Award Category Sponsors Announced for 2021 TIEA


Seven industry organizations have come on board as individual award category sponsors for the 2021 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards (TIEA). These sponsors will help spread the reach of this important industry initiative.

Leading industry organizations Hallway Feeds, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, the Keeneland Association, the New York Racing Association, I am Horse Racing, and Churchill Downs have joined TIEA as individual award category sponsors for the 2021 edition of the program.

Each organization has joined as a title sponsor of an award category, while Godolphin, the global racing stable founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will continue as the principal sponsor of the awards. TIEA is also supported by partners The Jockey Club, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association (NHBPA), the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) and the Breeders’ Cup.

“We’re thrilled to bring these leading organizations on board with TIEA to continue to spread the scope of the awards,” Godolphin’s Charitable Director, Katie LaMonica said. “TIEA is a national program for our industry—anyone in our industry can nominate, and anyone can be nominated. We know the addition of these partners will expand the reach of TIEA and allow more hard-working individuals to be recognized for their dedication to our sport.”

In the first five years of TIEA, more than six hundred nominations have been received, with one hundred finalists recognized and over six hundred thousand dollars awarded in prize money. In 2021, a total of seven categories, including the new Support Services division, will be presented and will carry total prize money of $122,000. The Award Ceremony will be held on Friday, October 15th, in the sales pavilion at Keeneland.

“TIEA is an incredibly important initiative in our industry and sport,” noted Dr. Luke Fallon of Hagyard, title sponsor of the Leadership Award. “With the workforce shortage we see throughout not only our industry, but the country, TIEA provides an opportunity for employers to elevate their most valued people. Hagyard is proud to sponsor the Leadership Award and looks forward to handing out one of those beautiful trophies in October.”

Nominations for 2021 are open through August 2nd. For more information and to nominate online, please go to www.tiea.org.

The full list of title sponsors and their award categories are

LEADERSHIP AWARD sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute

An award to an individual in a managerial or supervisory role with more than two employees who displays exceptional leadership qualities, particularly in terms of motivating, mentoring and supporting colleagues in the workplace. PRIZE $7,500 to the winner and $2,500 to their stable, farm or organization. $2,500 to each runner-up and $2,500 to their stable, farm or organization.

DEDICATION TO BREEDING AWARD sponsored by Hallway Feeds

An award to an individual who has worked a minimum of 10 years in the Thoroughbred breeding industry and shown consistency, reliability and a talent for Thoroughbred breeding horsemanship. Must be a pivotal part of his or her employer’s success. PRIZE $7,500 to the winner and $2,500 to their farm (division). $2,500 to each runner-up and $2,500 to their farm (division).

DEDICATION TO RACING AWARD sponsored by NTRA

An award to an individual who has worked a minimum of 10 years in the Thoroughbred racing industry and shown consistency, reliability, and a talent for Thoroughbred racing horsemanship. Must be a pivotal part of his or her employer’s success. PRIZE $7,500 to the winner and $2,500 to their stable. $2,500 to each runner-up and $2,500 to their stable.

KATHERINE MCKEE ADMINISTRATION AWARD sponsored by Keeneland

An award to an individual who works in an administrative role in the Thoroughbred breeding industry, racing industry, or any supporting sector within the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry. Must be a pivotal part of his or her employer’s success. PRIZE $7,500 to the winner and $2,500 to their stable, farm, or organization. $2,500 to each runner-up and $2,500 to their stable, farm or organization.

SUPPORT SERVICES AWARD sponsored by I am Horse Racing

An award to an individual who works in any non-administrative, support service role in the Thoroughbred breeding industry, racing industry, or any supporting sector within the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry. Must be a pivotal part of his or her employer’s success. PRIZE $7,500 to the winner and $2,500 to their stable, farm, or organization. $2,500 to each runner-up and $2,500 to their stable, farm or organization.

NEWCOMER AWARD sponsored by NYRA

An award to an individual who has worked in any area of Thoroughbred breeding and/or racing for less than five years and shown commitment to—and ambition for—a career in the Thoroughbred industry, including a desire to improve and progress their skills and knowledge. PRIZE $2,500 to the winner and $1,000 to their stable, farm or organization + a 5-day educational tour to Dubai. $2,000 to each runner-up and $1,000 to their stable, farm or organization.

COMMUNITY AWARD sponsored by Churchill Downs

This award recognizes those who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the Thoroughbred industry, and in particular, to the greater good of the sport. This could include those who support the breeding and racing staff or have made an outstanding contribution to the wider Thoroughbred community. Nominees for this award do not need to be directly employed in the Thoroughbred industry. PRIZE $7,500 to the winner and $2,500 to their charity of choice. $2,500 to the runner-up.

TIEA Category named in honor of Katherine McKee

The TIEA Administration Award category will bear a new name in honor of Keeneland’s late Katherine McKee. McKee, in her roles as Manager of Horsemen Hospitality and Director of Racing Administration at Keeneland for nearly 15 years, lived the track’s mission to better horse racing. Her passion for Keeneland and the Thoroughbred industry along with her commitment to horsemen are her lasting legacy.

“Keeneland is proud to team with Godolphin USA on the TIEA initiative, both as a host of the awards and as sponsor of the Katherine McKee Administration Award,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “This industry is blessed with many everyday heroes who are devoted to the betterment of racing and care for our horses. Katherine epitomized that passion, and we miss her every day. We believe this Administration Award is a wonderful tribute to her life’s work.”

“Keeneland has provided tremendous support to TIEA since its launch in 2016, including hosting three of the five Award Ceremonies,” acknowledged Katie LaMonica, Charitable Director, Godolphin USA. “We were approached by Katherine’s colleagues in 2020, asking if she could be posthumously nominated. While we are unable to accept posthumous nominations, the question allowed TIEA to consider honoring Katherine in another way. We hope this award will dutifully celebrate her legacy and recognize those like her, who in dedicating their livelihood to our sport make it better.”

The Administration Award was added as a TIEA category in 2019. In the first year of the award, Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s Bessie Gruwell was awarded the trophy, with runners-up Andrea Greathouse of Paramount Sales and Maria Catignani of Charles Town HBPA. The 2020 Administration Award winner was Dionne Johnson of New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, with Lynnelle Fox Smith of Oregon TOBA and Michele Holbrook of Silver Springs Stud as runners-up.

To learn more about Katherine’s legacy, please follow this link.

Industry News Releases – In support of Thoroughbred industry organizations, BloodHorse is posting news releases relating to the industry. The releases have not been edited by Blood-Horse. If there are any questions please contact the organization that has produced the news release as directed in the news release.



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