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Three Maryland Equestrians Receive MDA Touch of Class Awards from Triple Crown Winning Jockey, Owner

Thoroughbred trainer Graham Motion talks with Secretariate's owner Penny Chenery.

Thoroughbred trainer Graham Motion talks with Secretariate’s owner Penny Chenery. Photo by Val D’Ambrosio

ANNAPOLIS, MD – It has been 40 years since the legendary thoroughbred Secretariat won the Triple Crown, and the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) – a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture — celebrated the anniversary by presenting Touch of Class Awards to three outstanding Maryland equestrians during a VIP reception at the American Film Institute in Silver Spring yesterday. More than 200 people attended the reception, which was sponsored by the Maryland Jockey Club and MHIB.

“The Preakness Stakes is a great event. Secretariat’s Triple Crown is a great moment in history. And the three Touch of Class Award recipients we honor tonight are great ambassadors for our State and the equine industry,” said Deputy Agriculture Secretary Mary Ellen Setting.

The MHIB established the Touch of Class Award in 2011 to honor Maryland horses, individuals, teams, organizations or events that demonstrate the highest standards of excellence in Maryland’s horse industry. The three Touch of Class recipients honored were:

  • Trainer Graham Motion who recently won the $10 million Dubai Gold Cup, the world’s richest horse race. Mr. Motion is based at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton (Cecil County). This will be his second Touch of Class Award. He received the first after winning the Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom, the same horse which won the Dubai Cup. Mr. Motion was also the first ever Touch of Class Award recipient.
  • Author Patrick Smithwick Jr., an author from Howard County, wrote Flying
    Author Patrick Smithwick Jr. accepts Touch of Class Award from (from left) Ron Turcotte, wife Ansley, Penny Chenerly, MHIB Chair Jim Steele, MHIB Vice Chair Erin Pittman, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Mary Ellen Setting. Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski / Maryland Jockey Club

    Author Patrick Smithwick Jr. accepts Touch of Class Award with (from left) Ron Turcotte, wife Ansley, Penny Chenerly, MHIB Chair Jim Steele, MHIB Vice Chair Erin Pittman, and Agriculture Deputy Secretary Mary Ellen Setting. Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski / Maryland Jockey Club

    Change, A Year of Racing and Family and Steeplechasing. The book received the prestigious 2013 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, which recognizes the best book written nationally about horse racing. Mr. Smithwick is the first Touch of Class Award recipient honored for outstanding equine literature.

  • Jockey Mario Pino, Maryland’s all-time leading jockey and 10th on racing’s all time win list with nearly 6,500 wins. Mr. Pino is also the 2013 winner of the George Woolf Award, a national lifetime achievement award for jockeys presented annually in California. His daughter Victoria accepted the award on his behalf.

The awards were presented by several dignitaries. Most notable were Secretariat’s Triple Crown winning jockey Ron Turcotte and Owner Penny Chenery. Prior to the award presentation, attendees viewed an advanced screening of the documentary, “Secretariat’s Jockey Ron Turcotte,” which traces Mr. Turcotte’s remarkable rise to fame in 1973, the fall that left him a paraplegic in 1978, and his emotional journey back to the people and places that marked his life.

Also on hand to present the awards were Deputy Agriculture Secretary Mary Ellen Setting; MHIB Chairman Jim Steele; Maryland Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas; and Maryland Jockey Club and MHIB member Karin DeFrancis.

Victoria Pino accepts Touch of Class Award for her father Mario. Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski / Maryland Jockey Club

Victoria Pino accepts Touch of Class Award for her father Mario. Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski / Maryland Jockey Club

 

The event benefited the Secretariat Foundation, which supports charities and organizations that meet the Thoroughbred racing community’s needs including veterinary research into lameness; Thoroughbred retirement and rehabilitation facilities; and therapeutic equestrian programs. See a list of all Touch of Class recipients.


Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jessica Hackett
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

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