2015-2016 Scholarship Winners

Harness Tracks of America and International Sound Corporation are pleased to award scholarships totaling $15,000 for the 2015-2016 academic period.  “This year’s winners were selected from a pool of exceptionally talented and ambitious applicants,” stated David Snyder, President of International Sound and Chairman of the HTA Scholarship Committee.  “The cost of higher education today is staggering, and we are privileged to be able to help families in our sport who have reared and nurtured these promising youngsters.”

This year’s awards have been re-named the Harold Snyder Memorial Scholarships in honor of the late founder of International Sound, a 50-plus year-old company which provides video, graphics, sound and surveillance systems to a world-wide client list of over 100 racetracks and sporting venues. Three students will each receive $5000 grants to further their studies in demanding coursework at a trio of highly regarded universities:

John Paul McDermott Jr., 20, of Lyndhurst NJ spent his four years of high school at the rigorous Bergen County Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology.  He was accepted at the University of Florida Gainesville, where he is now a junior major in Business Administration specializing in pre-law and leadership minor.  He is a First Year Florida Peer Leader responsible for teaching a one-credit course to assist freshmen with the transition from high school to college.  John currently holds an eye-popping 3.9 grade point average and, upon graduation, intends to complete his Masters in International Business, attend law school and prepare for a career in cross-border mergers and acquisitions.

John’s parents, John and Nancy McDermott, have owned Standardbreds for 28 years, stabling between seven and thirty head at tracks in FL, NJ, PA, and NY and racing all over North America.  John Jr. still spends summers working at the barn back in Jersey, and his duties over the years “have grown from cleaning water buckets and feed tubs to becoming a [licensed] co-trainer for the stable.”   “While I do not expect to make a career in harness racing,” McDermott continued in his essay, “I do plan to remain involved with it in the future in whatever capacity I can – perhaps as an owner, or making use of my business degree to find ways of ensuring the long-term survival and success of the sport.”

Michael Fahy, a 22-year-old native of Washington, PA, is a first-year graduate student enrolled in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program in Washington D.C., ranked #1 for international relations policy careers by leading news magazine Foreign Policy. He is pursuing a Master of Arts majoring in U.S. National Security Policy. A 2015 Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude graduate of Marietta College (OH), Fahy majored in Political Science and Asian Studies.  He was the Outstanding Student in Chinese Language and treasurer of the Student Government Association for three years.  Michael graduated with a stunning cumulative GPA of 3.95, missing a 4.0 only because of a few A minuses on an otherwise perfect transcript.

Fahy’s academic prowess was balanced with real-world experience in government affairs and politics.  Besides several unpaid internships in China and Marietta, Michael landed salaried positions in college and during summers as a Regional Security Officer for the Department of State at the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, China, Deputy Finance Director for OH House Representative Jennifer Garrison’s 2014 Congressional campaign, research assistant for Marietta College’s Political Science Department Chair, and legislative intern for PA State Representative Jesse White.  Heady stuff, indeed, for the former teenager who started his career working in food service for McDonald’s and small bakeries.

Michael’s parents must be exceedingly proud of their successful son.  The HTA Scholarship Committee members certainly were when they read these excerpts from the closing paragraphs of his essay submission:

“My parents live and breathe harness racing.  Since their teens and early twenties, my father and mother have worked as grooms, trainers, and owners at various racetracks around the United States.  My father, Bill Fahy, is a very accomplished harness horse driver who held the world record for nearly a decade with Jenna’s Beach Boy.  Together, he and my mother, Moira Fahy, train and own a stable of horses at the Meadows Racetrack in Washington, PA, where they have worked for nearly two decades.

Over school breaks in the summer and winter, between jobs and internships, I took the time to work for my parents in the mornings.  Since childhood, I’ve loved being around the horses with my parents, even if that meant cleaning stalls and getting stepped on by horses.  I’ll always hold these and other harness racing memories, such as winning the concluding race of a Harness Horse Youth League camp and watching my family’s horse, Applecreek Hanover, win a big race in Canada, close to my heart.  For me, my roots in harness racing are much more than childhood memories.  They form a central component of my family’s lifestyle, one that has helped shape and define my attitudes on life, work, and personal values.”

HTA’s youngest award recipient is Amber Nicole Robinson from Bishopville, MD.  The 19-year-old Psychology major with a 3.4 GPA is back for her junior year at Lynchburg College in Virginia, where she is Vice President of Community Affairs for Kappa Delta Sorority. Amber is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree and eventually a Masters in Social Work and Clinical Psychology.    She was a 2013 graduate of Stephen Decatur High School, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, choreographer of the show choir, and a four-year member of the field hockey team, ending up as senior captain and winner of the sportsmanship award.

