When the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association holds their 61st annual Awards Banquet, on Sunday, December 15, 2019, Barbara Martinez will receive the chapter’s Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award.
Named in honor of the revered ‘First Lady of Orange County’, the award has been bestowed annually to over 35 men and women that have been recognized for their commitment and cooperation in the promotion and advancement of the village of Goshen and Historic Track.
This year, however, Barbara Martinez may have no equal.
With just nine months in her new role as the Executive Director for the Goshen Chamber of Commerce, Barbara Martinez has taken the village, literally, by storm.
Hired in February 2019, she and her colleagues felt that there may be a ‘disconnect’ between Goshen Historic Track, the Harness Racing Museum and the Goshen Chamber of Commerce.
“People thought the track had money,” Martinez offered. “Many villagers thought that the Museum and the Track were the same entity…and they are not. We felt there was sort of an identity crisis.”
A sought-after public speaker, Martinez set out to change the misconception that the track is not financed by the Museum. “It needs its own support. I quickly learned that there were not enough eyes in Orange County on Goshen Historic Track.”
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx, she is both gregarious and engaging. At the barn reconstruction ground breaking in April some folks got their first glance at the social media whirlwind in action. Making friends and admirers instantly, she shook hands and posed for selfies…both professionally and sincerely.
From that day forward she continued to jump into harness racing with both feet. With her can-do attitude, she climbed aboard a two-seated jog cart with trainer/driver Chuck Connor and counts the ride around the historic Trot Town oval as one her greatest inspirations.
With iPhone in-hand, the award-winning community leader went LIVE on Facebook and recalled for her viewers the splendor of the horse Muscle N Beauty along with the reality of stone dust getting caught in her pearly white teeth.
“It was an amazing and eye opening experience,” recalls Martinez. “I instantly fell in love with the passion that these families share in the lost art of harness racing.”
Since then the tireless Martinez has continued her mission to highlight Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum, championing the importance of its history as the Cradle of the Trotter and incorporating the harness horse as a branding icon into nearly everything that the Goshen Chamber presents.
“The Chamber feels that it is beneficial to have the track as the heart and imagery of all of Goshen,” Martinez added.
Employing a never-ending supply of charm and energy, Martinez has held successful Health and Wellness conferences in Haughton Hall at the Harness Racing Museum and brought the Chamber’s ‘Then And Now’ Gala to Historic Track, where the track received recognition for their decades of membership in the Chamber.
In fact, all the trophies from that event were fashioned from used, refurbished harness horse shoes, helping to make an emotional and sentimental connection to the track.
With the pending grand opening of Legoland slated for the same holiday weekend as the track’s Grand Circuit meet in 2020, Martinez is preparing tourist literature that highlights Standardbreds.
“We want to keep harness racing alive in Goshen, and help build the audience.”
Martinez adds, “We believe that when people visit Goshen, they should visit the track and be sure to see the horses in action. This should be part of their walk, make it a romantic stroll!”
The popular star of her own Facebook live show, “Where in the Hudson Valley is Barbara Martinez” is a virtual tour of the region coupled with a Who’s Who of local attractions and businesses.
Next week (Dec. 7) the Chamber and Historic Track will host the Goshen Holiday Experience where the barns will be decorated and people can enjoy horse and carriage rides along with a full slate of seasonal experiences.
Martinez offers, “The village and the chamber utilize a sense of uniformity, coming from the same place. The branding of Goshen should be a reflection of what the track is…the Cradle of the Trotter.”
In addition to the year-end awards for horses and horse people from the local tracks, the Monticello-Goshen chapter will also honor Mickey Burke (Lifetime Achievement Award); Noelle Duspiva (Excelsior Award); Larry Lederman (John Gilmour Good Guy Award); Purple Haze Stable (Cradle of the Trotter Breeders Award); Dave Brower (Phil Pines Award); Tony Verruso (Amateur Driver); Joe Chindano, Jr. (Rising Star), etc.
Tickets for the gala event at The Fountains at Wallkill Golf Club, Middletown, NY, can be reserved by contacting Shawn Wiles at (845) 794-4100 extension 458 or Email: email@example.com. To place a congratulatory ad in the souvenir journal, please contact Chris Tully at (845) 807-7538 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.