Janet Laszlo, a successful owner and breeder at Monmouth Park for the past decade, has been named the 2004 recipient of the Virgil "Buddy" Raines Distinguished Achievement Award.
Mrs. Laszlo will be honored in winner's circle ceremonies at the New Jersey shore track following the sixth race on Sunday.
The Raines Award, instituted at Monmouth in 1996, honors men and women who have demonstrated a continuing commitment to the sport of Thoroughbred racing as an owner or trainer, and whose conduct has been exemplary for professionalism, integrity and service to the sport.
Mrs. Laszlo is the ninth recipient of the Raines Award, following J. Willard Thompson (1996); Danny Perlsweig (1997); Warren A. "Jimmy" Croll (1998), Joe Pierce Jr. (1999), Peter Shannon (2000), Dennis Drazin (2001), Sam Fieramosca (2002) and Charles and Marianne Hesse (2003).
"Janet Laszlo is certainly a deserving winner of the Raines Award," said Bob Kulina, vice president of racing and general manager of Monmouth Park. "She is a loyal New Jersey owner-breeder and exemplifies what owning racehorses is all about.
"She has been a wonderful part of Monmouth Park racing, and we appreciate her support and dedication. She thoroughly loves the game, she loves Monmouth Park, and she's great for racing."
In 1981, after raising two children and running a small stable of hunter-jumpers, Mrs. Laszlo combined her nursing skills and horse sense to take the first Thoroughbred lay-up at Hunters Run Farm in Wall Township, N.J., that she and her husband Joe were developing. She began her foaling business at the farm in 1989 and continues today.
In 1991, after her two daughters left for Alaska and West Africa, she and her husband decided to become Thoroughbred owners and breeders for the first time. Four years later, they sold their first homebred, Intrepid Son, who went on to win two grade II stakes and was named best New Jersey-bred 2-year-old colt of 1995.
Hunters Run has continued to produce homebred winners for the Laszlos, including Just Chocolate, Just Whimsical, Kyley's Moon and the stakes-winning Quiet Desperation.
Currently, Mrs. Laszlo has six horses in training with Joe Pierce Jr. (himself a Raines Award winner). Hunters Run Farm supports more than 65 lay-ups, broodmares and babies, including seven broodmares owned by Mrs. Laszlo on its 55 acres.
The award is named for the late Virgil (Buddy) Raines, one of racing's most venerable figures and a regular at Monmouth Park before his retirement. Mr. Raines trained horses for 65 years and won the Preakness Stakes in 1962 with Greek Money.