TRENTON, N.J. — The 2020 Governor’s Award for Horseperson of the Year was awarded to Ed Wengryn, who has served the industry primarily with New Jersey Farm Bureau since 1988. Wengryn accepted the award at the 64th Annual New Jersey Breeders Awards Celebration at the Horse Park of New Jersey.
“Ed Wengryn’s dedication to agriculture and the equine community has benefited New Jersey in numerous ways during his many of years of service,” NJDA Secretary Douglas H. Fisher said. “He has been a steadfast proponent for all of the many facets of the horse industry.”
Wengryn is Farm Bureau’s representative for right to farm, equine agricultural management practices development, farmland assessment, and humane standards for the care and keeping of livestock including equine animals.
More recently Wengryn has lobbied for initiatives such as recognizing the importance of housing equine employees on farms and correcting sales tax issues for equine operators.
A 1986 graduate of Delaware Valley University, Wengryn has used horses as an opportunity to introduce more people to agriculture through equine activities such as riding and equestrian sport.
Other awards presented were:
Secretary of Agriculture Awards for New Jersey Standardbred Horse of the Year, New Jersey Sire Stakes Premier Horse of the Year; and Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey Horse of the Year: Play Trix On Me – Play Trix On Me, by Trixton out of the Credit Winner mare Lima Playmate, won the New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old colt trotters at the Meadowlands. A winner of $433,843 in 2020, the 3-year-old colt trotter won four of his 17 starts last year. With a lifetime mark of 1:53 which he took winning the Carl Erskine at Hoosier Park, he was also second in the Breeders Crown Final at Hoosier Park. Play Trix On Me is owned by Renee Spahr, trained by Linda Toscano and was bred by Steve Jones of Montgomery, N.Y.
Secretary of Agriculture Award for New Jersey Thoroughbred Horse of the Year: Horologist – Horologist, a 4-year-old filly, started the year in California before coming to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott in June. Under Mott’s supervision, Horologist won the $250,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth Park and the $150,000 Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park. Horologist also finished second in the $100,000 Nellie Morse Stakes at Laurel and third in the $500,000 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs. Horologist is owned by the partnership of There’s A Chance Stable, Parkland Thoroughbreds, Medallion Racing, Abbondonza Racing, LLC, Paradise Farms Corp., and David Staudacher. Horologist finished 2020 with $345,334 in earnings. She has won seven of 20 career starts with earnings of $715,439. Horologist was bred in New Jersey by Holly Crest Farm.
Breeder of the Year: Fair Winds Farm – One of Fair Winds Farm’s standouts during 2020 was Zenith Stride, the 2-year-old Muscle Hill filly out of Open Access, trained by Mark Harder. Zenith Stride won the International Stallion in a lifetime record of 1:52.2 at Lexington, helping boost her lifetime earnings to $226,168. Fair Winds Farm’s yearling sale preparation is widely recognized by knowledgeable buyers, and each year their sale average is among the highest of all consignors at Harrisburg. Fair Winds Farm is in Cream Ridge and ranked in the top 20 breeders in earnings with nearly $2 million in 2020.
Horse Park of NJ Volunteer of the Year: Tracy Wiater-Herbert – She has been a volunteer for several years at the Horse Park and plays a significant role in recruiting volunteers for events.
Special Recognition: Rutgers Equine Science Center – The Science Center was recognized for its dedication to “Better Horse Care through Research & Education” as this is the Center’s 20th anniversary.
New Jersey Agricultural Achievement Award: Mackenzie Esposito, Hammonton – $500 Scholarship. A recent graduate of Hammonton High School where she was a member of the National Honor Society, Mackenzie has competed regularly in equine events and was the Atlantic County 4-H Junior Equestrian of the Year in 2019. She plans to attend Stockton University.
Bell Scholarship: Gemma Parente, Mendham – The $1,000 scholarship is presented by the Equine Advisory Board and named for Ernest C. Bell, a horse breeder and one of the founders of the Equine Advisory Board. Parente recently graduated from Rutgers University, where she was a George H. Cook Scholar. Her honors project was “Animal Waste Techniques on New Jersey Equine Farms.”
–Jeff Wolfe, NJDA