07/20/2005 12:00AM

Dominion Award to Michigan woman


Jo Anne Normile, founder of the Michigan-based horse rescue operation CANTER, will travel to Saratoga to receive the Dominion Award on Aug. 3. The award, given annually by Dogwood Stable, is named for Dogwood's stakes winner Dominion and was created to honor those in the industry who work to create a positive influence in the business. The judges for the award are Anne Campbell, Penny Chenery, and Jerry Bailey.

CANTER, which stands for Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Racehorses, is an all-volunteer group that Normile started in 1997 to save low-level claimers from slaughter. Normile was on the board of the Michigan Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association when she founded CANTER.

"This award is a win for the claiming horses and the tracks that have a high number of claiming horses," Normile said. "With back-to-back [Dominion Award] wins for retirement programs, this award affirms that the Thoroughbred industry believes in retirement and responsible horse ownership."

The 2004 Dominion Award was awarded to Pam Berg, who cares for retired horses on her northern California farm.

Normile canvases the Great Lakes barn area every week to find horses who need homes. She gave up her regular job three years ago to concentrate on her work at CANTER, which can require 80 hours a week. Normile said she and her family will vacation at the Spa, where she will receive will receive $5,000 and a bronze statue of Dominion at a luncheon at the track. She will then present a trophy following a race named in her honor.

* Demagoguery, the top 2-year-old male in Michigan last season, won the $50,000 Spartan Stakes on Tuesday evening at Great Lakes Downs. Leading rider Terry Houghton rode Demagoguery for trainer Gerald Bennett, who leads the meet in wins. Its His Time was second, beaten nearly two lengths, and Meadow Vespers closed for third, another 3 3/4 lengths back.

Demagoguery, plagued by gate demons, stumbled at the start to create an early deficit. He overcame his problems, though, and made a bid at the half-mile pole to challenge the leaders, Lansing Stakes winner Speak of Kings and Rodrigues, before drawing clear late. Demagoguery finished the seven furlongs in 1:29.40 and paid $9.80 as the third choice.

* General manger Amy MacNeil announced a 10-percent purse increase on all overnight races starting Saturday, July 23.

* Jareth Loveberry, a recent graduate of Mt. Pleasant High School, began his jockey career last Saturday with a fourth-place finish aboard Zamina Gold for trainer James Jackson. Loveberry, who will turn 18 in August, has been galloping horses for trainer Randy Russell for five years.