Edited press release
Pete Lizarzaburu, a former jockey who currently serves as social program coordinator for the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, is this year's winner of the Dogwood Dominion Award, which honors an unsung hero in Thoroughbred racing.
An Ecuadorian by birth, Lizarzaburu moved to the United States when he was a child. He became a professional jockey in 1980 and rode for 17 years, mainly in the Mid-Atlantic region. After hanging up his tack, Lizarzaburu began working at Delaware Park, where his fluency in Spanish helped him in his job as recreation director. The job grew from planning worship services and a few fun outings for backstretch help to a full-service position.
"Under the guidance of Pete Lizarzaburu, Delaware Park's backstretch social program has been among the most progressive in America," said Cothran "Cot" Campbell, president of Dogwood Stable. "Pete's knowledge of immigration issues is invaluable--especially now. He has shown the way in the H-2B Visa Program, giving barn workers the opportunity to go back home every year and then re-enter the country before the racing meet begins--a boon to racing and a boon to the Hispanic workers.
"Pete takes a three-prong approach in his dealings with backstretch issues--educational, recreational, and spiritual. He has organized English classes and wellness clinics, promotes backstretch sports and plans day trips, and has instituted bilingual worship services. He is a counselor, translator, cook, driver, and always a friend."
Lizarzaburu is the 14th recipient of the annual award, named for multiple stakes winner Dominion, who was campaigned by Dogwood in the 1970s and went on to become five-time Champion Sire in England. Lizarzaburu will receive $5,000 and a bronze statue of Dominion at an Aug. 2 luncheon at the Reading Room in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Lizarzaburu was selected from 40 nominations by judges Anne Campbell, Penny Chenery, and Jay Hovdey. Former winners are H.W. "Salty" Roberts, Howard "Gelo" Hall, Peggy Sprinkles, Grace Belcuore, Nick Caras, Donald "Peanut Butter" Brown, Danny Perlsweig, Katherine Todd Smith, Julian "Buck" Wheat, Jim Greene and Shirley Edwards, Neftali "Junior" Gutierrez, Pam Berg, and Jo Anne Normile.