By Lynne Snierson
Prominent owner and breeder Frank Bertolino of Monarch Stables, jockey Joseph Hampshire Jr., trainer Maurice “Junie” Bresnahan, the sprinter Concorde Bound, and longtime Suffolk Downs executive Robert M. O’Malley are the newly-elected members of the New England Turf Writers Association Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame class of 2012 will be inducted when the 2011 NETWA annual award winners are honored at the organization’s 70th dinner July 19 at the Danversport Yacht Club in Danvers, MA.
Bertolino, who grew up in the shadow of Suffolk Downs in Revere, has owned and campaigned Thoroughbreds for over 40 years and has been one of the nation’s top ten owners on nine occasions. He originally raced under the name San Fran Stable but changed to Monarch Stables in 1975 in honor of his horse Country Monarch, who was the fourth-place finisher in the 1976 Massachusetts Handicap.
Bertolino owned numerous New England champions and has been one of the perennial leading owners in the region for decades. He was honored by NETWA for his contributions to New England racing in 1981. Monarch Stables has enjoyed great success in south Florida well, garnering seven leading owner titles at Calder Casino & Race Course.
Hampshire is one of the most decorated jockeys in New England history, taking home the prestigious Eli Chiat Jockey Award six times. Competing successfully in the Mid-Atlantic region of late, much of his earlier success came at New England tracks. Over the course of his career, he won an impressive 67 stakes races at Suffolk Downs and Rockingham Park, where he won almost 20 leading rider titles combined.
Concorde Bound, trained by NETWA Hall of Famer Ron Dandy and owned by Frank Generazio’s Willow End Stable, is one of the most accomplished sprinters in the history of New England racing. All but one of his eleven career victories, five of which were stakes wins, were on the local circuit.
In 1984, Concorde Bound earned the biggest victory of his career in the $100,000 Suffolk Downs Sprint Handicap and followed that up with a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Jerome Stakes at Belmont Park. After a sharp victory in the Suffolk Sprint Prep Handicap in 1986, he was poised for a big effort in a repeat attempt in the Suffolk Sprint. Though he finished first, he was disqualified and placed second in what was the final start of an impressive career.
In the 1950s through the 1970s, the late Bresnahan was a leader or near the top in the training standings at many of the tracks on the New England circuit, which then included Narragansett Park and Lincoln Downs in Rhode Island. He conditioned many of the top horses and won several important stakes races.
He is also remembered as a leader in the Women's Liberation Movement when he signed the late Denise Boudrot to a contract in the early 1970s, paving the way for other women riders. Bresnahan was also written up in a 1960 Sports Illustrated article, which recounted that year's running of the Lawrence Handicap at Rockingham Park.
O'Malley was a long-time executive at Suffolk Downs. He was named the track’s chief operating officer in 1996, a position he held until his death in 2007. His association with Suffolk Downs spanned five decades and he served under separate ownerships. In 2002, O'Malley received the Sam McCracken Memorial Award for lifetime contributions to New England racing from NETWA.
In addition to working at the track, O’Malley was an enthusiastic racing fan and he attended every Kentucky Derby for 23 years from 1980 to 2003 with friends and family.
The names of this year's inductees will be added to a plaque that is on permanent display in the New England Thoroughbred racing exhibit at the Sports Museum located in the TD Banknorth Garden.