Dover, DE ---- More than 300 horsemen, legislators and friends of harness racing turned out for the 17th annual Delaware Standardbred Owners Association awards dinner at Modern Maturity in Dover, Del., on Friday (Jan. 10).
The annual DSOA meeting at mid-day preceded the awards dinner and its early evening cocktail hour.
As usual, the popular Heather Vitale served as Mistress of Ceremony and presented videos of award winning horses plus colorful, fun-filled videos of high spots of her weekly “Post Parade” programs on WBOC-TV.
The highlights of the 2013 racing season featured top horses of the Dover Downs and the Harrington Raceway meets. A silent auction to benefit Horse Lovers United, Inc., a not-for-profit organization which provides a residence and care for retired horses, was held in conjunction with the banquet.
In addition to leading horsemen and friends, in attendance at the banquet were many of Delaware’s top legislative executives. The list included Congressman John Carney; State Senators Dave Lawsom and Gary Simpson; and State Legislative Representatives Michael Barbieri, Don Blakey (who gave the pre-meal blessing), Gerald Brady, William Carson, Ronald Gray, John Kowalko, Bobby Outten, Michael Ramone, Danny Short, Jeff Spiegelman and Dave Wilson; and former State Senator Nancy Cook, a longtime strong supporter of racing in the First State.
Among those in attendance were Delaware Harness Racing Commission representatives Beth Steele (Chair) and commission members Stephanie Liguori, Patricia Wagner and interim administrator Mike Davis. Also present were USTA District Directors Jim Boese, Russell MacKinnon and Dr. William Moffett.
Introduced were the DSOA board of directors -- President Andy Markano; Brenda Bramble, 1st vice president; Dr. William Moffett, 2nd vice president; treasurer, Frank Diliberti; secretary, Frannie West; and Sal DiMario, executive director and his staff, Denise Rothermel and Lisa Pearson. Other directors include Frank Deliberti, George Dennis, Russell McKinnon, George Teague, Max Walton, Valerie Warnick and directors emeritus Dan Camac and Ralph Holloway.
Also among the dignitaries were members of the media.
DSOA 2013 award winners
The third annual James T. Case, Jr. DSOA Horizon Award (to a horseman making outstanding progress during the year) was presented to harness driver Allan Davis, one of the sport’s rising stars. Davis drove winners of around $600,000 in purses in 2012 and that figure increased to $3.2 million in 2013.
The James T. Case, Jr. $1,000 scholarship in memory of the longtime DSOA President was presented to Erica Brittingham, attending Del. Tech & Community College, majoring in Physical Education.
Again this year, the DSOA gave out a total of $6,000 in scholarship awards. The recipients of awards are Brent Ashley, Virginia Tech, majoring in Dairy Animal Science; Amber Callahan, De. Tech & Community College, majoring in Agriculture Business Management; Brooke Gannon, a Nursing major at Wesley College; Kierston Gray, Wor-Wic Community College, majoring in Secondary Education/Counseling; Morgan Jewel, Wesley College, Education Major; and Wade Z. Marsh, Duke University, majoring in Religious Studies & Divinity.
DSOA horses honored
2-year-olds: trotters – (colt) Whichwayrightrleft and (filly) Kelsey’s Command; pacers – (colt) Casino Bags Carlo and (filly) Seboomook Fool Yah
3-year-olds: trotters – (colt) Triple Command and (filly) Starlit Eyes; pacers – (colt) Hot Roddy and (filly) Bags Of Stars
DSOA Horses of the Meet
Horse of the Meet – Nova Artist
Trotter of the Meet – Awsome Valley
Claimer of the Meet – Lislea Miles
Horse of the Year – People Are Crazy
Trotter of the Year- Can Do
Claimer of the Year – Lislea Miles
The DSOA Special Appreciation Award was presented to Delaware representative Danny Short, a member of the Delaware Firefighters Hall of Fame, and Heroic Fireman of the Year Award.
A highly successful silent auction of harness memorabilia to benefit Horse Lovers United under the supervision of its founder, Lorraine Truitt, was supported for the care for horses whose racing careers had ended.
A number of door prizes were also handed out.