Edited press release
Jo Anne Normile, founder of the innovative Michigan-based horse rescue operation CANTER (Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex Racehorses) which saves low-level claimers from slaughter, has been awarded the 2005 Dogwood Dominion Award.
Normile, the 13th recipient of the annual award to honor an "unsung hero" in racing, will receive $5,000 and a bronze statue of Dominion at a luncheon at the Reading Rooms in Saratoga Springs Aug. 3. She was selected from 47 nominations by judges Anne Campbell, Penny Chenery and Jerry Bailey.
"Jo Anne saw a real need in Michigan to save bottom-level claiming horses from slaughter and she came up with a way of giving trainers a viable option. From her years on the Michigan HBPA board, Jo Anne had the trust of the local horsemen – she also had an incredible network of horsemen in other disciplines who were looking for new horses. She became the middleman between trainers who needed to sell their horse and non-racing people who were looking for jumping prospects, for example," said Cot Campbell, president of Dogwood Stable.
CANTER began in Michigan in 1997, and it now has affiliates at tracks in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New England and the Mid-Atlantic region.
The award was inspired by the multiple stakes winner Dominion, who was campaigned by Dogwood in the 1970s and went on to become five-time Champion Sire in England. It was created upon his death in 1993 to recognize the unsung heroes in the racing industry.