By Lynne Snierson
Tammi Piermarini, who became the fourth all-time leading female jockey in number of victories in 2011, heads the list of annual divisional champions and award winners as voted on by the New England Turf Writers Association. Piermarini captured her second consecutive and third overall honor as the region’s outstanding jockey.
The divisional honorees are: 2-year-old filly – Pennies Appeal; 2-year-old male – Mighty One; Robert M. O’Malley Memorial Award for top 3-year-old – Rodan; older female – Sassy City; James R. Bishop Memorial Award for top older male – Beijing House; Joseph E. Carney Memorial Award for top turf male – National Hero; turf female – She’s Got Bling; sprinter – Beijing House; and Cliff Sundberg Memorial Award for Outstanding New England-bred – Tally’s Sundance.
Sassy City, National Hero, Snow Down, and Beijing House are repeat divisional winners.
Piermarini, who rode under her maiden name of Tammi Campbell through 1998, booted home 109 winners at Suffolk Downs during the 2011 meet and her mounts earned $1,163,099. The 44-year-old mother of three will accept the Eli Chiat Memorial Award at the annual NETWA dinner to be held at a date to be determined in July. At the same time, Marcus Vitali will pick up the Gerry Sullivan Memorial Award as New England’s outstanding trainer. Vitali trained Sugar Trade, the horse who partnered with Piermarini for her 2,000th win Aug. 22 when she became the fifth woman to reach that mark and then again later in the meet for the win that tied her in fourth place with Vicki Baze.
Monarch Stables, the meet’s leading owner with 35 victories and a long time mainstay in New England and Florida, will receive the NETWA’s most prestigious honor: the Sam McCracken Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement. Suffolk Downs Racing Secretary Tom Creel will be given the Lou Smith Memorial Award for his annual contributions to racing in the region.
Special Achievement awards will be handed to veteran jockey Jorge Vargas, who notched his 3,000th victory during the meet Aug. 8; Eileen Robidoue, the former long time horsemen’s bookkeeper; and Snow Down.
The winner of the James B. Moseley Award for Horse of the Year will be revealed at the awards dinner. The NETWA’s Hall of Fame Class of 2012 will be announced in the spring and will be inducted at the awards dinner.