On a beautiful late summer evening we celebrated the 5th ever
Over 30 people attended this marquee event, this time hosted at Princess Rabbit's (Kathys) house. The coveted invitation left shows a full slate of activities that made this Awards Dinner the best conducted to date.
All the partners were there except Babe Rabbit, who had a concert to attend. She was missed. Several 1st time attendees graced the event including David & Pat Block, Breeders Cup Classic Winner Trainer Dee Polous, sister Dianna and one of Dee's owners Homer Schaefer. Also artist Kritine Plum & husband Roy, along with AP Chart Caller Dave Miller & Pinky made their debut appearance.
AP Track Handicapper Jessica Pacheco & cinematographer Stephanie Foresta also arrived bearing
What an honor that was I can tell you..... But we will come back to that.
The evening unfolded wth appetizers and then Princess Rabbit laid on a fine feast catered from local favourite Nino's. As we ate outside in the Back Garden, previous RRR Highlight Videos going back to 2005 were playing on the monstrous TV bringing back many a treasured memory.
After the warmup video's we jumped immediately into the 2013 Red Rabbit Racing Quiz. Three teams were created and recorded their answers to 20 questions with an additional tie breaker that proved not to be needed.
The "General Charley" team prevailed by answering 14 of the questions correctly. The team was headed up by Money Rabbit (Jean) and Trainer Pessin.
Following the Quiz, it was time to bring Artist Kristine Plum up to the dais. There she unveiled the commissioned portrait she had painted of the immortal 2010 Arlington Park Champion General Charley, pictured in his retirement pasture alongside Princess Rabbit's storied cat, Whirlaway. The portrait captures the power and nobility of the General and exceeded every expectation that I had. It will be diplayed proudly in my home until my death, at which time it will be transferred to the Red Rabbit Racing Hall Of Champions Horse Park Pavilion (not yet constructed) at Riverwoods Farm in El Paso Illinois.
Next, and certainly not on the agenda, was the surprise premiere showing of Edition 7 of the RaceHorse series delivered in person by the Director/Producer and Cinematographer. This was a true honor and we moved the party inside to avail ourselves of the booming audio system where we could all hear and see this presentation. Jessica Pacheco and Stephanie Foresta have done an excellent job all summer long in telling the story of the ups & downs of 5 stables at Arlington Park.
After the excitement died down following the surprise Premere, it was time to call Jeff Rabbit to the stage for his all important Keynote speech outlining our achievements and strategies as we go forward. This tradition goes back to our 1st awards dinner and Jeff did not dissappoint.
He thanked everyone for their contribution and recounted the highlights of this year that included running successfully at the $100,000 claim level, being the subjects of a summer long video series called RaceHorse, and lodging a Big Win out of state.
He then told a great story about being overcome with emotion following the Hopsters win back in March when alone in his car, he wept and hugged his steering wheel in his car, overjoyed with the Hopsters performance. A great moment.
A hush then fell over the crown as everyone realized we had now reached the all important Awards Presentation. This year we began a new tradition by following the lead of the Academy Awards. However our Awards are not called the Oscars, they are called:
named in honor of Red Rabbit Racing Master Groom Erasmo, who has tirelessly cared for most of our steeds. In fact, Erasmo himself won the most coveted Erasmo Award of Most Valuable Player for the love, and protection he showed our Hops during the thunderous July 4th fireworks celebration held at Arlington Park. For the entire barage he held Hops by the Halter closely to his own face to keep him calm. Our Erasmo is truly a great Horseman, a Great Man and our friend.
The actual Erasmo trophy is a beautiful, ornate jewel, emblazoned on both sides with Erasmo's face and the famous Red Rabbit Racing logo on the base.
All the categories, the nominees and the winners are listed below.
Following each award, the winners made a short speech, with some so overcome with emotion they could barely produce a word. Congratulations to all.
Following the Awards Presentation there was but one matter of business left and that was the debut of the 2013 Red Rabbit Racing Highlights video which can be seen below. It was well received but truly overshadowed by the Premier showing of the RaceHorse video.