This year both scholarships were generously donated by Maggie Sinclair and Jay Farrar of Winter Park and Kathleen and Thomas Hicks of Margate. Micaela Bonilla of Orlando is an upcoming senior at UCF going for her Bachelor's degree in biology. She then hopes to get into a university for her doctorate in veterinary medicine. She is on the Dean's List and on Honor Society for Phi Kappa Phi. Micaela also volunteers at a local animal shelter and is a certified veterinarian technician, working part-time. She hopes to work as a veterinarian with horses. Jessica Hallett of Margate, FL, has extensive leadership experience that includes President's 64 at NSU, Emergency Medical Technology Class Leader, NSU Dual Degree, United States Trotting Association Youth Delegate Executive Board and the NSU Hunt-Seat Equestrian Team. In addition to her studies this past year, Jessica also received training in TSA Canine Decov, Naloxone (Narcan) Administration, Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, Active Shooter Training and NSU Colleges of Allopathic and Osteopathic Professionalism. For more information about the Florida Chapter of USHWA and the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship, visit their website at www.ushwa-florida.com or go to their Facebook page at Florida Chapter USHWA . From the Florida Chapter of USHWA      

Pompano Beach, FL --- Steven Wolf, president of the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Racing Writers Association (USHWA), has announced that the chapter is now accepting applications for its 2020 Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Awards. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. "While our Florida Chapter was hesitant at first due to the pandemic that canceled our annual fundraising Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame banquet," said Steve Wolf, "we still felt we needed to continue our scholarship program, which is important for our young people to help them with the costs of tuition." Preference for these scholarship awards will be given to a student majoring in journalism, communications or veterinarian related studies. This year there are two sponsors of the scholarships. They are Maggie LaClair and Jay Farrar and Kathleen and Thomas H. Hicks. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Applicants must have demonstrated scholastic ability with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 and show evidence of community service and leadership through certificates, awards and/or letters of commendation. Fully completed applications must be postmarked no later than July 1, 2020, for consideration of an August 2020 award. Recipients may reapply annually for a maximum of four years. Applications should be submitted/addressed to the Florida Chapter USHWA, Scholarship Committee, 3508 Sahara Springs Blvd., Pompano Beach, FL 33069. For more information or to receive an application on the internet, visit http://www.ushwa-florida.com/ or contact via e-mail to Thomas H. Hicks at renparlc@gate.net or Steven Wolf at stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA  

Coral Springs, FL - The 2020 Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame Banquet that was scheduled for Friday, March 27, 2020, has been postponed until future notice due to the pandemic over Coronavirus-19. The banquet is run by the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association. The event was to take place at McDivot's at the Carolina Country Club in Margate, FL. Once a new date for the dinner is establish, all participants and guests that have already ordered tickets, or still wish to attending, will be notified. For additional information contact Florida USHWA Chapter president, Steve Wolf, at email, stevenwolf1956@gmail.com or call at 954-654-3757. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA        

