Posted: May 9, 2018
Mike Musto, the longtime Executive Director of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, was recognized May 8 with the Buddy Raines Award, which honors those who have a made a difference in the New Jersey racing industry.
Musto received the award at Monmouth Park as part of a luncheon for media and horsemen. He was born and raised in West Long Branch, which borders Oceanport, the home of Monmouth.
Monmouth is operated by Darby Development on behalf of the NJTHA, which leases the track and related facilities from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. Thus, Musto has played a major role in many aspects of the racing operation during some very challenging times.
“I asked for permission to make the presentation because he’s someone I’ve known for a long time,” said Dennis Drazin, Chief Executive Officer of Darby Development. “Mike is someone I believe is the backbone of a horsemen’s organization. He’s out there fighting for you, and he’s talking to you. He has fought vigorously for what you need.”
NJTHA President John Forbes, himself a Buddy Raines Award recipient, has worked with Musto for decades and said his contributions to horsemen and New Jersey racing in general are many. “He has held it all together,” Forbes said.
Musto helped his father operate tack shops at New Jersey’s Thoroughbred tracks and then became a horsemen’s bookkeeper. In 1987 he was hired as an assistant to Sam Fieramosca of the New Jersey Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which eventually became the NJTHA. Musto assumed his current position in 1999.
He has been recognized for his contributions in developing a comprehensive workers’ compensation program that covers all backstretch stable employees as well as jockeys.
(Photo of Mike Musto, left, and John Forbes by THA)