Trainer Graham Motion received the Maryland Horse Industry Board’s first “Touch of Class” Award, it was announced Sept. 6. The award was presented following the board’s monthly meeting at a luncheon reception at the Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture in Hunt Valley, Md.
“The equine industry is an integral part of Maryland’s cultural and economic heritage,” said agriculture secretary Buddy Hance. “We commend Graham Motion for his extraordinary achievements and for his dedication to Maryland’s horse industry.”
The newly-instituted awards program honors a Maryland horse, individual, team, organization, or event who demonstrates the highest standard of excellence in the Maryland horse industry. The award will be given industry-wide, on a monthly basis, to recognize the many outstanding accomplishments of Marylanders in the horse world. Although the first recipient represents the horseracing segment of the industry, all aspects of equine disciplines will be considered and voted on for the honor.
“There are so many great horses, horse people and horse happenings in Maryland that we thought we should recognize and let people know about them on an ongoing basis,” said MHIB chairman Jim Steele. “This is a strong, dynamic industry with determined and adventurous people and horses, exhibiting the best qualities of horsemanship all over the world.”
Motion, who bases his operation at Fair Hill Training Center in Cecil County, Md., won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) in May with Animal Kingdom and ranks fourth in 2011 trainer earnings with nearly $6.7 million.
The award is named after Touch of Class, the Maryland-bred mare who won two Olympic show jumping gold medals.