Coral Springs, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has announced the 2019 inductees to the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame. The four new human inductees are Anthony "Tony" Alagna, Frank Antonacci, Tom Merriman and Laurie Poulin. There was one equine inductee, the pacing stallion McWicked. Their induction will take place on Friday, March 27 at McDivot's at the Carolina Country Club in Margate. Tony Alagna of Manalapan, NJ has been a prominent Florida figure in harness racing, spending every winter training upwards of 80 two and three-year-old trotters and pacers at Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village in Delray Beach. This season Tony has the most expensive yearling ever sold, Maverick, for $1.1 million in his stable, along with a slew of promising two-year-old's and some great three-year-old's that includes Ramona Hill, the Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year last season. Frank Antonacci, of Somerville, CT, is no stranger to Florida harness racing. He has had his Lindy Farm Stable wintering at Sunshine Meadows for nearly 30 straight years. Frank and the Antonacci Family have a great passion for the sport of Harness Racing and have been actively involved in promoting the industry for decades. Tom Merriman, of Delray Beach, is one of only a handful of people who can boast of being at Pompano Park when the track first opened in 1964, but that's where Tom Merriman was driving that night. The top trainer of three million dollar winning horses, Civil Action, Monte Hall and Energy Burner are just a few of the many great horses he has handled over the years. His trademark warming smile is always there to greet friends and it is just this year that Tom has hung up the lines and no longer is training horses after 60 plus years in the sulky. Laurie Poulin, of Okeechobee, continues to have very successful racing seasons for decades in Florida. The former trainer/driver has bred, foaled and owned numerous Florida Sire Stakes champions from her farm in Okeechobee. Current and past champions include Diamond Goal ($586,000), Prairie Jaguar ($408,000), Prairie Panther ($332,00) and many more top 'Prairie' horses over the years. McWicked was the 2018 Harness Horse of the Year in both Canada and the USA. In 2019 he was voted the Aged Pacer of the Year and is now retired to stud duty in Canada. His career was amazing and every winter he was in Jim McDonald's stable at Pompano Park. McWicked's lifetime mark was 1:46.2 and he earned more than $5 million(CA) in purses. This year there will be two President's Awards presented by Florida Chapter President Steve Wolf. The President award winners are Eric Cherry and Maurice Chodash, of Boca Raton, for the development of OnGait.com. The second President's Award goes to Myron Bell of Boynton Beach, for his part in the development of On The Deck at Sunshine Meadows. Other award winners who will be honored at the dinners are: The Bill Popfinger Award for pacing goes to trainer Kim Sears of Osteen, the first person ever to win this award three times. The Stanley Dancer Award for trotting goes to driver/trainer Peter Wrenn of Carmel, IN, who trains at Sunshine Meadows. The Francis Dodge Van Lennep Award to an outstanding female in the industry goes to Casie Coleman-Herlihy of Cambridge, ON. The Dan Gawlas Good Guy Award goes to John Hallett of Margate. There are two Lifetime Achievement Awards that will go to farrier Phil Cable of Pompano Beach, and trainer Mike Murphy of Otisville, MI. The Caretaker of the Year Award will be presented posthumously to Joe Kroll, who died this past year. Joe was an outstand caretaker during his career. He took care of two world champions in McWicked and Tarport Frenzy, plus many other stake champions. Accepting his award will be his widow, Shawna Kroll of Lake Worth. Tickets are $80 per person for the full course dinner that begins at 6:30 pm with a one-hour open bar with appetizers. Tables of ten are available. There is free parking at McDivot's at the Carolina Country Club, located just off Sample Road West on N. Rock Island Road. The address is 3011 N Rock Island Road, Margate, FL 33063. For more information, to purchase tickets, or place a congratulatory ad in the program book, please contact Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757 or email stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter USHWA

Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has announced two candidates who will receive awards this year from the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarships. The scholarship was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, was the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. "Both Sarah Birkhold and Jessica Hallett will each receive $1,000 from our Chapter," said committee chair Thomas H. Hicks. "Sarah is a graduate student with a GPA of 3.9 at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Jessica is a college junior at Nova Southeastern University with a 3.4 GPA as a medical major. They are both outstanding students." Preference for these scholarship awards were given to a student(s) majoring in journalism, communications or equine related studies. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Both women have been prior winners of the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarships and are the children of harness racing parents. Sarah Birkhold of Sarasota, FL is a third-year graduate student at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinarian Medicine seeking her doctorate in veterinarian medicine and is on course to graduate in May, 2021. She is on the Honor Society for the following groups, Alpha Chi, Phi Kappa Phi and the Collegiate Leadership and Achievement Association. Sarah is also Vice-President of the Chapter Society of Theriogenology, Secretary of the Food Animal Club and was President and Secretary of the Gator Collegiate Cattlewoman Organization. Jessica Hallett of Margate, FL, has scholastic honors that include International Baccalaureate (IB), HOSA Barbara James Community Service Regional, State and National Service Awards, NSU Sharks Services Award, President's 64, NSU Honors College, NSU Dual Degree, Student Leader of the Year Award and Star Of Life Award. This past year Jessica, who writes for Harnesslink.com, wrote a story that went national and she was awarded Honorable Mention in the John Hervey Media Awards. She is also on the NSU Equestrian Club and Team, Women's Weightlifting Team, the Emergency and Disaster Medicine Club, Delta Epsilon Mu and Honors College. For more information about the Florida Chapter of USHWA and the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship, visit their website at www.ushwa-florida.com or go to their Facebook page at Florida Chapter USHWA . by Steven Wolf, for the Florida Chapter of USHWA    

