John Woodley, a jockey and exercise rider at Fairmount Park in southern Illinois was named the recipient of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America's White Horse Award Thursday afternoon at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Woodley, one of four nominees dubbed "The True Heroes of the Track," was honored for his bravery in saving two children from a neighbor's burning mobile home. Thanking his agent, who is recovering from prostrate cancer, and his family, Woodley proclaimed "We're all winners," following the announcement.
Woodley was the second recipient of the award that was first presented last year at the RTCA's inaugural fundraising luncheon held Breeders' Cup week at Santa Anita Park.
The award came with a $5,000 cash bonus.
The other three nominees were:
Susan Wood, a parade marshall during Woodbine's harness season, who helped corral a runaway horse after the reins broke;
Clint Williams, an outrider at Sam Houston Race Park, who stopped a pony that had begun running the wrong way during workouts; and
Will Lockridge and Mike Stout, who both work at Keeneland, who were instrumental in protecting a fallen rider, Patty Cooksey, from a loose horse after a race.
The three runners-up each received $1,000.
Honoring horse racing's workforce, the RTCA's presentation was held at a fundraising luncheon in the Courtyard of Champions at Lone Star Park. Chris Lincoln and Steve Cauthen served as master of ceremonies at the event that was simulcast to backstretch areas around the country and in Canada and was shown on TVG.
Charles England, the mayor of Grand Prairie, also spoke at the luncheon and proclaimed Oct. 28 "White Horse Day" in the city that will host the World Thoroughbred Championships Oct. 30.
There were several live auction items that helped raise more than $25,000 for the RTCA. Several silent auction items were available as well.
Also at the luncheon, the inaugural White Horse community award was given to two Grand Prairie police officers, Sgt. Greg Hunter and officer Bruce Seix. Hunter, a 29-year veteran of the force was killed in the line of duty after responding to a call on June 18, 2004.