In 2019 the HBPA decided to present two new awards for grooms in two separate categories. The awards have a female and male winner in each category.
These two categories were “Groom of the Year,” awarded to a person with more than one-year experience as a licensed groom; and “Rookie Groom of the Year,” awarded to a first-year groom. In both categories’ grooms were nominated, reviewed by the HBPA and officials, and chosen for displaying exceptional skills in their field, professionalism, excellent work ethic, and a willingness to help others.
The number of nominations was overwhelming, making the selection process extremely difficult. It is easy to see that our backstretch is full of hard-working individuals that take pride in their work.
Thank you to all the nominees for their continued dedication to the sport of horseracing and our four-legged athletes.
Grooms of the Year 2019
Susan Crane– Sue started her career with racehorses in 2001 here at ASD after working at a hotel. A regular customer and she had a conversation about horse racing. Sue went to the racetrack and was introduced to former trainer Emile Corbel and the rest is history. Being a long-time groom at the track, she is always willing to share her knowledge with anyone needing help. Sue continues to love her job, the work, and of course the horses. Congratulations Susan!
Did you know Sues love for animals extends far past horses? Sue has housed, helped and/or rescued animals of every shape and size from goats to lizards. Not only does Sue love all animals, but they love her too… just ask her cats.
Richard Spencer- Richard started grooming in Jamaica at a fairly young age. He first started at ASD in 2009 after friend Patrick McLean told him that ASD was short of grooms. Fast forward 10 years and you can still find this hard-working guy having quiet conversations with the horses he looks after. Richard is the first one in the barn every day and the last one out, yet always has time to help someone in need. He loves his job and it shows. Congratulations Richard!
Did you know that Richards father was hoping Richard would become a police officer? Richards father followed Richard to see why he was late for school every day and ended up at the local racetrack. It became clear to everyone that Richards love for animals was not a passing phase and being a police officer was not in Richards plans.
Rookie Groom Of The Year
Erin Clarke– Erin is no stranger to horses. Erin’s grandparents were long time breeders of standardbreds and morgans. In the spring of 2019 Erin found a Facebook post about the HBPA looking for grooms; and here she is. A hard working, helpful, happy person, Erin has fit right into the racetrack routine. So much so, that it is hard to believe that 2019 was her first year on a racetrack. Erin will be returning to the backstretch for the 2020 race season and is looking forward to getting back to work. Congratulations Erin!
Did you know that Erin is also quite the artist? A photo of her work was featured in “The Insider” back in September. The HBPA has also recognized her talent and has commissioned a picture to be given as an award.
Regan Froese– Regan came to ASD in 2019 after applying for a position threw Indeed. Although Regan did not have any experience with horses, he did have previous experience working as a ranch hand abroad. He started a groom training program in the spring of 2019 at ASD, and quickly impressed trainer Jamie Hartmann who took on the new groom. Regan quickly adapted into the role of groom and continued to impress. By the end of the 2019 season it was hard to believe that Regan had only been a groom for 6 months. Congratulation Regan!
Did you know Regan is now attending University with the ambition of becoming a veterinarian? No doubt his experience in the backstretch will help with his future goals. Good Luck Regan!