Pompano Beach, FL --- Steven Wolf, president of the Florida chapter of the United States Harness Racing Writers Association (USHWA), has announced that the chapter is now accepting applications for its 2019 Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Awards. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. Preference for these scholarship awards will be given to a student majoring in journalism, communications or veterinarian related studies. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Applicants must have demonstrated scholastic ability with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 and show evidence of community service and leadership through certificates, awards and/or letters of commendation. Fully completed applications must be postmarked no later than June 3, 2019, for consideration of a July 2019 award. Recipients may reapply annually for a maximum of four years. Applications should be submitted/addressed to the Florida Chapter USHWA, Scholarship Committee, 3508 Sahara Springs Blvd., Pompano Beach, FL 33069. For more information or to receive an application on the internet, contact via e-mail to Thomas H. Hicks at renparlc@gate.net or Steven Wolf at stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA    

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Dorothy "Dottie" Haughton early Monday morning at her home in New Hampsire, surrounded by family and friends. Mrs. Haughton had been ill the past year. She was 87. She is the widow of the great harness racing trainer and driver, Billy Haughton. After his passing, Mrs. Haughton was a long-time Harness Racing Museum trustee and supporter of the harness racing industry.  She was honored in 2009 by the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Further details will be posted.  Harnesslink Media  

Coral Springs, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has announced four candidates who will receive awards this year from the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Fund. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization "There were 13 candidates that were eligible for the scholarships," said Thomas H. Hicks, who chairs the scholarship committee. "And our committee worked diligently in deciding who would be the winners. We are very pleased to have had so many applications this year and it was not easy making the final selections." The top scholarship winner of $1,000 was Shiselle Povedano and three students, Ashley Ferrato, Jessica Hallett and Jaimeelee Medoza, will each receive $500. Preference for these scholarship awards were given to a student(s) majoring in journalism, communications or equine related studies. On average, there has been up to $3,000 awarded annually in scholarship money. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Shiselle Povedano of Coral Springs is in her senior year at the University of Florida heading towards duel degrees in public relations and economics. She currently had a GPA of 3.75 and is on the Dean's List. Shiselle is also a co-founder and vice president of the Association for Media Professionals. She recently worked as part of the photography crew for the SuperCon Convention in south Florida and does community service with the CDS Family & Behavioral Health Services, an at-risk youth prevention center. She was the only unanimous choice of the Scholarship Committee. Ashley Ferrato of Palm City is in her freshman year at the University of Florida and is a pre-veterinarian student. She attended South Fork High School and had a GPA of 3.87. She has grown up with her family owning horses her entire life. She worked the past summer as an assistant for the Animal Care Extraordinaire Vet Clinic, competes in Dressage and was an assistant barn manager for Treasure Coast Dressage. Her extracurricular activities included USEF Varsity Lettering and is an officer of Future Farmers of America. Jessica Hallett of Margate has entered her sophomore year at Nova Southeastern University going for a degree in Biology and Behavioral Neuroscience and has a GPA of 3.69. She is the daughter of trainers John & Michelle Hallett of Margate and has spent most of her life around harness racing. Jessica's extracurricular activities are quite extensive including the NSU Equestrian Club, President's 64, Broward Sheriff's Office Police and Fire Cadet Program and many more groups. And Jessica is becoming an accomplished journalist and has been writing feature stories on harness racing for Harnesslink.com for more than a year. Jaimeelee Medoza of Port Charlotte is entering the University of Central Florida as a junior and has a GPA of 3.54 and is studying towards a degree in Communications with a minor in Marketing. She was Dean's List the past two years at Florida Gulf Coast University. An avid singer, Jaimeelee performs at local churches, nursing homes and has also worked for Habitat For Humanity. She also worked on the school newspaper as a news writer, worked in radio and on the Yearbook Committee. For more information about the Florida Chapter of USHWA and the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship, visit their website at www.ushwa-florida.com. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA    

