Assistant starter Clinton Beck was named the Race Track Chaplaincy of America's White Horse Award recipient during the Taylor Made Sale's Agency's Nov. 2 White Horse Heroes luncheon at Churchill Downs.
Beck was driving home from work at Pimlico Race Course in May when a motorcycle passed him and broadsided a car. When the vehicle caught fire, only Beck and fellow worker Michael Loiero attempted to help the passengers. While Loiero extracted two adults from the front of the vehicle, Beck used an elbow to break a rear window, where he discovered 4-year-old Kaiyen Taylor and 10-month old Cameron Butler trapped in the back seat.
"It was awful," Beck said. "There was fire everywhere and smoke and people screaming, but when this happened, I thought, I gotta help these people! It was a very traumatic experience. The little girl put her arms around my neck and she looked me in the eyes and she said, 'I don't want to burn up like this, mister.' I just remembered when I opened that door that I would want somebody to do this for me."
With the entire vehicle blazing, Beck undid Taylor's seatbelt, then used his pocket knife to cut the car-seat straps and free Butler. Gathering both children in his arms, he ran for safety – just as the vehicle's gasoline tank exploded, sending all three to the ground. Miraculously, they suffered only minor scrapes and burns.
Beck was the recipient of $5,000 and received his award from Duncan Taylor, President of Taylor Made Sales Agency.
Other nominees for the 2006 White Horse Award included Hollywood Park outrider Brian Gaylord, Horsemen's Park outrider Bob Young, and co-nominees Tammy Burlin and Michael Rea from Fair Hill Training Center. They were each awarded $1,000 and a trip to this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
"Each of our nominees for this year's White Horse Award put his [or her] own safety at risk in order to help humans and horses in a time of crisis, and we believe the hand of God was on each of them," said Dr. Enrique Torres, Executive Director for the RTCA.
The RTCA also presented their White Horse Community Award to the three rescue workers who saved the lone survivor of the Aug. 27 Comair flight 5191 crash at Blue Grass Field in Kentucky – Lexington Police Officer Bryan Jared and Blue Grass Field Police officers Jon Sallee and James Maupin.
Sponsors of the event included Airdrie Stud, Amy Bondon-Peltz, Churchill Downs, the Daily Racing Form, NTRA, Rood and Riddle, Team Valor, Ben Walden, and Mary Lou Whitney and John Hendrickson.