Chuck Spina

Chuck Spina

Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Trainer Chuck Spina Wins Buddy Raines Award

Racing veteran of more than four decades cited by Monmouth Park for service to sport.

Chuck Spina, a trainer for more than four decades, is the 2014 recipient of the Virgil "Buddy" Raines Distinguished Achievement Award.

The Raines Award, instituted at Monmouth Park in 1996, honors men and women who have demonstrated a continuing commitment to the sport of Thoroughbred racing as an owner or trainer, and whose conduct has been exemplary for professionalism, integrity, and service.

"It's a great honor," said Spina, a resident of Monmouth Beach. "I'm totally thrilled about it and humbled by it. A lot of the guys that are up on that wall are my idols like Ben Perkins Sr. and Joe Pierce. I've been training for 44 years and this is one of the high points of my career. I love this place. It's my favorite sporting venue out there."

Spina was the 19th recipient of the Raines Award. He won his first race in at Belmont Park in 1972, and has since won multiple stakes races including the Choice Dream Handicap in 1987. He now works primarily with New Jersey-bred horses.

The award is named for one of racing's most venerable figures. Buddy Raines trained horses for 65 years and won the Preakness Stakes in 1962 with Greek Money.

Each recipient of the Raines Award receives a special trophy emblematic of the honor. All winners of the award have their names placed on a special plaque that is displayed in the Monmouth Park clubhouse.