Pete Pedersen Gets 2008 Pincay Award

Longtime California steward Pete Pedersen has been named the winner of the 2008 Laffit Pincay Jr. Award. He will be honored June 28 when the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) is run for the 69th time.

The Pincay Award, presented annually on Gold Cup Day, is given to an individual who has served the sport with integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction. Pincay will make the presentation.
           
“He was very fair,” Pincay said. “What I liked about him, he was always very respectful. Some stewards like to show their authority and power. He was always very kind. He let you know in a nice way what he thought.”

Pedersen, winner of an Eclipse Award of Merit in 2002, served as a steward in the state for 50 years. He retired following the 2005 spring/summer Meet at Hollywood Park.

He worked at nearly every track on the West Coast, starting with Longacres in Washington, and making his way south.

Born on July 4, 1920, in Seattle and educated at the University of Washington, Pedersen served in various capacities at racetracks following his military service as a flier in the Navy Air Corps during World War II.

“My first real paying job was with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,” he recalled. “I ran the teletype at the racetrack.”

Pedersen also worked as a publicity director. Skilled as a writer, he has been published in The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and such racing publications as Daily Racing Form and The Blood-Horse. A resident of Arcadia, he is still a frequent visitor to the track and also pens the occasional article.

“I miss it,” he said. “You don’t spend all your life in something and not miss it. One thing about it, you always have interesting things coming up.”

In reflection of his distinguished career, Pedersen observed, “You don’t flaunt your authority. You put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You accept that people make careless mistakes.”

Hollywood Park introduced the Laffit Pincay Jr. Award in 2004 with long-time executive and racing publicist Bob Benoit the initial winner. Trainer Noble Threewitt was the recipient in 2005, while the Stute brothers — Mel and Warren — shared the award in 2006. Owner/breeder Ellwood W. “Bud” Johnston, whose Old English Rancho is one of the most storied names in California racing, won the award in 2007.

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