Santanna Re-elected National HBPA President

Joe Santanna has been elected to another three-year term as president and chairman of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

The National HBPA board of directors took the action July 3 on the final day of the organization’s summer convention in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Santanna, of Pennsylvania, was the only nominee for the post.

Santanna, currently president of the Pennsylvania HBPA, has indicated he wouldn’t seek that post again. The Pennsylvania HBPA handles horsemen’s contracts at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course and Presque Isle Downs & Casino.

Santanna said he agreed to serve as president of the National HBPA for three more years because HBPA affiliates around the country have promised to “continue breaking new ground.” He said the National HBPA will challenge the industry when needed, but also support progressive industry efforts.

Four regional vice presidents were elected to three-year-terms: Virginia HBPA president Robin Richards (Eastern region and first vice president); Iowa HBPA president Leroy Gessmann (Central region); Kentucky HBPA president Rick Hiles (Southern region), and Arizona HBPA president Mike Napier (Western region).

During the meeting, the board also agreed to hire Wilson Shirley as a simulcast consultant for the final six months of 2009.

The National HBPA has a new deal with racing network TVG that will offer much more coverage and exposure of the Claiming Crown, set for July 25 at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. Santanna said the horsemen’s group will “continue to develop these new relationships” with TVG, which earlier this year was purchased by Great Britain-based Betfair.

Florida HBPA executive director Kent Stirling and National HBPA medication consultant Dr. Thomas Tobin were named co-recipients of the National HBPA Industry Service Award.

The National HBPA 2008 Claimer of the Year award went to Antrim County, owned by Carl Moore Management and trained by Bret Calhoun. Antrim County, bred by Overbrook Farm and a half brother to Albert the Great, won the Iron Horse Stakes during last year’s Claiming Crown program.

On July 2, Charles Town HBPA board member Elaine Hagy received special recognition for volunteerism from West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III. Hagy, whose husband, Titus, is a trainer at Charles Town Races & Slots, has been involved in benevolence programs for decades.

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