Victoria M. Howard, co-author of Roosevelt Raceway Where it All Began and Meadow Skipper The Untold Story and author of the acclaimed Kentucky Horse Park Paradise Found and the New York Equus Film Festival Award winner Junior And Elena a horse love story has decided to concentrate strictly on harness racing with an exciting series of articles that will document Girl Power: The Superstar Women Of Harness Racing. Said Howard, a recent inductee to Florida’s USHWA Hall Of Fame as a Communicator, "Paradise Found was one of my favorite books to write for after visiting the prestigious park in Lexington, I was blown away with the many breeds of horses that are housed there.” GIRL POWER—The Superstar Women of Harness Racing will appear as a monthly series of articles authored by Ms. Howard that will illustrate the achievements and accomplishments of female trainers, drivers, industry executives, breeders and publicists, in addition to highlighting those who might be ‘behind the scenes’ while in support of their significant male others. Potential subjects include Hall of Fame nominee Linda Toscano, Casie Coleman, Michelle Crawford, Laura Young, Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, Nancy Johansson and many other accomplished harness racing ladies. “Now that I’m devoting my full energies to Harness Racing,"Howard said. "I’m overwhelmed, though not surprised with the success of so many of my sisters and I’ll be honored to have the opportunity to document their accomplishments.” by Bob Marks

Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has debuted their new website at www.ushwa-florida.com. The Florida Chapter has also developed a Facebook Page at Florida Chapter USHWA. "The Florida Chapter has dedicated this year to working harder than ever to help promote the sport of harness racing in Florida and across the nation." said Florida USHWA Chapter president Steve Wolf. "The debut of our website and our new Facebook Page is just the start of our 2018 program. "The harness racing industry, especially in Florida," Wolf explained, "needs to have more exposure to the general masses. We will be doing more stories on owners, trainers, drivers, caretakers and the many training/breeding farms throughout the state, working on special events in the local communities, and hopefully help educating new fans to this great sport through our chapter. "Our Chapter's treasurer, Thomas H. Hicks," Wolf credited. "created and developed the website and did a super job." The Florida Chapter of USHWA was first formed in 1964 following the opening of the Pompano Park racetrack. Over the many years the Chapter has worked with racetrack management and the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association in helping promote the sport both locally and nationally. The Chapter annually hosts the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame Banquet, has given out tens of thousands of dollars through the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship for Florida residents studying journalism or equine related majors, and provides special funding for Florida horsemen and women in need due to poor health, accidents and/or dire financial situations through the Aime Choquette Sunshine Fund. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA          

Pompano Beach, FL --- Steven Wolf, president of the Florida chapter of the United States Harness Racing Writers Association (USHWA), has announced that the chapter is now accepting applications for its 2018 Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Awards. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park, and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. Preference for these scholarship awards will be given to a student majoring in journalism, communications or veterinarian related studies. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Applicants must have demonstrated scholastic ability with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 and show evidence of community service and leadership through certificates, awards and/or letters of commendation. Fully completed applications must be postmarked no later than June 1, 2018, for consideration of a July 2018 award. Recipients may reapply annually for a maximum of four years. Applications should be submitted/addressed to the Florida Chapter USHWA, Scholarship Committee, 3508 Sahara Springs Blvd., Pompano Beach, FL 33069. For more information or to receive an application on the internet, contact via e-mail to Thomas H. Hicks at renparlc@gate.net or Steven Wolf at stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA  

