With the largest attendance in more than 15 years, the Florida USHWA Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association, held its 21st annual Hall of Fame Awards Banquet Sunday at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott North Hotel
More than 250 people attended the affair, which featured three prominent horsemen and one trotting stallion inducted in the chapter’s Hall of Fame, which recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders within the industry for more than 10 years and who have contributed to the betterment of the standardbred industry.
The inductees were Jim McDonald of Ft. Lauderdale, Doug Miller of Lake Worth, Walter Ross Sr. of Margate and the trotting stallion, Famously, who stands at Jim Gluhm’s Farm in Trenton.
Other awards presented were the Delvin G. Miller Award, which recognizes someone whose life in harness racing has maintained the dedication and integrity furthering the growth of the sport. That award went to Jean Bryar of Pompano Beach. Receiving induction to the Communicators Corner for his outstanding journalistic career covering and handicapping harness racing was Erwin Grossman of Boca Raton. The Frances Dodge Van Lennep Award, which recognizes an outstanding female who has made great contributions to the sport, goes to Donna Richardson of Deerfield Beach. Winner of the R.D. Ricketts Award, which goes to an owner or owners whose contributions to Florida racing has been outstanding, is the Polo Stable (Mark Friedman, Rosemary and the late Eugene Friedman) of Boca Raton. Winner of the Dana Irving Award for breeding outstanding juvenile performers in 2011 was Russell Peavyhouse of Plant City.
The William Popfinger Award for developing an outstanding juvenile pacer wents to Phil Peavyhouse of Plant City. The Stanley Dancer Award, which recognizes achievements of a trainer who has been continuously outstanding in the development of trotters, went to Mel Turcotte. The annual Caretaker of the Year Award is presented to an outstanding individual who over his or her career has dedicated untiring time and effort towards caring for the horses in the stable(s) they worked for. This year’s honouree was Maggie Audley of Bell.
The Peter Haughton Award for the best newcomer to Pompano Park went to Jason Dillander of Anderson, Indiana. The Dan Gawlas Good Guy Award, presented annually to an outstanding individual who has always contributed to the sport was presented to Greg Perry of Pompano Beach. The Florida USHWA Chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Award went to Gordon Norris of Pompano Beach.
In addition to the Florida USHWA Chapter’s awards, presentations were made by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) to the owners of the top two and three-year-olds state-bred trotters and pacers in 2011 and the Breeder of the Year, Amante Standardbred Inc. of Delray Beach. The Florida Amateur Driving Club (FADC) presented their annual Driver of the Year award to Jamie Marra and the Rising Star Award went to Thomas Santeramo.
The Hall of Fame dinner featured music, a silent and live auction and a 50/50 raffle with proceeds going to the Allen J. Finkleson Scholarship Fund.