Horse Racing

Race Track Chaplaincy Honors Pope, Fick With Awards

A hero is admired for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. There are heroes throughout the horse racing industry, and the Race Track Chaplaincy of America recognizes some selfless servants annually through the White Horse Awards. Established in 2003, the White Horse Awards shows appreciation to these individuals for acts of selflessness, bravery, and dedication. 

The White Horse Award has a long-standing history of recognizing some of the unsung heroes of horse racing, whether their actions were headline-grabbing or the quiet and not-so-obvious kind of heroism.

This year’s honorees are as follows:

2023 RTCA Community Service Award—Dan Fick has a tremendous legacy in horse racing. Dan has served as either a board member, director, or other leadership capacities for numerous organizations, including The Jockey Club, the American Quarter Horse Association, various state Racing Commissions, the Winners Federation, Groom Elite, the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards and many others. He has been an exceptional steward, director of racing, or racing secretary at several tracks across the country and was instrumental in establishing the Racing Officials Accreditation Program. But throughout his storied career, Dan has kept the Race Track Chaplaincy of America close to his heart. Dan has served the Chaplaincy faithfully for decades, helping to craft the organization. Having served on the RTCA National Board as president, Dan has reached director emeritus status with the organization. Dan most recently served as the Kentucky Race Track Chaplaincy council president.  

2023 RTCA Community Service Award - Dan Fick
Photo: Courtesy RTCA

RTCA Community Service Award winner Dan Fick

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2023 RTCA White Horse Award—David Pope is the winner of this year’s White Horse Award. The story begins when Matt Koch, Shawhan Place farm manager, learned that a friend and fellow marine with whom he had served, Chris Kilpatrick, was in desperate need of a kidney transplant. Not being a match himself, Matt shared a Facebook post about Kilpatrick’s need.  After attending a church service where the message was about “meaningful giving,” David read the Facebook post the next day and took the initial step to see if he might be a match. At each testing stage, it was confirmed that David was indeed a perfect match. So, in the fall of 2022, David donated a kidney to a stranger in Kilpatrick. It was a successful operation, and both men are doing well today. A video of the story follows below.


This press release has been edited for content and style by BloodHorse Staff.


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