Name a committee, executive board or organization in all of harness racing and chances are that Moira Fanning has served it well.
In fact, her name has become synonymous with getting the job done in Standardbred racing. On Sunday, December 2, USHWA’s Monticello-Goshen chapter will present Fanning with its second highest honour, the John Manzi Leadership Award.
The award was established in 2016 and first given to its namesake, John Manzi. Future recipients are chosen from industry individuals who have made an indelible and far-reaching impact upon the entities which they have led; given in Manzi’s honour for his four decades of contributions to Monticello Raceway and the Monticello-Goshen chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association.
Fanning is a perfect example of why this honour was established: fearless leadership.
Fanning has been with the Hambletonian Society for 30 years and was recently named the stakes administration organization’s chief operating officer. She has earned the title from the ground up, as she has provided publicity and event planning for decades to both the time-honoured Hambletonian Day events and the prestigious Breeders Crown.
In fact, anyone who has ever worked alongside Fanning at these iconic affairs knows that she is the fuel that keeps all the engines running smoothly. New Hambletonian Society President John Campbell, a guy who knows a few things about winners, praised Fanning’s promotion.
“This is a well-deserved promotion for Moira,” said Campbell. “She has been a tremendous asset for the society for many years and her professionalism, talent and commitment are unparalleled in our industry. It has been a pleasure working with and learning from her these last few months and I feel fortunate we will be working together for the foreseeable future.”
Raised in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Fanning was bitten by the horse bug at an early age. She went from giving riding lessons at a local farm to working with Standardbreds. Her duties took her from the east coast to California, and along the way has been a caretaker for Hall of Famers Howard Beissinger and Billy Haughton. Eventually she found her way to the ‘front side’ of Brandywine Raceway, working publicity for Communicators Hall of Famer Marv Bachrad.
Fanning, who is already a member of the Communicators Hall of Fame herself, is an oft-sought expert of the big races of the sport. Shunning attention and deflecting fame to others, her humble nature and sense of humour has assembled Fanning a ‘who’s-who’ list of friends and admirers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Also a big fan of harness racing, Fanning enjoys travelling to Paris for the Prix d’Amerique and Stockholm for the Elitloppet.
This year, in addition to the year-end awards for horses and horse people from the local tracks, the Monticello-Goshen chapter will also honour John Manzi (Lifetime Achievement Award); Chuck Connor (John Gilmour Good Guy Award); Salt Hill Farm (Cradle of the Trotter Breeders Award); Peter Gerry (Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award); Jennifer Lappe (Amateur Driver); Debbie Little (Phil Pines Award); Shane Darish (Rising Star); and Arthur Robinson (Award of Appreciation).
Tickets for the gala event to be held at the Fountains at Wallkill Golf Club can be reserved by contacting Shawn Wiles at 845-794-4100 (Ext 458) or [email protected].