The fans have spoken and the votes are in and the winners of the 2013 USHWA-USTA Railbird Recognition awards have been selected. One was a winner by open lengths and the other eked out victory in a photo finish.
Jeff Gural was voted Horseperson of the Year for his enormous contribution to the sport by the fans of harness racing. Gural has been the driving force behind the resurgence of harness racing in New Jersey with the opening of the impressive $88 million dollar grandstand at the new Meadowlands Racetrack, and in the process helped to ensure the stability of the sport in North America.
This year's balloting produced the highest amount of votes ever cast in this category (4,559) and Gural received 1,499 of them (33 percent). This is the second time Gural has won this award as he was presented this same honor in 2011.
The racing moment of the year went to Bee A Magician's perfect 17-for-17 campaign. In what turned out to be her closest race all season, Bee A Magician beat out Foiled Again topping the $6 million mark for his career by only two votes, 818 to 816. A total of 3,113 votes were cast in that category and the top two moments combined to take 53 percent of all the tallies.
Gural and the connections of Bee A Magician will be honored on Sunday, Feb. 23, at the USHWA Dan Patch Awards Banquet, the climatic event of the 2013 racing season, to be held at Dover Downs. Further informatio about the banquet, hotel reservations and purchasing dinner tickets is available athttp://www.ushwa.org/. (USHWA)