Mazza Receives 2012 Buddy Raines Award

Sunday, September 23, 2012

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Oceanport, N.J.- John Mazza, who has been training horses at Monmouth Park for nearly 50 years, was presented with the 2012 Virgil “Buddy” Raines Distinguished Achievement Award at Monmouth Park on Sunday. Mazza joined a notable roster of past recipients whose conduct has been exemplary for professionalism, integrity and service to Thoroughbred racing.

            “I am honored and very proud to receive this award,” said Mazza, who has trained horses for Holly Crest Farm and other stables in New Jersey for 46 years. “It is very meaningful to me.”

            Mazza, who was honored in winner’s circle celebration after the fifth race, won the inaugural Thoroughbred race at the Meadowlands with Play the Palace in 1977 and over the decades he has trained more than 37 stakes winners. Among them are 1988 Sorority Stakes winner Divine Answer and the Great Navigator, who broke his maiden at Monmouth Park in 1992 and went on to win the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Capture the Gold was the star of his barn in 1997, taking stakes races at Monmouth and The Meadowlands that season. Mazza also saddled Carrots Only to victories in the 2005 Jersey Breeders’ Handicap and the 2007 Charles Hesse III Handicap.

            “John personifies what the Raines Award is all about,” said Robert J. Kulina, president of Darby Development LLC, which operates Monmouth Park Racetrack. “For decades he has provided unwavering support for New Jersey racing and it’s only fitting that he’s honored with this prestigious acknowledgement of his service and dedication.”

            The late Buddy Raines, for whom the award is named, was one of racing’s most venerable figures and was a Monmouth Park regular prior to his retirement. Raines trained horses for 65 years and won the 1962 Preakness Stakes with Greek Money.

            The past recipients of the prestigious Raines Award are:


1996- J. Williard Thompson

1997- Danny Perlsweig

1998- Warren A. “Jimmy” Croll

1999- Joseph Pierce, Jr.

2000- Peter Shannon

2001- Dennis Drazin

2002- Sam Fieramosca

2003- Charles and Marianne Hesse

2004- Janet Laszlo

2005- Richard Malouf

2006- John Forbes

2007- Ben Perkins, Sr.

2008- Gerald and Carolyn Sleeter

2009- Joel Kligman

2010- John Tamarro III

2011- Frank Costa