Amber’s self-stated career goal of positively impacting “people’s lives who have been diagnosed with a life-changing disease or disorder” developed as a result of “what I consider a gift.”  At 13, she was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a form of juvenile macular degeneration which causes progressive vision loss, and is today legally blind.  The summer after the diagnosis, her parents, branch bank manager and Ocean Downs harness driver Ray Robinson, and  Morrisville University associate degree holder and Standardbred trainer Carolyn Robinson, bought Amber her first horse, Silver Duck.  “Being around him and working with him made me not feel different or at a disadvantage,” she wrote in her essay.  “He did not know that I was struggling with my disease. He just knew me as his caretaker.”

Besides grooming at the barn, Amber has held 30-hour-per-week jobs during summers and other busy times as a hostess and ice cream scooper and an expeditor in a barbeque restaurant.  Her work ethic, talent and determined spirit augers well for achieving the dream she expressed in the closing words of her essay: “I want to help change as many lives as I can by giving people hope that they can succeed and still be ‘different.’  Overall, my diagnosis of Stargardt disease has been a challenge, but it has also been a blessing because it has shaped me into the person I am today.  I am so thankful for the love and support of my family, friends and even my horses for helping me accept my disease and make the best of it.”

Harness Tracks of America and International Sound Corporation have made 211 grants to 144 worthy students since the scholarship fund’s inception in 1973.  A total of $793,950 has been awarded.  The program remains one of the cherished legacies of longtime HTA Executive Vice President Stan Bergstein and recently deceased International Sound patriarch Harold Snyder. HTA Scholarship Committee Members Tom Aldrich (Northfield Park), Chris McErlean (Penn Gaming), Jason Settlemoir (The Meadowlands), Jeff Smith (Hoosier Park) and Charles Lockhart (Dover Downs), are deeply grateful for the financial support of Marcia Snyder, Harold’s widow, and son David. Their generosity has enabled the continued funding of higher education opportunities for the sons and daughters of harness racing families.

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Six highly motivated and academically talented college students will share in total scholarship awards of $16,000 presented by Harness Tracks of America.  “This year’s winners emerged from an exceptionally strong field of applicants,” stated HTA President Paul Fontaine.  “With the costs of completing a four-year undergraduate program more daunting than ever, HTA is pleased to continue its long tradition of assisting students whose families or themselves are actively  engaged in our great sport.”


Two outstanding young women, Alleysha Reynolds of Duryea, PA and Lyndsay Hagemeyer of Clarksville, OH earned the top stipends of $5,000 each.

Ms. Reynolds, 18, an Honors with Distinction Graduate from Pittston Area High School, is in her first year at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA.  She intends to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Equine Science and Management and then go on to veterinary college while working on a breeding farm.   The ambitious Ms. Reynolds, who worked as a caretaker at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and at Domino’s Pizza her senior year of high school, attended two Harness Horse Youth Foundation Camps, at Saratoga in 2007 and Lexington in 2008.  Her father Robert, a groom and second trainer, works in logistics at Walmart.  Mother Luann is the Paddock Judge at Pocono.

Lyndsay Hagemeyer was awarded this year’s second $5,000 HTA Scholarship.  University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College Student of the Year in 2011, the 23-year-old Clarksville, Ohio native is pursuing a double major in Psychology and Pre-Veterinary Medicine.  Ms. Hagemeyer, already a holder of an associate degree in Pre-Psychology and Deaf Studies from U.C., intends to seek a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine advanced degree when her undergraduate studies are complete, with a focus on equine and other large animals.  She appeared on the Dean’s List for Academic Excellence 12 consecutive terms while enrolled at UC’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

Ms. Hagemeyer’s energy, drive and commitment are reflected in both her work habits and volunteer efforts.  The 2010 graduate of Clinton Massie High School was heavily involved in 4-H, her church and Our Father’s Kitchen feeding the needy program, all while working 18 to 20 hours a week at Liberty Western, a quarter-horse supply business.  Employed there since 2007, Lyndsay is that firm’s longest-serving employee and has risen to Training Specialist and Sales Merchandise Coordinator.  She also helps out as needed (approximately 15 to 20 hours a week) as a trainer and groom at Hagemeyer Farms, managed by her father, Scott, and homemaker mom, Cindy.  The standardbred nursery and training facility has been in her family for four generations.

HTA’s Scholarship Committee also dispensed $6,000 in awards to four other deserving applicants who demonstrated academic merit, need and harness racing involvement.  Each of the following winners will receive $1,500 for their post-secondary studies:

Thomas Hundertpfund, 19, from Magnolia, DE, is a freshman majoring in Aeronautical Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL.  He spent four years at the highly competitive POLYTECH High School of Kent County, DE, earning a GPA of 94.8 and ranking 26th out of 283 in his class.  Hundertpfund was an Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corpsman all four years, a Distinguished Cadet and a winner of the General Ben Davis Award.  A National Honor Society inductee and two-year member of the POLYTECH Golf Team, he also earned the American Legion Scholastic Excellence Award and was chosen to attend Delaware Boys State as the representative for his local Legion post.

