Finalists Announced for Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards

By Nicole Russo
Lexington, KY (August 30, 2017)-Finalists for the second annual North American edition of the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards have been announced, along with the winner of the Thoroughbred Industry Community Award, Leslie Janecka.

Janecka, coordinator of the Kentucky Equine Management Internship program, and the finalists for the other awards will be recognized at an awards ceremony luncheon Oct. 13 at Keeneland. The awards are sponsored by Godolphin, in partnership with the National Horsemens’ Benevolent and Protective Association, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and The Jockey Club.

A judging panel of five selected the finalists from a total of 142 nominations. A second stage of judging will take place Oct. 12, with a separate panel deciding the winners. Awards will be presented in five other categories – leadership on a farm and in a racing stable, dedication to breeding and to racing, and the inaugural newcomer award.

For the leadership award in the farm category, the finalists are Clayton Murdock (Rancho San Miguel), Larry McGinnis (WinStar Farm), and Aidan O'Meara (Hill 'n' Dale). For the racing stable category, the finalists are Richard Budge (WinStar), Christophe Lorieul (Christophe Clement), and Hilary Pridham (Michael Stidham).

For the dedication to breeding award, the finalists are Francisco "Pancho" Sanchez (Craig Wheeler Thoroughbreds), Ronda Clifton (WinStar), and Lugusta "Gus" Gray (Double Diamond Farm). In the racing category, the finalists are Lena Lorieul (Shug McGaughey), Manuel Osoria-Perez (Chris Stenslie), and Raymond Davenport (Timothy L. Keefe).

The finalists for the newcomer award are Emily Castrenze (Arnaud Delacour), Kristina Taylor (WinStar), and Jak Knelman (Calumet Farm).

“I would like to express our thanks to Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed for bringing these important awards to the United States,” Reid McLellan, executive director of the Groom Elite Program and chairman of judging panels for the second year, said in a press release.

“I initially thought that having a year under our belts might make this year’s judging a bit easier in some respects, but it certainly didn’t play out that way,” McLellan continued. “We had 25 more nominations than last year, so all the categories were well represented with experienced and talented individuals. And although we narrowed the finalists down to three in each category, I would like to express that so many others were recognized by someone they work for or work with which demonstrates specifically the goal of these awards; to recognize people who haven't received recognition in the past for the good work they do. Just the fact that they’ve been nominated shows that they are, in fact, being recognized.”

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 their farm or stable. The two runners-up in those categories will win $2,500 each, with the same amount going to their farm or stable.

The winner of the newcomer award will receive $5,000, with $2,000 going to his or her farm or stable. The winner also will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Dubai. The two runners-up in this award will receive $2,000, with $1,000 going to their farm or stable.

Janecka, for her category, will receive a prize of $10,000 with an additional $5,000 going to the charity of her choice.