INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 1, 2010) — The Oak Tree Racing Association will be presented the seventh annual Laffit Pincay Jr. Award during the Hollywood Gold Cup program on Saturday, July 10 at Hollywood Park.
Pincay, a member of racing’s Hall of Fame since 1975, will make the presentation between the fifth and sixth races.
Accepting on Oak Tree’s behalf will be current members of the board of directors, including Dr. Jack Robbins, one of its three founders, Dr. Rick Arthur, John Barr, Tom Capehart, Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella and Bob Zamarripa, Sr.
The Pincay Award is presented annually to someone who has served the sport with integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction.
“Oak Tree has done many great things for racing through the years,’’ said Pincay. “They have raised a lot of money for various charities and it’s always been about the horses and the horsemen.
“They have put so much back into the game. I have a great deal of respect for what they have done. It was always a meeting I looked forward to and enjoyed when I was riding. I won a lot of big races at Oak Tree.’’
Three of Pincay’s seven Breeders’ Cup victories occurred at the annual autumn meet at Santa Anita.
Pincay won the Juvenile with Capote and the Classic with Skywalker in 1986. The last Breeders’ Cup win of his illustrious career came aboard Phone Chatter in the 1993 Juvenile Fillies.
A not-for-profit, non-dividend paying group of active California owners and breeders whose directors serve without compensation, Oak Tree began as a 20-day meet in 1969 under the guidance of Robbins and the late Clement L. Hirsch and Louis R. Rowan.
In the ensuing 40 plus years, Oak Tree has grown and thrived, contributing over $26 million to endeavors benefiting the racing industry.
This includes more than $4.6 million in support of work at the University of California-Davis Center for Equine Health and Performance, plus contributions to the Grayson-Jockey Club Foundation, American Horse Council, Race Track Chaplaincy and Winners Foundation, which aids those in racing to fight substance abuse.
Oak Tree has also been beneficial to the community. Grants have gone to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, Arcadia Mounted Police Unit, California Philharmonic, Fairplex Child Development Foundation, Hillsides Home for Children, Holy Angels School, Methodist Hospital Foundation and the Panda Charitable Foundation.
Projects that have benefited horsemen at Santa Anita are a remodeled stable cafeteria, a backstretch recreation facility and the funding of English-speaking classes for backstretch workers.
The Pincay Jr. Award was introduced by Hollywood Park in 2004 with long-time executive and racing publicist Bob Benoit the initial winner.
Trainer Noble Threewitt was the recipient in 2005, while the Stute brothers — Mel and Warren — shared the award in 2006. Owner/breeder Ellwood W. “Bud” Johnston, whose Old English Rancho is one of the most storied names in California racing, won the award in 2007, while legendary steward Pete Pedersen was the recipient in 2008. Merlin Volzke, who also had a distinguished career as a steward, became the first former jockey to win the award in 2009.
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