Photo by Dottie Miller.

The Maryland Jockey Club is partnering with the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association to implement a Best Turned Out Award to honor the unsung heroes of racing, starting with the traditional Thanksgiving Day program Thursday, Nov. 25 at Laurel Park.

For each race on every live racing day, the groom of the best turned out horse will be awarded a $25 gift card and recognized on television and simulcast broadcasts and by track announcer Dave Rodman. On Thanksgiving Day, winners will be awarded a $100 gift card provided by sponsor Fidelity First.

Judges will examine the presentation and appearance of both horse and groom to determine a winner.

“Grooms have an immeasurable role in the care of these wonderful equine athletes and it’s important to acknowledge this dedication. It’s a fitting partnership with the Maryland Jockey Club, 1/ST Racing and the MTHA to recognize these individuals,” said Aidan Butler, 1/ST Racing COO.

“The MTHA is extremely thrilled to partner with the Maryland Jockey Club to recognize and reward the care and devotion regularly given by our horsemen to our equine athletes on a daily basis,” MTHA Executive Director David Richardson said. “We are proud to have the finest horsemen in the nation.”

Laurel’s Thanksgiving Day program begins with a special first post of 11:25 a.m. and features the return of the popular family-sized pie giveaway after missing 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.