Georganne Hale

Georganne Hale

“Georganne and I have been professional peers for the past 30+ years, but not until I came to the Maryland Jockey Club was I able to appreciate what she does. The consummate professional with the respect of the Maryland horsemen, she is affectionately known as the Queen of Maryland Racing.  Georganne dedicates her life to Maryland racing and its participants. She has been an integral part of much of the success of Maryland racing. She loves what she does, from helping create the race programs to seeing that the horses have a full life post-racing. It has been a pleasure to work with her and glean the history of Maryland racing from her.”

  • Sal Sinatra – President and General Manager, Maryland Jockey Club

 

“I heard about Georganne years before I met her. I was working with Holly Robinson at Payson Park and she and Tracy Afftfield would talk about this wonderful friend they had back in Maryland – Georganne Hale. She was like a mythical character, and so my expectations were high. When I finally met her, I was not (and never have been) disappointed. Georganne is just the living best.

It would be difficult to summarize who she is, or what she has done for people and horses in a short paragraph. The list is far too long…perhaps there should be a book. Over the years, I have found her to be funny, generous, kind and one of the strongest horse racing advocates I have ever met.

Georganne is supportive of her community and her friends, and she genuinely loves to see someone do well. She loves people, and if she is making fun of you, that usually means she likes you. She loves horses; she especially loves a good racehorse. But honestly, she just loves any horse, from the mini ponies to the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Georganne is fair and will not let you get away with anything just because you are her friend…..or you will hear ‘COME ON!!!…..are you kidding me??!'”

  • Stacie L. Clark – Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance

 

“I could write a book about the influence that Georganne Hale has had on me. I tease her all the time because I remind her that she is the longest relationship I’ve had with anyone other than my parents. The depth of knowledge and passion she has for our industry is undeniable and infectious. I’ve had the privilege of being her assistant for almost twenty years and wouldn’t be where I am today without her.

She jokes that I was an embryo when I started (at 23 years old) and now I’m an old battle ax! Maryland racing is without a doubt better because of Georganne’s tireless commitment to make it the best. Her work hasn’t stopped there – she now spends a lot of her time helping our Thoroughbred athletes transition into successful second careers. She’s come full circle in an industry that needs people like her, and I’m extremely proud to call her my boss, but more importantly my dear friend.”

  • Jillian Tullock – Racing Secretary, Maryland Jockey Club

 

“I can’t think of a person more suited for the title SheHero than Georganne Hale—in racing, or anywhere else for that matter. For the many (too many!) years I’ve been visiting Maryland, Georganne has done more to make me—and countless others—not only feel welcomed but to feel special.

On a professional level, Georganne is a trailblazer, quietly guiding the racing department for one of the major circuits in the nation, one of the only women in the role for many years. Even when not serving as racing secretary, though, she is still the one horsemen and visitors alike seek out for answers and guidance, the one who knows where to go to get things done and the one who won’t hesitate to get it done or help you personally to make it happen without looking for anything in return.You will rarely hear her speak of herself as blazing a trail, yet she ran one of the more diverse and gender-neutral racing offices in the sport and mentored and guided those who worked under and beside her, serving as an amazing role model to anyone interested in working in racing.  But it’s easy to understand why she would be such a success in the typically male dominated racing department as Georganne is a true horsewoman and, perhaps more importantly, a true horse lover.  And while she rarely takes any credit herself, Georganne is quick to  emphasize the accomplishments of other women in racing—one of the single biggest factors in the success of Black Eyed Susan Day, from the racing and wagering to the female handicapping seminars and tournaments, to the Ladies Legends, to raising money for important charities and organizations,

Georganne has set the bar high for any person following in her footsteps.  On a more personal level, though, she is a hero because she genuinely cares.  She cares about her animals, her horsemen, her co-workers, her  family and especially her friends.  Her many, many friends of which I count myself very fortunate to be included.”

