Posted: Oct. 14, 2019
Mike Ballezzi, the longtime Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, on Oct. 12 was recognized for his contributions during Owners Appreciation Day at Parx Racing.
The featured race on the program was the $100,000 M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile Stakes. It was won by Robert Donaldson’s Spun to Run, who is trained by Juan Carlos Guerrero and ridden by Mychel Sanchez.
Ballezzi joined the PTHA as Executive Director in 1996. In 2008 he was named PTHA Man of the Year, and in 2014 he was inducted into the Parx Hall of Fame. Ballezzi played a role in representing horsemen during negotiations on the legislation that authorized racetrack gaming—along with revenue for purses, horsemen’s programs and breed development programs—and also launched the Turning for Home aftercare program and the Horsemen’s Purchasing Association at Parx.
Ballezzi, a graduate of Rutgers University with a law degree from Widener Law School, has been an attorney since 1976, but he became involved in racing even before he passed the bar. He also trained a stable of horses from 1973 to 1977, and owned Thoroughbreds for more than four decades.
(Photo courtesy of Nikki Sherman)