Jessica HammondHammond Earns Godolphin Community Award (first published in the September 2022 Equiery)
by Katherine O. Rizzo

Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association staff member Jessica Hammond of Harford County earned the 2022 David Richardson Community Award as part of the annual Godolphin Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards. The award recognizes those who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the Thoroughbred industry, and in particular, to the greater good of the sport. It includes those who support the breeding and racing staff or have made an outstanding contribution to the wider Thoroughbred community.

Hammond first joined MTHA as a counselor and benevolence administrator but soon expanded her role to become the administrator of Beyond The Wire, an aftercare program formed by the Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Horse Breeders Association in May 2017.

Hammond was nominated for the Community Award by Georganne Hale, MJC Vice President of Racing Development and a member of the Beyond The Wire Board of Directors. “Jessica helps every person on the backside or frontside of the racetracks in Maryland. She is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” Hale said. “Jessica helps and solves problems that employees bring to her when they may affect their physical or mental well-being. Her door is always open.”

“Jessica not only helps the humans. Her other job is protecting the horses when their careers as racehorses are over. Jessica makes sure every horse lands in a safe and healthy environment when they retire. We need many more Jessica Hammonds in the racing industry.”

Hammond is the third MTHA employee to be honored as part of Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards. Office manager Diana Pinones was runner-up for the Community Award in 2021 while the now-retired Bobby Lillis won the same award in 2019.

In roughly five years, more than 550 horses have gone through the Beyond the Wire program, which partners with a group of Thoroughbred Aftercare Association-accredited facilities in Maryland and beyond. Hammond has worked to expand the network of partner farms to ensure that more horses are able to find homes and move on to second careers.