Deerfield Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) held its 27th annual Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame banquet Friday evening, March 2 with three new members inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Royal Fiesta Ballroom. There were 14 awards given out with the three Hall of Fame inductees the highlight of the evening. Induction recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders within the industry for more than ten years who have contributed to the betterment of the Standardbred Industry. The inductees were owner, trainer and driver, Dan Daley of Vero Beach, long time trainer/driver Warren Harp of Bell, and renowned second trainer, Odell Thompson, of Lauderdale Lakes. "What a special honor this is tonight for all my years working in harness racing," Said Warren Harp. "I could not be prouder with this award and am especially thankful to the Florida USHWA Chapter." "It is so great to get this special honor," said Dan Daley, "And to have my family with me tonight made it all the better." "I was just about speechless when I went to the podium to get my trophy," said Odell Thompson. "I could not thank enough people to have helped me throughout my career and who have been my friends for so many years. It's a blessing I will never forget." Elected to the Communicators Corner of the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame was renowned author, owner and publicist Victoria Howard, of Boca Raton. "This is one of the biggest thrills of my lifetime," Howard said. "I could not be happier. I love writing about racing, owning and breeding race horses, everything about harness racing. It has been in my blood for most of my life and I could not think of doing anything else but being in this great sport." The William Popfinger Award for developing outstanding juvenile pacers went for the second time to trainer Kim Sears of Osteen. Kim could not make the dinner but her trophy was accepted by horsewoman Donna Richardson and former USHWA national Chairman of the Board, Chris Tully. The current president of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA, Tully was also the events special auctioneer for the evening. Florida Chapter treasurer, Thomas H. Hicks, was the Emcee for the evening presentations. All money raised from the silent auction, live auction and program journal go to support the Allen J Finkelson Scholarship Fund and the Aime Choquette Sunshine Fund. The Stanley Dancer Award, which recognizes achievements of a trainer who has been continuously outstanding in the development of young trotters, was presented for the first time to trainer-driver Jason MacDougall of Astor. Winner of the Delvin G. Miller Award, which recognizes someone or an organization whose life in harness racing reflects dedication and integrity furthering the growth of the sport went to Elizabeth Hennessey Schaut of Pompano Beach. The Frances Dodge Van Lennep Award, which recognizes an outstanding female who has made great contributions to the sport was presented to Kathy Breedlove of Pompano Beach. The Peter Haughton Award, which goes to an upcoming young driver at the Pompano Park meet went to 23-year-old James "JD" Yoder of Bell. The winner of the Dana Irving Award for breeding excellent juvenile performers in 2017 was presented for the first time to Marianne and Maggie Audley of Gold Star Farm in Bell. The Florida USHWA Chapter's Lifetime Achievement Award goes to longtime trainer/driver Tom Merriman of Delray Beach and caretaker, racetrack maintenance man, Emmitt Davis of Pompano Beach. The annual Caretaker of the Year Award is presented to an outstanding individual who, over his or her career, has dedicated untiring time and efforts caring for the horses in the stable(s) they worked for. This year's winner was Joanie Uszak from the Mike Murphy Stable, who has been grooming horses for nearly 60 years. "It was a superb event tonight," said Florida USHWA Chapter president, Steve Wolf. "Everyone had such a great time with family and friends and those who won awards I know were well earned and will cherish them always. We even had a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday for Ann-Mari Daley's mom, Cookie Fedun, the long-time horsemen's valet at Pompano Park, who was celebrating her 89th birthday. It's all made for a fun-filled evening." From the Florida Chapter USHWA

Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the States Harness Writers Associations' president, Steven Wolf, has announced the Hall of Fame inductees for 2018 and the annual award winners for the 2017 harness racing season. They will be honored at the association's 27th annual Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame Awards Dinner on Friday, March 2, 2018 at the Royal Fiesta Catering Ballroom in Deerfield Beach. Elected to the chapter's Hall of Fame, which recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders within the industry for more than ten years who have contributed to the betterment of the Standardbred Industry, are owner, trainer and driver, Dan Daley of Vero Beach, trainer/driver Warren Harp of Bell, and renowned second trainer, Odell Thompson, of Lauderdale Lakes. Elected to the Communicators Corner of the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame is renowned author, owner and publicist Victoria Howard, of Boca Raton. The William Popfinger Award for developing outstanding juvenile pacers goes for the second time to trainer Kim Sears of Osteen. The Stanley Dancer Award, which recognizes achievements of a trainer who has been continuously outstanding in the development of young trotters, goes for the first time to trainer-driver Jason MacDougall of Astor. Winner of the Delvin G. Miller Award, which recognizes someone or an organization whose life in harness racing reflects dedication and integrity furthering the growth of the sport goes to Elizabeth Hennessey Schaut of Pompano Beach. The Frances Dodge Van Lennep Award, which recognizes an outstanding female who has made great contributions to the sport goes to Kathy Breedlove of Pompano Beach. The winner of the Allen J. Finkelson Award recognizes an individual in the sport who has contributed to the positive promotion of the Standardbred industry and being honored this year is amateur driving champion Dein Spriggs of Jupiter. The Peter Haughton Award, which goes to an upcoming young driver at the Pompano Park meet goes to James "JD" Yoder of Bell. The winner of the Dana Irving Award for breeding excellent juvenile performers in 2017 goes for the first time to Marianne and Maggie Audley of Gold Star Farm in Bell. The Dan Gawlas Good Guy Award, presented annually to an outstanding individual who has always contributed positively to the sport, goes to FSBOA President and amateur driver Joe Pennacchio of Delray Beach. The Florida USHWA Chapter's Lifetime Achievement Award goes to longtime trainer/driver Tom Merriman of Delray Beach and caretaker, racetrack maintenance man, Emmitt Davis of Pompano Beach. The annual Caretaker of the Year Award is presented to an outstanding individual who, over his or her career, has dedicated untiring time and efforts caring for the horses in the stable(s) they worked for. This year's winner is Joanie Uszak from the Mike Murphy Stable, who has been grooming horses for nearly 60 years. Tickets are $80 per person for the full course dinner that begins at 6:30 pm with a one-hour open bar with appetizers. Tables of ten are available. There is free parking at Royal Fiesta Catering, located in the Cove off Hillsboro Blvd at 1680 SE 3rd Court, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, to purchase tickets, or place a congratulatory ad in the program book, please contact Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757 or email stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter USHWA