Thomas is the son of Joseph, Jr. and Doreen Hundertpfund, the former a second generation standardbred trainer who races in Delaware, New Jersey and New York.  Cadet Hundertpfund, along with his sister, who currently works in the family’s stable operations, often helped around the barn from a young age.  “It remains a large part of my life and hopefully it will stay that way,” asserted Thomas in his application essay.  His first career goal, however, is to serve the nation as a pilot in the Navy.

Thomas Wine, 19, from Coconut Creek, FL., is a sophomore at Broward College in Davie, FL.  A 2013 graduate of Monarch High School, where he participated in student government, Wine is working toward his Associate in Arts degree, majoring in Animal Science.

He is a member of the Mathletics Team and has earned nearly all A’s and B’s while working 40-plus hours a week at Pompano Park.  The determined Wine paddocks four to six times a week, grooms, washes race bikes in the mornings and afternoon between classes, and helps the feed supplier deliver hay.  Upon graduation from Broward, Wine hopes to go to the University of Florida to pursue a graduate degree in Equine Science.  “My heart belongs in the horse business,” he wrote.  Thomas is the son of standardbred trainers Tom and Jill Wine.

Jennifer Lauer, 19, of Hightstown, NJ, is a sophomore biology major at East Stroudsburg University in PA, where she is a member of the swim team.  An honor roll student all four years of high school and captain of her swim team (Rookie of the Year and twice MVP), she has worked periodically throughout her educational endeavors as a lifeguard, swim lesson instructor, bistro staffer and assistant to her father, trainer Bruce Lauer, at his stable.  Her mother, Marie, is the horsemen’s booker and administrative assistant at the Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway.

Jennifer, who spent two years volunteering at the Mercer County Wildlife Center and frequently shadowed veterinarians during their barn rounds, would like to attend graduate school and become a wildlife veterinarian.

Maxwell Auerbach, 18, from Glen Rock, NJ, is a freshman attending the prestigious Robert H. Smith School of Business at The University of Maryland. While pursuing a Bachelor of Business Arts degree in Operations Management, Max has planned a curriculum in business and equine studies.  The National Honor Society student graduated with a 3.63 GPA from his hometown public high school and scored in the 96th percentile on his composite S.A.T’s.  A four-year chess club member, crossfit training enthusiast and rowing competitor, Max was also a steady part-time employee in high performance bicycle shops where he sold, assembled, customized, repaired and managed inventory.

He also found time to tutor and physically train an autistic child three hours a week during all four years of high school and was a Torah Reader for five years at Temple Israel in Ridgewood, NJ.  His uncle, Larry Auerbach, has owned, bred and trained horses in New Jersey and New York for the past 25 years.

Harness Tracks of America has made 208 grants to 141 worthy students since the scholarship fund’s inception in 1973.  A total of $778,950 has been awarded.  The scholarship program has had numerous donors over the years, with significant funding assistance coming from the Harold and David Snyder Families of International Sound Corporation, the Tioga Horsemen’s Association, Jeff Gural, Jason Settlemoir and Chris McErlean.


Contact Information:

Heather McColloch

c/o Northfield Park

330-467-4101, ext. 2204


Download the PDF Press Release here.

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Rob Pennington, a native of Marion, Ohio, has been named 2013 Groom of the Year in the annual competition sponsored by Hanover Shoe Farms and Harness Tracks of America (“HTA”). Now a resident of Allentown, New Jersey, Pennington works full time for trainer Noel Daley, caring for five horses, most owned by William B. Weaver, III’s Valley High Stable.

To read the entire press release please follow the link.

2013 Groom of the Year Press Release

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The Harness Tracks of America College Scholarship Fund is offering three, $5,000 scholarships for post-secondary education to students actively involved in the sport of harness racing or to the children of harness racing professionals (living or deceased), including licensed drivers, trainers, caretakers or management officials.

Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit, financial need and active harness racing involvement. Applications are available now by contacting Harness Tracks of America via phone at 330-467-4101 ext 204 or e-mail at taldrich@northfieldpark.com. The deadline for returning all application materials is June 20, 2014.

Applications can also be completed/downloaded from the following Web site:

The scholarship program, begun in 1973, has made 202 grants to 135 worthy students involved in harness racing since its inception with the scholarships totaling $762,950.

HTA 2014-2015 Scholarship Application>>2014-2015 Scholarship Application

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Dave Palone, the 51-year-old Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, native is Harness Tracks of America’s Driver of the Year, the formidable achievement that remains the most difficult award in the sport of harness racing to win.

Click the link to read the full press release.

2013 HTA Driver of the Year Press Release