Friday, September 2, 2016

Contact: Andy Schweigardt
Director of Industry Relations and Development
(859) 277-5891

Inaugural Thoroughbred Industry Employee Award Finalists Announced

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Following a huge response from the industry, with over 110 nominations received, the finalists for the inaugural Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards presented by Godolphin have today been announced.

The Awards recognize and reward the outstanding skills, commitment and contribution of the Thoroughbred industry employees who are at the heart of our sport. The Shortlist Judging Panel had the difficult task of selecting just three finalists for each category.

The second and final stage of judging will take place during the week of October 3rd with a separate judging panel deciding the winners in each of the categories. The winner of the Thoroughbred Industry Community Award has already been decided as only one prize is awarded in that category.

The TIEA ceremony will be held on opening day of Keeneland’s fall meet, October 7th. A total of 13 individuals will be recognized in five different categories: Leadership Award Farm, Leadership Award Racing, Dedication to Breeding Award, Dedication to Racing Award and a Thoroughbred Industry Community Award.

Reid McLellan, Chairman of the Judging Panels, said, “We couldn’t have been more pleased with the response by the industry in this the first year of the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards here in the United States. It wasn’t the easiest process to determine the finalists as each category was very well represented. But with Godolphin’s and Sheikh Mohammed’s generosity, we are now able to recognize and reward these individuals who truly make up the backbone of the Thoroughbred industry.

“On behalf of my fellow judges, I want to congratulate the finalists and look forward to meeting all of them in person during the final judging process in October. Having gone through this judging process, I am impressed by the individuals that we have taking care of our equine athletes. It’s an honor to be involved with such a wonderful program like this and I look forward to this year’s event and many more to come in the future.”

In addition to a commemorative trophy for the winners, three individual awards in each category will be distributed. The winner in each category will receive $10,000, while the other two finalists will receive $2,500 each. On top of this, farm and racing employees associated with each award recipient will receive monetary recognition. The winner of the Industry Community Award will receive $10,000 and an additional $5,000 will be given to the charity of their choice. Total prize money for the five awards will be $115,000.

The finalists are:

Leadership Award – Farm
Victor Espinoza (Brookdale Farm)
John Hall (Taylor Made)
Matt Koch (Shawhan Place LLC)

Leadership Award – Racing Stable
Jimmy Barnes (Bob Baffert)
Melissa Cohen (Richard Violette)
Laz Guerra (Mike Maker)

Dedication to Breeding Award – Farm
Everett Charles (Stone Farm)
Leon Hamilton (Ashview Farm)
James Sebastian (Claiborne Farm)

Dedication to Racing Award – Stable
Jose “Vinny” Castenada (Marty Jones Racing Stable)
Danny Ramsey (Kenny McPeek Racing)
Raul Rodriguez (Art Sherman Racing)

Thoroughbred Industry
Community Award winner Entity
Israel “Izzy” Vega (Racetrack Chaplaincy of California)

Notes to editors:
1. The Awards are generously sponsored by Godolphin and facilitated by The National HBPA, TOBA and The Jockey Club. Media partners are the TDN, Blood-Horse Publications, Daily Racing Form and TVG.
2. The winners of the two Farm and two Racing categories will receive a prize of $10,000 with an additional $5,000 being awarded to the winner’s farm or stable. The two runners-up in these categories will win $2,500 each, with the same amount going to their farm or stable.
3. The winner of the Industry Community Award will receive a prize of $10,000 and an additional $5,000 will be given to the charity of their choice.
4. The shortlist panel was comprised of: Chairman, Reid McLellan, PhD. Executive Director of Groom Elite Program; Daniel Fick, ROAP Accredited Senior Steward; Anna Seitz Ciannello, Client Development and Public Relations Manager, Fasig-Tipton; Todd Mostoller, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania HBPA; Stacie Clark, Operations Consultant, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
About Godolphin:
Godolphin is a global thoroughbred breeding and horseracing stable founded in 1992 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Named in honor of the Godolphin Arabian, one of the three founding stallions of the modern thoroughbred born in the Arabian Gulf, what started with a handful of horses in the desert has evolved into the foremost international horseracing stable.
Sponsored by Emirates Airline and racing in the famous Royal Blue silks, Godolphin strives for excellence, winning many of the world’s major races along the way. To date, Godolphin has won over 220 Group One races in 12 different countries, across four continents. For further information, please visit Godolphin’s website at