Coral Springs, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has announced five candidates who will receive awards this year from the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Fund. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization "There were eleven candidates that were eligible for the scholarships," said Thomas H. Hicks, who chairs the scholarship committee. "And our committee worked diligently in deciding who would be the winners. We are very pleased to have had so many applications this year and it was not easy making the final selections." Two students, Daniel Clien and Jessica Hallet, will both receive scholarship checks for $750 each as the two top candidates. Students Amber Kelley, Paul Levia and Sarah Birkhold will each get $500. Preference for these scholarship awards were given to a student(s) majoring in journalism, communications or equine related studies. On average, there has been up to $3,000 awarded annually in scholarship money. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Daniel Clein will start his freshman year this fall at the University of Central Florida with a goal of becoming a veterinarian. He is a graduate of Wellington High School with a GPA of 3.6, was in the Wellington HS Equine Pre-Vet Academy Magnet Program and participated in numerous community outreach programs, including creating a 501C3 not-for-profit charity. Jessica Hallett will be a freshman at Nova Southeastern University. She is the daughter of trainers John & Michelle Hallett and has spent most of her life around harness racing. She graduated from Deerfield Beach High School with an impressive GPA average of 5.12, was a star athlete, volunteered in numerous community service activities and has been writing feature stories on harness racing for Harnesslink.com. Sarah Birkhold is from Sarasota and is a first year graduate student at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinarian Medicine. She has been an Allen J. Finkelson scholarship winner the past four years. Her GPA is 3.72 and she has been President of the Gator Collegiate Cattlewomen Society, Treasurer of Block & Bridle Group, a teaching assistant in Equine Management and did an internship at Firethorn Equine in Ohio. She is the daughter of FSBOA Director and horse owner, George Birkhold. Amber Kelley is from North Lauderdale and is a sophomore at Florida Atlantic University and is majoring in Multi Media Journalism Studies. She has a GPA of 3.789 and was nominated for both the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Society for Collegiate Leadership. She is also secretary of the Kiwanis Circle K International local chapter and is involved with a Mentoring Project. Paul Levia hails from Pembroke Pines and is a junior at Florida International University and is majoring in Broadcast Media. He has a GPA of 3.875 and is an AP Scholar, National Honor Society since 2014 and is a volunteer at the Broward Public Library. By Steve Wolf, for the Florida USHWA Chapter  

