2017 Award Recipients
Allen Fairbanks (Retired Category)
The late Allen Fairbanks served as state steward at Thistledown for 21 years, retiring in 2004. Prior to his time at the Cleveland-area track, he served in the stewards’ stand at Detroit Race Course and Hazel Park in Michigan, Balmoral Park in Illinois, Green Mountain Race Track in Vermont, Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania, and Tampa Bay Downs in Florida. An accomplished jockey on the east coast in the 1950s and 1960s, Fairbanks was a multiple graded stakes winner, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Allen was a medical corpsman and ambulance driver in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany. Prior to his military service, Allen was a professional rodeo roper and bull and bronc rider.
Ralph D’Amico (Active Category)
Ralph D’Amico is serving in his 23rd year as the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) presiding state steward at Prairie Meadows in Des Moines, Iowa. His time in the stand also includes tenures at Oaklawn Park and Birmingham Race Course, as well as working as a Standardbred judge and Greyhound judge in Iowa. Ralph started in racing as a jockey in Ohio and was twice leading rider at Thistledown. The winner of more than 1,000 races, D’Amico was elected to the Ohio Sports Hall of Fame. D’Amico is on the IRGC Rules Task Force and has assisted on several occasions with the American Quarter Horse Association Youth Racing Experience.
2016 Award Recipients
Jerry Burgess began his career as a jockey in 1963 and was licensed in Colorado, New Mexico, California, and Oklahoma until 1987. He was the leading rider at Le Mesa Park, Raton, N.M., and Centennial Race Track in Littleton, Colo. Burgess has worked as a steward for the Texas Racing Commission since 1992 with experience as a steward at Ruidoso Downs and Hialeah. Burgess has been a member of the Jockeys’ Guild for 45 years. In 2010, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame, and in 2011 he was inducted into the New Mexico Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Burgess is regarded by his colleagues as honest and diplomatic with a reputation for upholding integrity within the sport.
For the past 25 years Michael Corey has served as chief state steward at Oklahoma tracks including Remington Park, Fair Meadows, and Will Rogers Downs. He began his career as a tattoo technician for the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau in 1978. He also spent time as an identifier, placing judge, paddock judge, assistant racing secretary, and ultimately a steward. Corey is known among his colleagues to be “clearly guided by a great passion for the sport of horse racing and an innate sense of fairness.” Corey still works as chief state steward for the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission.
Peter Kosiba Jr.
Peter Kosiba Jr. served more than five decades as a racing official. He retired in 2013 from Arlington Park where he had served as association steward since 1995. Prior to that he served as a steward at the Fair Grounds, a racing secretary at Penn National Race Course for more than 20 years, and as a racing official at tracks throughout the Midwest and East Coast. Kosiba has been credited for his knowledge, kindness, and loyalty. His peers have noted this not only in his career, but also through his dedication to his family and friends.
Dennis Nevin has been involved in California horse racing for the past 50 years. He began working in the operations department on the fair circuit in 1962. In 1974, Nevin was appointed as a steward, beginning a 42-year association with the California Horse Racing Board. He is described to be determined, consistent and fair by his colleagues. One colleague noted, “Any junior steward is fortunate to work alongside Nevin. By word and action, he is a teacher. He instructs by example. He provides a clear definition of what it means to be a steward.”
The late Calvin Stuart Rainey began his career in the Thoroughbred industry as an exercise rider in the 1930s. He later worked for The Jockey Club after WWII as a racing official and steward. He was the executive director of The Jockey Club from 1972 to 1980. After retiring, he moved to Arizona with his family and remained active in racing. Rainey assisted in the development of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program and was also a member of the Arizona Racing Commission.
2015 Award Recipients
After retiring from race riding in 1975, Blum, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., worked as a racing official at Garden State Park and Atlantic City Race Course in New Jersey. In 1978, he moved to Florida, where he served as state steward in the south Florida racing circuit (Hialeah, Gulfstream, and Calder) until his retirement in 2004. Blum was named to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame for an outstanding 22-year riding career, riding mainly on the east coast from New England to Florida. He is the only jockey to win six races in one day at Monmouth Park. In the 1960s Blum rode seasonally in Southern California, winning the 1966 Santa Anita Derby and the 1971 Belmont Stakes. He was elected president of the Jockeys' Guild in 1969, a position he held until 1974. In 1986, Blum was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
First licensed as a steward in 1993, Barb Borden currently serves as a ROAP-accredited steward in Kentucky. She has been a steward at Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Turfway Park, Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs, Bluegrass Downs, and Dueling Grounds. Borden has held numerous racing official positions including licensing administrator, detention barn assistant, horse identifier and Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund administrator. Borden participates on the License Review, Rules and Regulations and Safety and Integrity Committees of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. An accomplished horsewoman, Barb is a staunch advocate for Thoroughbred aftercare and sits on the board of the horse rescue group, Second Stride.
