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At The Races -- Hale to lead Charles Town HBPA

November 18, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

Lenny Hale, a veteran thoroughbred horse racing official, is the new executive director of the Charles Town Division/Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

"There's work to be done," Hale said. "The HBPA is a good organization, but we need to get stronger. We need to get (horsemen and management) reunited. The motto of the national HBPA is 'horsemen helping horsemen.' We have to get back into that."

Hale welcomes a a return to the racetrack. His introduction to thoroughbred horse racing includes obtaining a trainers' license at Charles Town in 1967.

He resides at Rockburn Farm in Marshall, Va., making his proximity to Charles Town a major factor in accepting the new position.

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"I'm back into racing and I can still live where I'm living. I like that," Hale said.

Hale said he's looking forward to the challenge of getting the horsemen and management working together.

"I will be involved in day-to-day operations, trying to work with management on issues proposed by the horsemen," Hale said. "My first goal - get our own house in order and to get the relationship with management back in order. There's some good people at Charles Town. We must work together and set goals which will benefit both parties."

These days, Hale spends most mornings in Charles Town's barn area, discussing issues with the horsemen.

"There are approximately 3,000 members in the HBPA at Charles Town and they are scattered all over the place," Hale said. "I try to talk to as many of them as possible. I want an input from all of the membership. I think in the past, a few folks were doing the talking for the majority. That should change."

Hale has spent many years in the horse racing business.

He has stayed current as a licensed trainer after obtaining his first groom's license in 1961.

Since then, Hale has worked in various racing capacities - as assistant starter, starter, paddock judge, patrol judge, placing judge - at Arlington Park, Calder, Hialeah, Delaware Park and Garden State Park.

Hale served as assistant racing secretary or racing secretary at Arlington Park and the New York Racing Association tracks from 1975-83 before taking over as vice president/senior vice president racing and properties for NYRA from 1983-93. He returned to the area to become vice president of racing for the Maryland Jockey Club and racing secretary at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., 1993-2001.

Milestone

Maryland-based jockey Mario Pino won his 6,000th race earlier this month to join a select list of riders who have at least 6,000 victories. Russell Baze tops the list with 9,898 wins (followed by Laffit Pincay (9,530), Bill Shoemaker (8,833), Pat Day (8,803), David Gall (7,396), Chris McCarron (7,141), Angel Cordero (7,057), Jorge Velasquez (6,795), Sandy Hawley (6,449), Earlie Fires (6,434), Larry Snyder (6,388), Eddie Delahoussaye (6,384), Carl Gambardella (6,349) and Johnny Longden (6,032).

Dickinson on new track

Michael Dickinson will not renew his trainer's license next year and will devote his time to Tapeta Footings - a synthetic surface he developed that is becoming popular at tracks around the world.

"I need 100 percent of my time to concentrate on Tapeta Footings," the 57-year-old trainer said in a statement released by the Pimlico Race Course. "I spent most of last winter overseas and 50 percent of my time this summer visiting Tapeta installations in five countries, which obviously leaves little time for training."

Dickinson developed the surface at his Tapeta Farm in North East, Md., and has surfaces installed in five countries, including training centers for Godolphin Racing in Dubai; Newmarket, England and the Singapore Turf Club.

Last week, Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif., unveiled the new surface to join Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania as two of the U.S.-based tracks using the mixture of sand, rubber and patented ingredients.

Dickinson, a native of England, was a top steeplechase jockey and three-time champion jumps trainer in England. He, who came the U.S. in 1987, is best known as the trainer of a two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Da Hoss.

Turkey racing

Laurel Park will present a special 11:05 a.m. post time on Thursday.

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