Pompano Beach, FL - Harness racing gets its name from the fast-paced beating of hooves and crowds cheering as the thundering hooves pound towards the finish line. Although the talented horses steal the spotlight, accentuated by the roar of the fans, the real action is orchestrated behind the scenes, beginning in the early hours of the morning before the first beam of sunlight and often ending in the deepest and darkest of the night. At the center of it all, the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) holds the key that unlocks the magic that hits the racetrack every race night. They represent and assist the horsemen and women who work at the track including owners, breeders, trainers, drivers and grooms.   And currently running the office at Pompano Park is a New York bred woman raised into the harness racing sport, Rosie Huff. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Rosie was one of four children in the Villante family.  At the age of 10, her father, Vincenzo Villante, moved to Englishtown, New Jersey in hopes of finding more work as a bricklayer. Buying seven acres of land, Vincenzo built a home next door to his brother, Joe Villante, who, of course, was Rosie’s uncle. At that time, Joe owned riding horses; however, he later transitioned into owning Standardbreds. Pete Villante, another uncle, had owned and been racing Standardbreds. Already riding horses for most of her time in New Jersey, Rosie would begin to learn the basics of the Standardbred racing industry from her uncles.  Her teenage years marked the era she would begin training and jogging horses, signifying the years of her first arrival into the business. Raised in New Jersey, Rosie migrated south to Florida in the summer of 1982 and worked as a caretaker for her uncle Pete at the South Florida Trotting Center and, on occasion, traveling up to the Meadowlands Racetrack on occasion until August, 1983. At this time, Rosie moved to Freehold Raceway to work for her uncle Joe before subsequently becoming a “free-lance” caretaker for many top Stables, including the Caraluzzi-McNichol Stable and Ray Vaughn-Thomas.  From 1991 to 1994, Rosie worked for the legendary Stanley Dancer, working with many world class stakes horses, including Lifelong Victory, At The Top and Donerail. While working for Stanley Dancer, Rosie found a new love while on her way to the track for a jogging session—and it was not a horse! From the seat of the jog cart, Rosie spotted a fresh face on the racetrack and, as she said, “it was love at first site” The mystery man was identified as Jake Huff, who shipped in the night before and worked for Gordon Norris. Day after day, Rosie worked in the barn stabled close to Jake, but she didn’t have the nerve to strike up a conversation. One night, though, March 7, 1993, she worked up the courage to have a talk with him. That initial talk turned into a love affair which blossomed over the years as Rosie and Jake moved to Michigan, taking positions in the Gordon Norris Stable. Three years from that first March 7 encounter, Rosie and Jake were married in Maui, Hawaii in 1996. Soon after, the Huff family began to grow with first-born, Ronnie, entering the world on February 1, 2000 and brother Ryan joining the family on July 11, 2001.  After working for Gordon Norris for two years, Rosie had to stop working with the horses due to her health. “It practically killed me to stop working with the horses, but it was a necessity for health reasons,” she lamented.  But, finally, there was a light at the end of the tunnel as Rosie discovered a position available at the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) in 1997.  Rosie approached Jay Sears, the president of the association, to conduct a plan of action to work part time in the FSBOA on a trial basis. With the help of Jim Ripoll showing her the ropes, she was able to continue the job full time.   She then worked full time until 2000, when she took a leave of absence to assume her new role as a mother. In 2004, Rosie resumed working for the FSBOA under Jane Murray and, to this very day, she is seen as a critical part of the success of that organization. When asked about her daily routine at the office, Rosie related that it's anything but a “routine.” “Every day is different for me,” Rosie said. “The only thing that is constant is the time the alarm clock goes off -- 5:15 a.m. “After getting the kids (Ronnie and Ryan) off to start their day, I am usually at the office by 7:30. “There is never a day when there aren't challenges, whether it be helping our horsemen and women with the insurance programs the FSBOA administers or helping with the draw, if necessary, or taking care of the stakes program and our breeding program or making sure that all Florida Bred horses are eligible to our stakes program. “If there is a special race going on, I have to be at the races to present blankets and make presentations---it's never ending, but it's a great never ending!” “It can be very challenging at times, however, it's a challenge that I love.” Of course, that is only a fraction of Rosie's daily routine. “Sometimes, it seems like there is not enough hours in the day when it comes to balancing work and the family. “My kids are very active in sports---a lot of sports---from wrestling and football to bowling and baseball. “There is practice to take care of, games to attend and, of course, mouths to feed and, as a parent, making sure that homework is done. “I'm lucky to get four or five hours of rest a day.” Rosie has been honored along the way for her great service to the horsemen and women in Florida. In 2008 she was awarded the Frances Dodge Van Lennap award and in 2016 was made an honorary member (only the second one ever in 26 years) of the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association. Rosie and Jake Huff continue to be prominent players in harness racing with Jake one of the most respected trainers in the sport and Rosie participating in the training of the Florida youngsters when not administering the FSBOA’s Stakes programs and insurance coverage for the horsemen and women in Florida. As Hall of Fame journalist John Berry says, “Rosie is one of those rare individuals that can play ‘every instrument in the orchestra’ when it comes to the sport of harness racing. She is indeed, irreplaceable!” By Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink   This is Jessica Hallett's first professional story as she is a new correspondent for Harnesslink. Jessica, 17, lives in Margate, Florida and is currently a senior at Deerfield Beach High School. She is the daughter of Pompano Park owner/trainers John and Michelle Hallett.

Pompano Beach, FL --- Steven Wolf, president of the Florida chapter of the United States Harness Racing Writers Association (USHWA), has announced that the chapter is now accepting applications for its 2017 Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Awards. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. Preference for these scholarship awards will be given to a student majoring in journalism, communications or veterinarian related studies. On average, there have been up to $3,000 awarded annually in scholarship money. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Applicants must have demonstrated scholastic ability with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.8 and show evidence of community service and leadership through certificates, awards and/or letters of commendation. Fully completed applications must be postmarked no later than May 29, 2017, for consideration of a June 2017 award. Recipients may reapply annually for a maximum of four years. Applications should be submitted/addressed to the Florida Chapter USHWA, Scholarship Committee, 3508 Sahara Springs Blvd., Pompano Beach, FL 33068. For more information or to receive an application on the internet, contact via e-mail to Thomas H. Hicks at renparlc@gate.net or Steven Wolf at stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA  

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