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Florida USHWA honors their best

March 22, 2011
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It was an evening punctuated by standing ovations, handshakes, hugs, good feelings, memories and storytelling as the 20th Annual Hall Of Fame inductions dinner was held over the weekend by the Florida chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA).
 
A crowd of almost 200 gathered in the Cypress Ballroom at the Marriott North in Ft. Lauderdale to congratulate driver David Ingraham, veterinarian Dr. Paul Caputo and blacksmith William (Bill) Wick on their inductions into the Florida Hall Of Fame.
 
"It's a very humbling thing to be recognized by your peers this way" David Ingraham said in his induction speech. "Without my family understanding all the hours I had to be away and pitching in with all the work of running our stable this just wouldn't be possible" the career winner of over 6,000 races added.
 
"My family and I have loved our time in Florida and I want to offer a heartfelt thanks to everyone who put their faith in me to diagnose and treat their horses over the years" Dr. Paul Caputo said. "It's been an outstanding place to raise our three daughters. It wasn't long before so many of you on the Pompano backstretch went from being clients to friends and that's something none of us can ever put a price on" Caputo added.
 
Also inducted into the Florida Hall of Fame was renowned blacksmith Bill Wick. For a 20 year period starting in the 1950's, Wick travelled the Grand Circuit and shod 18 of 19 winners of The Little Brown Jug from 1955-1973. In that same timeframe he handled the shoeing of 14 Hambletonian champions. After deciding to give up the rigors of travel he settled his business into Vernon Downs and Pompano Park until his retirement after a career when many horsepeople referred to him as 'the best in the business.'
 
Silent and live auctions along with a 50-50 draw were conducted at the function with the proceeds to fund upcoming initiatives such as the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Fund, a non-profit charity commemorating the memory of one of Pompano Park and harness racing's publicity and marketing legends.
 
Here is the complete list of those recognized at the Florida awards night:
 
Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) 2010 Season Crystal Awards:
Two year old pacing filly: Gold Star Glitter
Two year old pacing colt: Full Of Sand
Two year old filly trotter: Seeking Jeanie
Two year old colt trotter: Famous Hall
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Three year old pacing filly: Black Diamond Girl
Three year old pacing colt: Diamond Howard
Three year old filly trotter: Pocohontas Fame
Three year old colt trotter: Be Famous
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Older pacing mare: Lucy Lucy
Older pacing horse: McRyan Michael
Older trotting mare: Southern Beauty
Older trotting horse: Talk About Me
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FSBOA Breeder Of The Year:
Kim and Jay Sears (3rd straight year)
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Florida Amateur Driving Club
Driver Of The Year:
Joe Pennacchio and Jamie Marra (tie)
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Milestone Awards Sponsored by Sandra and Richard Dunmire:
Bruce Ranger - 8,000 driving wins
Dan Clements and Ricky Macomber Jr. - 2,000 driving wins
Gaston Lareau - 1,000 driving wins
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Florida USHWA Awards:
 
Delvin Miller Award (goodwill and promotion of harness racing)
Fred Monteleone
 
Dana Irving Award (breeder of an outstanding two year old)
Arthur Mergenhagen
 
R.D. Ricketts Award (outstanding owner in Florida harness racing)
Bill Nelson
 
Litetime Achievement Award (for behind the scenes meritorious service)
Arthur Burgess
 
Stanley Dancer Award (developing and training an outstanding two year old trotter)
Marc Aubin
 
Caretaker Of The Year Award
Tom Wellman (Jake Huff Stable)
 
Frances Dodge Van Lennep Award (outstanding female contributing to racing)
Gro Formia
 
William Popfinger Award (developing and training an outstanding two year old pacer)
Jake Huff
 
Allen J. Finkelson Award (outstanding promotion of Florida harness racing)
John Berry
 
Communicators Corner Award (outstanding lifetime contributions by a publicist)
Jean Emerson
 
Dan Gawlas Good Guy Award (outgoing and generous personality promoting harness racing)
Jim Patten
 
Peter Haughton Award (outstanding newcomer to the Pompano scene)
Mike Micallef

(Pompano Park)
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