Don Jenkins, long-time groom at Darby Dan Farm, was named the winner of the Dedication to Breeding Award during the Oct. 14 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards (TIEA) ceremony held at Keeneland.
The TIEA, which is in its seventh year, is an awards program that recognizes and rewards the outstanding talent, diligence and commitment of the farm and racing stable staff who are at the heart of our sport. The TIEA strives to acknowledge those who may never have their name in the program or accept a trophy in the winners’ circle and those who will otherwise never receive recognition for their hard work and dedication to their job and our sport.
The Dedication to Breeding Award goes to an individual who has worked a minimum of 10 years in the Thoroughbred breeding industry and shown consistency, reliability and a talent for Thoroughbred breeding horsemanship. Ideal candidates should be employed by a Thoroughbred breeding farm and/or work directly with Thoroughbred breeding horses. Must be a pivotal part of his or her employer’s success.
Jenkins assuredly met all the criteria for the award. At 85 years young, Jenkins shows up for work each day to make sure whatever needs to be done is taken care of, but said he especially loves breeding season, taking care of the mares and their new foals.
“Don has been here for 20-plus years, always is pleasant, has a great way with horses, and has a great responsibility and has a really kind touch with horses,” said Darby Dan owner John Phillips. “Don’s not an emotional guy, but he cried when he heard he had been selected.”
Jenkins, one of three award finalists, was presented with a trophy and a $7,500 cash prize at the ceremony.
The video below shows a profile of Don and the awarding of the trophy following all the finalists’ profiles.