The National HBPA Convention with Stephanie Beattie, Joe Santanna, and Robin Richards.

The National HBPA Convention with Stephanie Beattie, Joe Santanna, and Robin Richards.

Coady Photography

Richards Elected National HBPA President

Stephanie Beattie elected first vice president of national horsemen's group.

Robin Richards was elected president and Stephanie Beattie first vice president of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association during the organization's board of directors meeting July 1 in Iowa.

Officials said the election was historic given the fact it's the first time a woman has served in either position. Richards, who had no challengers and was elected by acclamation, replaces the retiring Joe Santanna, who served two three-year terms.

"Under Joe's tenure the organization has become an organization we can all be proud of," said Richards, president of the Virginia HBPA. "He left us in ship-shape, and we're a lot better now than when he began (as president)."

Beattie, a trainer with about 60 horses based at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, serves as president of the Pennsylvania HBPA. The National HBPA has four vice presidents by region; one serves as first vice president.

"This is a historic occasion," said Bill Walmsley, president of the Arkansas HBPA and a former National HBPA president. "This is a good old boys' industry, but as you can see, we don't have that problem in a good old boys' industry."

Santanna's contributions were discussed during the board meeting, which was held at Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Santanna, who previously served as secretary/treasurer of the National HBPA, received multiple gifts and got a bit emotional in his parting speech.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity and experience," said Santanna, a former president of the Pennsylvania HBPA. "What we've done we've accomplished together, and keeping this (forward) motion is a strength of our organization. We've attempted to position the National HBPA as a major stakeholder in our industry."

Others honored during the board of directors meeting were Ed Hagan, the National HBPA chairman of the board; Rhonda Denham and Richard Glover Jr., former employees of the organization; and Marty Maline, the Kentucky HBPA executive director who received this year's Industry Service Award.