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Railbird Recognition Winners Announced

Published: January 7, 2014 12:20 pm ET

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The fans have spoken and the votes are in. The winners of the 2013 USHWA-USTA Railbird Recognition awards have been selected. One was a winner by open lengths and the other eked out victory in a photo finish.

Jeff Gural was voted horseperson of the year for his enormous contribution to the sport of harness racing. Gural has been the driving force behind the resurgence of harness racing in New Jersey with the opening of the impressive new $88-million grandstand at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

This year’s balloting produced the highest amount of votes ever cast in the horseperson category (4,559) and Gural received 1,499 of them (33 per cent). This is the second time Gural has won the award, as he was presented the same honour in 2011.

The racing moment of the year went to Bee A Magician’s perfect 17 for 17 campaign in 2013. In what turned out to be her closest race all season, Bee A Magician beat out Foiled Again by only two votes, 818 to 816. A total of 3,113 votes were cast in the category and the top two moments combined to take 53 per cent of all the tallies.

Jeff Gural and the connections of Bee A Magician will be honoured on Sunday, February 23 at the USHWA Dan Patch Awards Banquet, the climatic event of the 2013 racing season, to be held at Dover Downs in Dover, Del.

The Railbird Recognition Awards are a fan voted honour that is co-sponsored by the United States Harness Writers Association and the United States Trotting Association. Voting in this year’s ‘Railbird’s displayed a total of 7,672 ballots cast online on the USTA homepage during the month of December, which was a 24 per cent increase over last year and the second highest voting total in the history of the award.

(With files from USHWA)

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