Augusta, ME --- Maine horsemen and women turned out for the annual dinner and awards gala of the Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association at the Calumet Club in Augusta on Saturday (Jan. 19).
In the afternoon and before the evening festivities, the annual meeting of the MHHA and the USTA District 9 meetings were held. Scott Mackenzie, Robert Marston and David Crochere were re-elected for three year terms to the Board of Directors. At the conclusion of the meeting, nominations were held for the officers on the board. All of the officers were re-elected for a one year term, Dr. Timothy Powers, President; Wallace Watson, Vice-President; Amy Taggart, Secretary; and Scott Mackenzie, Treasurer.
The Board of Directors handed out 15 scholarships totaling $8,000 to deserving students continuing on with their secondary education.
The guest speaker of the evening was Peter Connell of Ocean Properties. Connell conveyed to the membership their continuing goal of building a fully-integrated racino in Southern Maine.
|Michael Newman photo|
|MHHA President Dr. Tim Powers presents the Distinguished Service Award to Dodie and Tom Dillon.|
The highlight of the evening was acknowledging the top individuals and horses in Maine in 2012. Some of the individuals who were honored with top awards included MHHA Trainer of the Year, Ronald Cushing; Driver of the Year, Shawn Thayer; Rising Star Award, Chris Nye; Groom of the Year, Donna Fenderson and Distinguished Service Award, Dodie and Tom Dillon.
Dodie and Tom Dillon own a breeding farm in Anson, Maine and own and raise Maine Sire Stakes horses. The Dillons have been fortunate to have two horses race in the Hambletonian and one in the Little Brown Jug. In 2012 their prized trotter, Hot Shot Blue Chip, surpassed the million dollar mark in earnings. However, according to Dodie, it’s their Maine Sire Stake horses that bring them the most pride.
The top horse awards of the evening included Outstanding Pacer, Mr Nice Guy; Outstanding Trotter, Ipo Blue Chip; Claimer of the Year, For Now; and Outstanding Dash Winner with 16 wins, Sam’s Shuffle.
The most prestigious award of the evening was awarded to Wholly Louy, 2012 Horse of the Year. Wholly Louy is owned by Michele Nelson of Temple, Maine and trained by Joseph Nelson.
Throughout the 2012 season, Wholly Louy dominated the winners over class all over the state of Maine. He set two new track records at the Oxford Fair in 1:53.2 and the Farmington Fair in 1:54.2. He won the Paul Bunyan Invitational in a time of 1:54.4 at Bangor Raceway with regular driver Gary Mosher in the sulky. He had a seasonal best of 1:53.1 taken at Scarborough Downs on August 25. This 9-year-old gelding by Camluck ended the season with 14 wins and earnings of more than $87,000.