ROAP Press Release - 2021 Pedersen Award Winners


Contact: Wendy Culberson, ROAP Coordinator      (859) 224-2702


Lexington, Ky. (December 8, 2021) — The Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP) yesterday announced the winners of the 2021 Pete Pedersen Award, which is presented to stewards who have demonstrated professional excellence, integrity, and benevolent consideration in the performance of their duties. Contributions of time and expertise to the horse racing industry on the local and national levels are also significant factors in the selection of Pedersen award winners.

The award is named in honor of Pete Pedersen, the nationally recognized California steward and accomplished journalist who set a standard of excellence to which all stewards should aspire. This year’s recipients were recognized yesterday at the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program’s Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming Awards Luncheon in Tucson, Arizona.  The award for Daryl Parker will be presented to his son, DeShawn, at a later date in a separate ceremony in Ohio.


John has a long history at the track going back as far as his high school years.  During college and for numerous years thereafter, John worked as a racing official in New Mexico, Louisiana, Idaho, Arizona, Canada, Washington, and California.  His vast experience also includes that of a racing secretary, announcer, director of racing.   John’s tenure with the California Horse Racing Board began in 1983 and he served as a steward at a number of tracks including Santa Anita and Del Mar.  John was accredited by ROAP in 1993.


The late Daryl Parker was the first African-American to serve as a steward in U.S. racing history.  Beginning in 1986, he served as a steward in Michigan as well as all three of the Ohio Thoroughbred tracks. Prior to becoming a steward, he spent many decades on the racetrack as an exercise rider, pony person, and jockey agent before becoming just the second Black racing official in the country while at Fairmount Park and Cahokia Downs in Southern Illinois.  Daryl was accredited by ROAP in 1993.


The Pete Pedersen Award special selection committee is composed of five members: Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day; former The Jockey Club steward and NYRA track veterinarian Dr. Ted Hill; Dan Metzger, TOBA president; Scott Wells, president of Remington Park and Lone Star Park; and former leading trainer and ROAP accredited steward Hal Wiggins.

Pete Pedersen, for whom the award is named, worked as a steward in California for 50 years before retiring at the age of 85 in 2005. The Seattle native became the second steward to receive the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2002. He was also the recipient of the Laffit Pincay Jr. Award in 2008 for serving the racing industry with integrity, dedication, determination, and distinction. Pedersen worked at nearly every track on the West Coast, and his reputation for objectivity and kindness was widely known.

***ROAP, which receives primary funding from The Jockey Club and is based in its Kentucky office, is a 501(c)(6) organization whose board of directors is made up of representatives from 15 industry organizations and 10 at-large representatives. Stewards and judges receive their accreditation and continuing education credits through this program. The website address for ROAP is                                                                              

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