09/28/2016 2:24PM

Godolphin spotlights Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards finalists


With the inaugural Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards, presented by Godolphin, drawing closer, and with several of the finalists in the news for their work with major horses recently, Godolphin has rolled out a series of videos for a behind-the-scenes look at the finalists at work.

There are 13 finalists in the five award categories – Leadership Awards for farm work and racetrack work, Dedication to Breeding, Dedication to Racing, and the Thoroughbred Industry Community Award. The final stage of judging is set to take place the week of Oct. 3, and the winners will be announced during a ceremony at Keeneland on Oct. 7, opening day.

The finalists for the Dedication to Breeding Award are Everett Charles, a groom at Stone Farm; Leon Hamilton, foreman at Ashview Farm; and James Sebastian, a groom at Claiborne Farm. To view their profile videos, click here.

Hamilton worked with Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Runhappy as a young horse and will be on hand Saturday evening when the champion makes his 2016 debut in the Grade 3 Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs. Hamilton has worked at Brian and Gray Lyster’s Ashview Farm for 36 years, having followed his father and grandfather into the Thoroughbred business.

“I enjoy watching the babies growing up, developing into nice racehorses,” Hamilton says in his finalist video. “We have a great crew. … It is a great honor to be a finalist, to be chosen out of so many people the first time this is held in Kentucky.”

Modeled after a similar awards program that Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin established in England 11 years ago and later instituted in Ireland and Australia, the TIE Awards recognize excellence and achievement for grooms, foaling crews, exercise riders, office staff, and others who work on farms and racetracks in the United States. To be eligible, nominees must be U.S. citizens and work at a farm or racing stable in the United States.

The awards are sponsored by Godolphin and facilitated by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and The Jockey Club. The winners each receive a trophy and a prize of $10,000, with an additional $5,000 being awarded to the winners’ farms or stables. The two runners-up in those categories will win $2,500 each, with the same amount going to their farm or stable.

To view the complete list of finalists and their profile videos, click here.