September 26, 2014 – The 2014 edition of the club’s annual Dinner Dance was held on Friday, September 26 in the historic “Round Barn” at Lexington’s famous harness racetrack, The Red Mile. As one of the KTFMC’s more formal events, this year’s rendition of the Dinner Dance was no exception, as farm managers and industry participants showed up in their finest, ready to party. Bayou Bluegrass Catering and Bur Oak Landscape Designs provided a beautiful setting, accentuated with details centering around Kentucky’s autumn weather.
One of the best loved parts of the dinner dance each year is the wine, beer, and spirit tasting that precedes the dinner and festivities in the Harness Racing museum located in the second level of the Round Barn. Sarah from Nic De Wet’s Toast of Kentucky, provided samples of red and white wines from Mount Rozier, a winery in South Africa. For our bourbon and spirit drinkers, Alltech Lexington Brewery and Distilling Company was on hand to sample their products, including the Town Branch bourbon and Town Branch Rye whiskey. We were especially excited to welcome well known tack shop owner and leather craftsman, Ralph Quillin, who provided samples of beer from his new local business, Rooster Brew. Tasty hors d’oeuvres sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical were passed around throughout the tasting.
As the tasting wound down, guests made their way to their seats, where they were treated to an amazing dinner served by Bayou Bluegrass Catering. Rosemary and red wine braised beef and chicken isabella highlighted the menu. Strawberry bavarian and tiramisu provided a delightfully sweet end to the meal.
President Randy Gilbert took to the podium, welcomed members and guests to the event, and announced that the club has named the prestigious Farm Manager of the year award after long time club supporter, Ted Bates. Ted gave a heartfelt speech of gratitude to the club, leaving no dry eye in the house.
Bill Wofford was chosen to “roast” or introduce the 2014 Farm Manager of the year, B.G. “Scooter” Hughes. Scooter has been an invaluable member of the club for many years and is an exemplary horseman. Scooter currently trains a string of racehorses in Kentucky. His most recent success was with multiple graded stakes winner, and recently retired, Rahystrada. Scooter thanked Robert Courtney Jr. for the opportunity to train such a special horse. Scooter grew up on Greentree and Forest Retreat Farms, which his father, Gail, (recipient of the 1987 Farm Manager of the Year title) managed. He credited his mother, Ruth, who inspired him through her work riding and conditioning young horses on the farm. He worked for John Hettinger at Aikendale Farm, where he was instrumental in establishing the stallion colony. With his father, he helped manage Far Cry farm, launched Hughes Management and started training. Scooter’s son, Byron, has followed in his father’s footsteps and is currently an assistant for Todd Pletcher, while his daughter, Sydney, is finishing her DVM degree at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. Scooter thanked his wife, Traci, for all of her support throughout the years. One could tell that the award meant great deal to Scooter as he spoke about his experiences with the KTFMC throughout the years.
Following Scooter’s remarks, 1980’s music cover band, Better Off Dead, took to the stage and rocked our socks off, playing the top hits from multiple decades. Members and guests danced throughout the evening, while also being entertained by the Red Mile harness races under the lights.
We opened the event up to sponsorship this year, which was a huge success and made a large impact on our end of the year contributions. We’d like to the thank the following businesses for their support: Rood and Riddle, Hagyard Equine Medical, Bauer Hay and Straw, Bur Oak Water and Landscapes, Lake Horse Transportation, Thoroughbred Charities of America, Kate McStay-Graphic Designer, Bluegrass Farms Charities, and Racetrack Chaplaincy of America. Past Farm Manager of the Year, Mike Owens, coordinated with previous Farm Manager of the Year recipients for a large sponsorship as well, and we’d like to thank all that participated.