By Lynne Snierson
Kathy Ritvo, the daughter of an owner and sister of a trainer and two jockeys who began her career as a hotwalker, groom, and exercise rider in New England before becoming the first woman to train a Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner, will receive the Lou Smith Memorial Award for Yearly Achievement from the New England Turf Writers Association.
Ritvo grew up on the track as Kathy Petro before marrying Tim Ritvo, now the president of general manager of Gulfstream Park
, in 1990 when he was a jockey at Suffolk Downs
and Rockingham Park. She conditions multiple graded stakes winner and 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) champion Mucho Macho Man
, who has earned $5,340,410 in his career and also won the grade I Awesome Again Stakes this year.
Ritvo will be feted at the NETWA annual awards dinner in July, when Richard Sheehan Jr., DVM, will also be among the honorees. He has practiced on the backside for more than 20 years and will be recognized with the Sam McCracken Award for Lifetime Achievement. His father, equine veterinarian Dr. Richard Sheehan, also served the New England racing community for decades and won the same prestigious award in 1997.
The 2013 winner of the Eli Chiat Memorial Award is Tammi Piermarini, who captured the leading rider title at Suffolk for the fourth consecutive season and fifth time overall. The 46-year-old, who won 101 races during the meet, began her career in New England 30 years ago and is racing's all-time third winningest woman jockey. John Rigattieri topped the Suffolk trainer's standings for the 10th straight season and will receive the Gerry Sullivan Memorial Award.
The winner of the James B. Moseley Award for Horse of the Year will remain secret until the dinner. The NETWA's Hall of Fame Class of 2014, which will be elected in the spring, will be inducted as part of the festivities that same night.