Rob Pennington, a native of Marion, Ohio, has been named 2013 Groom of the Year in the annual competition sponsored by Hanover Shoe Farms and Harness Tracks of America.
Now a resident of Allentown, N.J., Pennington works full time for trainer Noel Daley, caring for five horses, most owned by William B. Weaver III’s Valley High Stable.
In nominating Pennington, Christie DeBernardis, a Thoroughbred Daily Newsemployee, wrote "this year Rob went above and beyond the normal groom’s job when Mr. Weaver had an accident in Lexington and had to undergo surgery and rehabilitation. Weaver’s band of broodmares needed to be booked and bred to stallions, so Rob made countless trips to the rehabilitation center to discuss breeding possibilities and strategies. Rob filled out the breeding contracts and mailed them to the breeding farms and would bring them back to Mr. Weaver to be signed when they were returned.”
DeBernardis went on to describe other ways Pennington has made his vocation his avocation.
As well as grooming full time Pennington stays busy in a number of other capacities within the Standardbred world. He is a board member for the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of New Jersey, a new board member of the Open Space Pace Committee, an active volunteer for the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, as well as an active member of the group starting a Racing Under Saddle Association.
In addition to the horses he cares for in the Daley stable, Pennington owns two retired Standardbreds, Larry and Sadie. He shows the horses in state and national competitions and has won awards with each of them.
Of Pennington, DeBernardis says, "Rob will tell you the day his life becomes a job he won’t want to do it anymore, so for now he is enjoying life doing what he loves, caring for what I would say are the seven luckiest Standardbreds in the world, the two he owns and the five he cares for at work.” (HTA)