The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association held its annual meeting and awards dinner at the Sport of Kings at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 8, 2016.
Attended by a solid cross-section of South Florida owners, trainers, and outriders, this gala event was the platform for the 2017 association nominations. It also served as an opportunity to honor those with strong Florida roots who have made significant contributions to enhance the quality of life on the backstretch, while tirelessly working behind the scenes to advance the sport of thoroughbred horse racing.
Before the winners were announced, keynote speaker and President William P. White shared an upbeat speech on the year’s progress toward the association’s contract negotiations with Gulfstream Park, along with the association’s optimism for 2017.
White praised the efforts not only of the horsemen as a group but of the individuals who comprise the organization and work hard to make South Florida racing the best in the country.
“For the past several years interest in racing at Gulfstream Park is on the rise as evidenced by record handle,” White pointed out. “The FHBPA is proud to be able to represent the horsemen while working in partnership with Gulfstream Park. We share the common aim of building a solid future for thoroughbred racing in South Florida while making positive contributions to employment and the economy across the State.”
Speakers/presenters also included Glen Berman, Executive Director, Daryl S. Clark Chairman of the Election Committee and Chaplain Tom LaPointe.
At 6:45 p.m. a lively nomination process was put to the floor to recommend new members.
The 2017 nominees are as follows:
Trainers: Jena Antonucci, Larry Bates, Larry Pilotti, Ronald Spatz, Charles Simon, Carlo Vaccarezza, and Marcus Vitali
Owners: Chester Bishop, Kathy Davie, Joanie Rose-Needell, and Teresa Palmer
Immediately following the nominations, the FHBPA 2016 award winners were:
Lifetime Achievement Award: H.W. “Salty” Robert
Person of the Year: Cliff Hopmans
Special Recognition Awards to Outriders: Laura Posada, Edino Contreras, Paul Hefner, Hank Hefner, Ariel Avila, Dave Ravinski, and Carlos Rios