Georganne Hale

54, Director of racing/racing secretary, Maryland Jockey Club Each December during the leanest years, Georganne Hale would open her resume and tinker as she thought about what she would do if horse racing left Maryland for good. The daughter of a trainer, she'd been around horses her whole life. She caught on with the Maryland Jockey Club's racing office in 1984, working her way up to become the first female racing secretary of a major track 16 years later. Her loyalty to the region -- and her mother -- meant she wouldn't leave, though, even if the horses did. "I'm extremely organized," Hale said. "So I thought working for a casino, keeping track of things, might work." These days, Hale no longer worries about her next career. Slots revenue has fattened Maryland's purses, and Hale has thrived as the sport begins to flourish again. She's gone from cajoling trainers to stay in the state to trying to lure top outfits from nearby tracks to Maryland. "She excels at her work, No. 1, because she is so knowledgeable," jockey club president Tom Chuckas said. "You can't fool these trainers. You have to know it." Hale's primary job is filling races with quality horses. She writes the tracks' condition book -- a list of races to be offered during the meet -- then works the phones to entice athletes. Hale also played an important role in turning the day before Preakness into "The People's Pink Party," which has raised $175,000 to date for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Hale is a beloved figure at the track, and something of a prankster. She'll often pose her 76-year-old mother with a shovel in the driveway of their Fallston home after a heavy snow, then post the picture on Facebook to see which of her friends is quickest to admonish her. "I don't actually make her shovel," she said. "But I bought her a new John Deere, so she does mow the lawn." -- Chris Korman
Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun photo
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