Dave Hicks, who retired in 2013, served as a steward at the New York Racing Association tracks, Gulfstream Park, Rockingham Park and Suffolk Downs, among others. During his years at NYRA, Hicks was active in the rule review/development process, with “house rules” and with the New York Racing and Wagering Board rules. He also organized and personally conducted a weekly program for apprentice jockeys. He had a similar program in Florida before coming to New York and has initiated this program again in Florida. Before becoming a racing official, Hicks was a Thoroughbred horse trainer in New England.
Leo O’Donnell began serving as a steward in the Northeast at Rockingham Park, Suffolk Downs, Lincoln Downs, Narragansett Park, Green Mountain in Vermont and various New England fair meets. Later in his 35-year career, he worked the tracks in Florida, West Virginia, Ohio, Oregon and Kentucky at Miles Park, Latonia, Keeneland and Churchill Downs. A racehorse trainer and steeplechase jockey, Leo championed the rights of the horsemen and women. O’Donnell was a founding member of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association and served as the National HBPA president in 1946. Leo was also very much involved with the start of uniform rule-making. In 1980, he received the Joe Palmer Award from the National Turf Writers Association.
George Slender is a ROAP-accredited steward with the California Horse Racing Board and over the last 43 years has officiated at every track in California, working Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and all-breeds fair race meets. From 1959 to 1972, George, a former horse trainer, held positions as placing judge, paddock judge, horse identifier and starter. He was recently inducted into the Santa Rosa Junior College Sports Hall of Fame.
2014 Award Recipients
H. Eddie Arroyo
A native of Puerto Rico, Eddie grew up in Chicago and began race riding in 1966, competing on the Midwest, East Coast and Florida circuits. Eddie won multiple graded stakes and was inducted into the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame in 1986. After retiring from race riding in 1978, Eddie became a steward in Illinois. In 1990, he was named a special assistant to Richard Duchossois, the chairman of Arlington International Racecourse, a position he held until 1995 when he became general manager at Sportsman’s Park. In 2000, Eddie returned to the stewards’ stand and is currently the chief state steward for the Chicago tracks. Eddie also serves on the ROAP board of directors.
Marshall W. Cassidy
An amateur jockey at 14 and an assistant starter at 20, Marshall was one of the greatest innovators in American horse racing during the 20th century. He contributed significantly to the development of the moveable starting gate, photo-finish camera, film patrol, past performance information and participant record keeping. He served as a starter, a New York steward, and as a New York Racing Association director of racing. He was also the longtime executive secretary of The Jockey Club and he founded The Jockey Club School for Racing Officials. He died October 23, 1968. He was 76..
James Keene Daingerfield Jr.
Often recognized as the “Dean of American Racing Stewards,” Keene, a former horse trainer, served as track steward in Kentucky from 1950 to 1980. He received the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association Humanitarian Award in 1984 and the Eclipse Award of Merit in 1985. He died September 1, 1993. He was 82.
Dr. W. Theodore “Ted” Hill
Beginning as a practicing veterinarian on the East Coast racing circuit in 1974, Dr. Hill became the NYRA track veterinarian in 1978 and was named NYRA chief veterinarian in 1983. In 1996, Dr. Hill became The Jockey Club steward at NYRA tracks, a position he still holds. Dr. Hill serves as the U.S. representative on the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities Harmonization of Raceday Rules Committee. He is also a longtime U.S. delegate to the Asian Racing Conference; serves on the board of directors of ICRAV, ROAP, RMTC and AAEP; and served on the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation’s Research Advisory Committee.
A leading U.S. jockey from 1972 to 1988, Darrel rode 2,553 winners including Master Derby (winner of the 1975 Preakness), Run Dusty Run (2nd in the 1977 Kentucky Derby and Preakness), and the great John Henry. In 1978, Darrel was the leading jockey in money won setting a record of $6,188,353 and received the Eclipse Award as the Outstanding Jockey of the Year. In addition, Darrel’s peers in the Jockeys’ Guild voted him the winner of the 1978 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award presented to the jockey in North America who demonstrates high standards of personal and professional conduct, on and off the racetrack. After his retirement in 1988, Darrel became a racing official in California and has been a California state steward since 1994.