Trainer Graham Motion recalled a morning earlier this year during the Triple Crown when he came home with an NBC television crew in tow. They all found his wife, Anita, in bathrobe, vacuuming.
“I’ve apologized for that, but I’m not sure she’ll ever forgive me,” Motion said.
Motion’s willingness to work with the media, especially during the Triple Crown, earned him this year’s “Big Sport of Turfdom” Award from the Turf Publicists of America. Motion, who trained Animal Kingdom to win the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and finish second in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), was given the award Dec. 6 during a luncheon at the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing & Gaming.
“I feel very strongly about it personally,” Motion said of working with the media.”It’s an important responsibility to be available to answer as many questions as possible.
“It has been a tremendous year. The ride with Animal Kingdom was extraordinary.”
TPA president Bill Knauf, assistant general manager at Monmouth Park, called Motion a “class act.” He said a common comment from those asked about the trainer is: “He’s the nicest guy in the world.”
Other awards were presented by the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program during the luncheon in Tucson, including the Clay Puett Award, which went to The Race for Education; the Distinguished Service Award, given to University of Arizona president Eugene Sander; Eric Halstrom of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots was given the John K. Goodman Alumni Award, while the Distinguished Student Award was received by Heather Shatz.
Harness Tracks of America presented the Stanley Bergstein Messenger Award to the RTIP. Bergstein, the former HTA executive vice president who died in early November, was a major supporter of the RTIP.