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Race Track Industry Program announces award winners
Monday, December 11, 2017 - from the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program

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Tucson, AZ --- The University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program announced the winners of their annual awards during the 2017 Symposium on Racing held Dec. 4-6.

The Clay Puett Award was presented to Bob Curran Jr. for his outstanding contributions to the racing industry. Inaugurated Dec. 9, 1994, the award is named for the late Clay Puett, an Arizona resident whose innovations, including the development of the mechanical starting gate, helped to revolutionize racing around the world.

Curran is someone who is never seen in headlines or in front of the camera. As the vice president of corporate communications, Bob Curran Jr. plans and oversees all communications, public relations and publicity initiatives for The Jockey Club and its affiliated companies.

Curran joined The Jockey Club staff in December 1998 after spending almost 12 years with Thoroughbred Racing Communications. Before that, he served stints as a sportswriter and columnist with the Niagara Falls (NY) Gazette, and as the senior media coordinator for the New York Racing Association.

Curran served as president of the Turf Publicists of America during 2001 and 2002 after serving for two years as a vice president.

“To say I’m honored by this award would be a vast understatement. I didn’t know Clay Puett but I certainly know of his contribution to our sport and most of the previous winners of this prestigious accolade. I admired all of them,” said Curran.

The John K. Goodman Alumni Award is named in honor of John K. Goodman, a founding father of the Race Track Industry Program and honors one of the RTIP’s many distinguished alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to the racing industry.

The 2017 winner, Peter Aiello, came to the Race Track Program with a passion and a dream. His dream, from a very young age, was to be a race caller and when he saw an advertisement for the RTIP that featured Luke Krytbosch -- RTIP graduate and track announcer at Turf Paradise and Churchill Downs -- his course was set.

After stints at Rillito Park, Tucson Greyhound Park and the Arizona Fairs; an internship at Evergreen Park in Canada and more than a few stops along the way, his voice was heard on national television calling the richest race in the history of the sport -- a dream was realized when we heard these words as Arrogate reached the wire, “What a race…What a sport…What a horse!”

The 2017 RTIP Distinguished Student Award, presented to Keith Doleshel, honors the student who best embodies the qualities and performance that represent the goal of the program -- to bridge education with opportunity. The award recognizes academic and personal growth and achievement.

Keith has impressed everyone he’s worked with from the faculty and staff to all of those who he’s interacted with during his two academic internships, one with Santa Anita and the other with the New York Racing Association. Doleshel has accepted a position in the Racing Department at NYRA.

The Xpressbet Scholarship Award winner for 2018 was presented to Abel Zander by Gene Chabrier, VP of Regulatory Affairs and Business Development for Xpressbet. Rhonda Norby, president of The Turf Publicists of America presented the 2018 TPA Scholarship Award to Jade Eisenzimmer.

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