Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey president Tom Luchento received the Sportsman of the Year Award before 500 attendees at the New Jersey Sports Writers Association’s 76th annual banquet on Sunday at the Pines Manor in Edison, N.J.
In accepting the trophy, Luchento thanked the SBOANJ Board of Directors and his family, many of whom were in attendance.
“Some of you are wondering, who the heck is Tom Luchento and what is a Standardbred,” Luchento joked, during his acceptance speech. “I think by now you looked at me and could figure out I was never a jockey. In Standardbred racing, also known as harness racing, we do not sit on the horse; we sit in a sulky and the horse pulls the driver. Our horses trot or pace, covering a mile in under two minutes and traveling at better than 30 miles per hour.
“Although many people in harness racing were raised around horses, I was not born into a horse racing family,” he added. “I grew up in Jersey City where the only horses I saw were the mounted police. But I went to the track as a teenager and became hooked on the sport.”
After speaking about his experiences in racing and his commitment to the resurrection of harness racing in the Garden State, he pointed out that the hero of the day was another member of the dais, Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers football player who suffered a spinal cord injury in an Oct. 16, 2010, game against Army. LeGrand received the New Jersey Sports Writers Association’s Most Courageous Athlete Award which was established in his name. (SBOANJ)