According to the resolution:
“Whereas, the Board further wishes to acknowledge Sammy’s exceptional persuasive skills and his unique abilities, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a joke for all occasions, to prevail during long and difficult negotiation sessions with the Florida racetracks and secure for the horsemen purse contracts that have been essential to the survival of live Thoroughbred racing in Florida. Sammy’s business background as the Chief Executive Officer for West Indies Tropical Sales Company and former CEO of Del Monte Fresh Produce, as well as his educational background as a graduate of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, prepared him well for the tasks he was called upon to perform for the HBPA. His business acumen and extensive business experience have benefited the HBPA very well during his tenure as a member of this Board.
“Whereas, the Board finally wishes to recognize Sammy for his efforts, while President of the Florida HBPA, to secure funding for health clinics at the track and for Thoroughbred rescue and rehabilitation programs. Sammy has been able to obtain and preserve many benefits for HBPA members and through that dedication exemplified the HBPA motto of “Horsemen Helping Horsemen.”
In his acceptance speech, Gordon referred to his fellow HBPA members as “family” and longtime Florida HBPA Executive Director Kent Stirling as his “son.”
The semi-annual meeting of the largest racing horsemen's representative association in North America also featured a number of informative speaker forums, committee meetings, including:
- "Working Successfully with High Volume Players" – a forum featuring Racing & Gaming Services (RGS) Vice President Rob Terry, AmWest Entertainment CEO Nelson Clemmons, and Xpressbet President Ron Luniewski.
- A legislative affairs update forum introducing National HBPA's new governmental affairs consultants, American Continental Group, and their vision of representing the interests of the National HBPA's horsemen and women in Washington, D.C.
- An immigration forum that gave updates on recent changes in H-2B Visa program and USCIS positions, as well as information on the P-visa program and I-9 compliance. Speakers included Will Velie and Craig McDougal of Horseman Labor Solutions and National HBPA Immigration Advisor and Kentucky HBPA Hispanic Liaison Julio Rubio.
- "Iowa - A Unique ADW Partnership" – a forum that gave details on a new ADW partnership in Iowa that includes the racetrack, the HBPA, and the state horse racing commission.
- "The Scientific Case: Furosemide and the Prevention of Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage" - a forum that explored the use of and science regarding Salix/Lasix from various perspectives. Speakers included Dr. Steven Barker, MS, Ph.D., Professor, Comparative Biomedical Sciences; Director, Analytical Systems Laboratory; Equine Medication Surveillance Laboratory and the Laboratory for Drug Residue Studies, State Chemist, Louisiana State Racing Commission; Dr. Thomas Brokken, DVM, a senior partner in Tiegland, Franklin & Brokken DVM’s P.A. which has 16 veterinarians on staff who cover all of the Florida Thoroughbred tracks as well as Delaware Park, Fair Hill Training Center and Saratoga Race Course (Dr. Brokken has been a practicing veterinarian for over 40 years, and is a past President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners); and Dr. Thomas Tobin, Professor, Dept. of Veterinary Science, Gluck Equine Research Center and Graduate Center for Toxicology, University of Kentucky & National HBPA Veterinary Advisor. The forum also included an excellent video sent by Dr. Mark Dedomenico, a preeminent heart surgeon who helped play a major role in developing the coronary bypass surgery, the Guided Flow Aortic Heart Valve, and the Bionit Arterial Grafts that are used around the world. He is also the founding member of Hope Heart Institute in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Dedomenico has been in the equine business for over 40 years, and is the owner of 2010 Eclipse Award-winning Three-Year Old Filly Blind Luck.
The National HBPA (www.nationalhbpa.com), based in Lexington, Kentucky, is the largest racing horsemen’s representative association in North America, with 30 affiliate organizations and over 30,000 member horsemen. Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supplies, Equineline.com, Finish Line Horse Products, Inc., and Horseman Labor Solutions are proud corporate partners of the National HBPA.