2 Marylanders cited as unsung heroes Hall, Salter among nominees for first U.S. Dominion Award

July 14, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Two Marylanders, Howard G. "Jello" Hall, a racing official, and Jack Salter, an owner/trainer, are among the 40 people who have been nominated for the first U.S. Dominion Award.

The prize, recently initiated by Cot Campbell of the Aiken, S.C.-based Dogwood Stable, is designed to recognize the unsung heroes of racing, the people who perform largely uncelebrated tasks connected with the sport.

"We had marvelous nominees, people like an outrider from a small Kentucky track, a groom at Churchill Downs who was nominated three times, a minor Maryland racing official, racetrack chaplains and drug rehabilitation workers and a handicapped ex-rider who now works as a trainer," Campbell said.

Most awards are for big shots. I thought it would be nice to do something for people who are largely unknown but still make enormous contributions."

Campbell said that some well-known racing personalities such as D. Wayne Lukas, Seth Hancock of Claiborne Farm and Gulfstream Park president Doug Donn as well as some not so well-known people, submitted letters of nomination.

Campbell, a leader in giving legitimacy to the idea of syndicating racehorses, said the award "was spawned largely because of my sentimentality for a horse we had named Dominion. I bought him in England after he was third in the 2,000 Guineas. He was a plain brown wrapper [looks-wise], but he was genuine and workmanlike. He won six stakes races and came along at a time when he meant a lot to my career. He kept the Dogwood name in front of a lot of people and gave us credibility."

Campbell resold Dominion to the British after he was retired and the horse was subsequently a five-time leading sire in England in a number of categories before he died last spring. The imported filly, Bezelle, who recently won the Very Subtle Budweiser Breeders' Cup at Laurel, is a daughter of Dominion.

The British Breeders' Association has given a similar Dominion Award for several years. Campbell received its permission to initiate a U.S. version.

The award carries a $5,000 monetary prize and a bronze sculpture of the horse that the winner keeps for a year.

Judges for the initial contest are Pat Day, Hall of Fame jockey; Mack Miller, Hall of Fame trainer, and Campbell's wife, Anne.

"They have already made their selection," Campbell said. "We will announce the winner on Monday and then present the award at Saratoga on Aug. 11, the same day that the Bernard Baruch Stakes is run. Dominion won that race 15 years ago."

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