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President’s Award To Fazoli’s Howard

Published: January 9, 2015 12:00 pm ET

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Fazoli’s President and CEO Carl Howard has been named the 2014 President’s Award honouree by United States Harness Writers Association chief Chris Tully.

The award acknowledges Howard’s passion for harness racing in general and his decision to have his firm take on the leadership role of presenting sponsor for the 69th edition of the $600,000 Little Brown Jug.

Hall of Famer Sam McKee stated, “If not for Carl Howard and the Fazoli’s title sponsorship of the 2014 Little Brown Jug, there’s little doubt that our national television effort would never have gotten off the ground. Thanks to Carl’s background as a fan and an owner, the industry was given the opportunity to make a presentation and show what we can offer and produce for a major sponsor.”

A Kettering, Ohio native, Howard is no stranger to the spotlight. As CEO of Fazoli’s, he was recently named the No. 1 restaurant executive by Fast Casual. Despite taking over the struggling restaurant brand in 2008, he and his 200-plus nationwide shops have since posted 13 consecutive positive growth quarters.

A true restaurateur, Howard moved his way up through hard work and determination. He met his wife of 20 years, Rocchina, while waiting tables at the upscale Salvi’s in Columbus, Ohio. “My father-in-law was the chef, and he taught me to always have high standards. I try to carry that philosophy with me every day – not only in my interactions with my Fazoli’s team, but also with our customers,” Howard stated.

Having successfully engineered the dramatic turnaround, Howard also has his eyes on the resurgence of harness racing in the Buckeye State. With current ownership in over 30 Standardbreds, he intends to spearhead an effort to have a racehorse in every class in the state of Ohio during 2015.

“I have about 20 horses in training with Virgil Morgan Jr.” noted the Ohio State graduate. “I plan to expand my efforts and take advantage of the increased rewards available. The risks are still high, but with a keen eye on individual ROI, we intend to capitalize on Ohio’s growth potential.”

The 2014 racing season was profitable for Howard, but that has not always been the case. His first foray into racing united him with a pacer named JK Reunited. Ironically, the mare was a product of Breeder of the Year and owner of the Horse of the Year, 3 Brothers Stables.

“I claimed my first race horse at Pocono in 2010.” Howard jokingly added, “Knowing what I know now, I would not have made that claim again because JK Reunited became a broodmare following her next start. Through many lessons learned, my selection process has changed dramatically in the past five years.”

The President’s Award, along with the Dan Patch Horse of the Year and additional human award trophies, will be presented on Sunday, February 22 in Orlando, Florida. Tickets for the gala event, the Dan Patch Awards Banquet—Night of Champions, are now available and can be reserved via telephone or email by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson at 302-359-3630 or email at [email protected] or Steve Wolf at 954-654-3757 or email [email protected].

Substantial savings on hotel rooms can be attained for the event, which is being held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at SeaWorld. A special rate of $115 can be reserved by calling 407-352-1100 BEFORE January 25 and mentioning code ‘Dan Patch’ or clicking this link.

For more information, check out

(With files from USHWA)

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