Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards Finalists And Runners-Up Named, TDN's Sara Gordon A Finalist

TDN's Sara Gordon | Courtesy of Sara Gordon

The finalists and runners-up for the 2023 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards (TIEA), set for Tuesday, Oct. 17 at Keeneland, were named in a release by Godolphin late Thursday.

Sara Gordon, TDN's Social Media Manager, is a finalist for the Newcomer Award. Gordon, a native of Woodbine, Maryland, is a lifelong equestrian who parlayed her love of horses into a career in turf writing. She is based in Lexington, Kentucky.

With finalists in six categories, the winner and runner-up of the seventh category, the Dr. J. David “Doc” Richardson Community Award, have already been decided with Linda Doane of The Healing Place in Louisville, Kentucky awarded the top prize, and Francisco Torres, with the Backstretch Employee Service Team, placing second.

Out-of-town finalists and a guest will be provided with travel and accommodations, while those named will tour a local horse farm and attend a ceremony dinner before an afternoon of racing the following day at Keeneland.

The shortlist judging panel, the first of two, met on Tuesday, Aug. 1 to determine the finalists and runners-up in each category as well as the Community Award winner and finalist. Their meeting was hosted by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York. The second and final stage of judging will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 17, when finalists will meet with the judges for in-person interviews.

Panel Chair Tom Law commented, “It's hard to put into words what it means to be involved with these awards. Everyone in our industry knows someone that works tirelessly, day-in and day-out, to take care of our magnificent two-legged and four-legged friends because they love what they do. The nominees, year-on-year, are a tremendous group, and while we wish we could reward them all, I do hope they feel honored that someone thought enough about them to submit a nomination.

“I'd also like to thank the National HBPA, TOBA, The Jockey Club, Breeders' Cup, and Godolphin, without whose underwriting and support these awards would not be possible to implement. Lastly, a heartfelt thanks to our media partners--The Thoroughbred Daily News, BloodHorse Publications, Daily Racing Form, FanDuel, Paulick Report and America's Day at the Races–for helping to spread the reach of the awards.”

Sponsors of the awards include Hallway Feeds, NTRA, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Keeneland, NYRA and Churchill Downs, and first-time sponsor 1/ST Racing.

The winners of the Katherine McKee Administration, Dedication to Breeding, Dedication to Racing, Leadership and Support Services Awards will receive a prize of $7,500, with an additional $1,000 to their farm, stable or organization, with two finalists receiving $2,500 each and $1,000 to their farm, stable or organization as well. For the first time in 2023, separate from the winners and two finalists, two runners-up will receive $2,000 each.

The winner of the Newcomer Award will receive $5,000 with $1,000 going to their farm, stable, or organization. Two finalists will receive $2,500 each, and separate from the winners and two finalists, two runners-up receive $1,000 each.

As the winner of the Dr. J. David “Doc” Richardson Community Award, Linda Doane will receive a prize of $7,500 and an additional prize of $2,500 will be donated to the charity of her choice. Francisco Torres will receive $2,500 as the other finalist in this category, and separate from the winners and finalist, two runners-up receive $1,500 each.

The 2023 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards finalists are:
Katherine McKee Administration Award sponsored by Keeneland

  • Kelly Danner, Churchill Downs
  • Samantha McGreevy, Taylor Made Sales Agency
  • Jamie Bradley, Asmussen Racing


  • Gwenn Pierce, WB Payson Park LLC
  • Eleanor Poppe, NY Race Track Chaplaincy

Support Services Award sponsored by 1/ST Racing

  • Bill Vest, Churchill Downs
  • Tracy Attfield, Tlore
  • Rita Cutler, NYRA


  • Raul Gutierrez, Santa Anita Park
  • Julie Adair, Self

Dedication to Breeding Award sponsored by Hallway Feeds

  • Jimmy Tate, Winstar Farm
  • Phillip Hampton, Godolphin
  • Rafael Zambrano, War Horse Place


  • Harmon Sullivan, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program
  • Abel Garibay, Four Pillars Holdings LLC

Dedication to Racing Award sponsored by National Thoroughbred Racing Association

  • Laura Tilbury, Todd Pletcher
  • Kathy Sanchez, Tom Amoss Racing Stable
  • Moises Morales, Gustavo Delgado


  • Myra Hall, Herringswell Stables
  • Carlos Davila, Craig Wheeler

Leadership Award sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute

  • Lorretta Lusteg, John C. Kimmel
  • Gene Guy, Glencrest Farm
  • Manuel Hernandez, Walmac Farm, LLC


  • Juan Aguilar, Indian Creek
  • Christine Jones, Pleasant Acres Stallions

Newcomer Award sponsored by New York Racing Association

  • Deja Robinson, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital
  • Sara Gordon, Thoroughbred Daily News
  • Dominick Merrit, Todd Pletcher


  • Adrianne DeVaux, Cherie Devaux Racing Stable
  • Susan Kemper, Coolmore America, Ashford Stud

Dr. J. David “Doc” Richardson Community Award sponsored by Churchill Downs

  • Linda Doane, The Healing Place (Winner)
  • Francisco Torres, Backstretch Employee Service Team (Runner-up)


  • Merlin Cano, Backside Learning Center
  • Diana Varon, Keeneland

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