  • Caton Bredar – TVG Racing Analyst

 

“If Thoroughbred racing ever had a “Renaissance Woman”, it would be Georganne Hale!
A superior horsewoman – ✔️, respected (and beloved) former Racing Secretary and current VP of Racing  – ✔️, creative marketing genius – ✔️, industry ambassador – ✔️and passionate advocate for aftercare – ✔️. She launched the popular Lady Legends Race celebrating women jockeys and spearheaded the momentum behind turning Pimlico pink on Black-Eyed Susan Day to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. Where our sport has sometimes struggled to find consensus, one thing all agree on – universal admiration and affection for Georganne!
She also doubles as the ultimate ‘go to’ for anything and everything – Maryland crabs, equine magnetic therapy, cribbing advice – you name it…if she doesn’t know herself, she finds someone who does. And she laughs, a lot. And likes pistachios and Twizzlers.

Colleagues couldn’t ask for a better co-worker  and leader, people a more loyal friend, horses no greater champion.”

  • Karin DeFrancis – Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Horsemen’s Assistance Fund

 

“Such an incredible woman! I remember – it had to be late 1970s/early 1980s – Katy Voss and Jack Mobberley shared a barn together at Timonium. Georganne, an exercise rider or Katy and I for Jack, would gallop side by side on 2-year-old sets. She was a very talented rider and a spectacular horsewoman with steady hands. A smart girl, too. I watched her get jobs as entry clerk, patrol judge, paddock judge, etc. working gruesome hours. Then she was promoted to Assistant Racing Secretary before becoming the first woman in the industry to ever be appointed Racing Secretary.

She has done countless good things to improve Maryland racing and has earned the trust of many horsemen. And now she is Vice President of Racing Development. YES I am very proud of her!

Georganne, congrats on all you have done, and thanks for being such a good friend through the years!”

  • Bobby Lillis – Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association

 

“I’ve been lucky enough to work with Georganne directly for about three years now. I knew her before that but have been able to spend more time with her since she is on the board of Beyond The Wire, which I run. I admire her so much. She is tough but fari, caring, an extremely well-rounded horsewoman and just plain old fun! She is a mentor to me personally, whether she knows it or not. The care and consideration she puts into Thoroughbred aftercare, her knowledge of the racing industry as a whole and the level-headed way she approaches difficulties are all reasons I regularly go to her for advice. That and she’s very entertaining! I’m privileged to work with her and even more privileged to call her a friend.”

  • Jessica Hammond – Beyond The Wire

 

“As a coworker of Georganne’s for 30 years, I was constantly amazed by her excellent rapport with folks in every aspect of Thoroughbred racing. She is respected throughout the industry, and her reputation as a tough but fair leader is well deserved.

Georganne was the first female racing secretary at a major U.S. track and also created a few high profile, innovative events. Her Lady Legends race featured retired jockeys competing in a parimutuel race, and she lured a Who’s Who of past female riders to the popular Black-Eyed Susan Day contest. Canter For A Cause offered equestrians the opportunity to ride their horses around the famed Pimlico oval for a charitable donation, attracting a myriad of breeds from Shetland ponies to Clydesdales. The Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show at Pimlico was the only all-Thoroughbred horse show held in a racetrack infield and highlighted the popularity of OTTBs.”

  • Carrie Everly – Vice President, Maryland Jockey Club

 

“Georganne Hale is the ‘rockstar’ of Maryland Racing and throughout the Maryland equestrian world. I have the honor of calling her my friend, and I work with her via her Canter for the Cause, the Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show from a few years back and also with her support of Thoroughbred aftercare. She actually got me involved in the Preakness Week Sunrise Tours about 10 years ago. I hope people know that her efforts extend WAY beyond just the race track.
Perhaps I can best describe her as honest, dedicated and hilarious all wrapped up in one package. Her laugh alone is infectious!”
  • Fran Burns – Maryland Jockey Club “Sunrise At Old Hilltop” Tour Coordinator

 

“Georganne is absolutely remarkable. She is tough, fair and kind. She knows the racing industry inside and out and is equally comfortable dealing with high profile owners and trainers as well as those workers on the backstretch. If there is ever an issue, she will take actin and get results.  Georganne was focused on safe aftercare for our Thoroughbreds even before the industry was. I am honored to call her a friend.”

  • Beverly Searle Strauss – MidAtlantic Horse Rescue

 

“I think Georganne Hale is most deserving of the SheHero award. Her love of the horse and the sport – and her deep knowledge of both – has set an example for the rest of us for decades. I could go on and on, but everyone who knows Georganne understands what a smart, unique and compassionate person she is.”

  • Michael Blowen – Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farms