Bob Benoit, who has been associated with Hollywood Park for 51 years, has been named the inaugural winner of the Laffit Pincay Jr. Award.
Pincay, one of the most remarkable athletes of his time, will make the presentation to Benoit, 77, following the second race at Hollywood Park Saturday. The award will be presented annually to a person who has served the sport with integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction.
"When I read of the establishment of the award, to be given in the spirit of Laffit Pincay Jr I felt it was a magnificent gesture by Hollywood Park to annually acknowledge this incomparable leader in our sport, along with someone who it was felt has served the sport with a similar passion," Benoit said.
"To be the inaugural winner is an indescribable honor, the high point of my career of more than a half-century in racing. I'm truly overwhelmed."
Benoit, a native of Gary, Indiana, started in 1953 with a seasonal job on Al Wesson's Hollywood Park publicity staff. Two years later, he was named assistant director of publicity. He became director of publicity in 1969 and was eventually elected to the board of directors. He was named chief operating officer and general manager of Hollywood Park in 1977.
In recent years, his photography company has chronicled many of the sport's greatest moments.
He was instrumental in forming the Racetrack Chapliancy of California and in bringing jockeys Sandy Hawley, Chris McCarron, Eddie Delahoussaye and Darrel McHargue to Southern California. His late wife Calvine, who handled stable credentials for Hollywood Park for more than two decades, played a key role as he recruited many prominent horsemen and their horses for major races.