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California Horsemen Hold Annual Meeting
Monday, April 24, 2006 - from David Siegel, CHHA Director

The California Harness Horsemen’s Association (CHHA) held it annual meeting on Sunday March 26th, 2006 in Sacramento, California. Over 100 members attended the luncheon and afternoon program. Director Dave Haness was the emcee for the event.

CHHA President Ben Kenney opened the meeting with a membership and board update. The board re-welcomed incumbent horsemen Rick Plano and Jimmy Perez, and welcomed incoming owner Mike Brown as the board’s newest member.

The mike was turned over to Steve Chambers, California Standardbred Sires Stakes Committee (CSSSC) Chairman, who informed the membership of purse increases, foal crop size increases, and a “three-peat” bonus of $100,000 to be split annually amongst horses who have won a Sires Stakes Championship at age two, and the spring and fall three year old championship. Chris Schick, Sacramento Harness Association (SHA) General Manger then took the podium and issued his annual “State of the Association” statement to the membership. The SHA is in its first year of managing the Northern California meet and has made great strides in improving the product. Chris commented about the TV and radio show, the improvements to the track’s grandstand, and the increase in handle. He also commented about the SHA-CHHA proposed coalition between California and key Midwestern states to help attract additional racing stock to the California harness industry.

After the “business” portion of the program concluded, four lifetime achievement awards were presented. Bob Johnson was honored for his achievement of 1000 wins as a trainer. Jim Perez’s 1000 win milestone as a trainer was also highlighted for the membership. Rick Plano was honored for reaching 4000 wins as a driver and 2000 wins as a trainer. Finally, Ed Hensley drew the spotlight for his achievement of 3000 driving and 1000 training victories.

Ben Kenney then took center stage and presented the 2006 CHHA’s President’s Award to Keith Willey. The award is for meritorious service to horsemen. Keith’s tireless efforts as the administrator of the Sires Stakes Committee have been appreciated and recognized by his peers, and finally memorialized by this award. The 2006 Service to Horsemen Award was presented to Billy Don Wainscott, Cal-Expo’s outrider, for his outstanding service to all of the drivers and trainers that have had the privilege of sharing the racetrack with him.

The day’s festivities ended with the awarding of the 2005 Horse of the Year award to owner Monique Seibold for her three-year old trotting champion colt, Trot For Rock, who sported a 18-9-5-2 record for trainer/driver Steve Desomer, while earning just over $84,000 during his three-year old campaign.