Stewards play an important role at the racetrack, often called the referee of horse racing and overseeing the sport. Each year, the top stewards are honored with the national Pete Pedersen Award.
Mike Corey, chief state steward for the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission (OHRC) and longtime chief steward at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, received the prestigious honor in 2016 for his contributions to thoroughbred and quarter horse racing. For 25 years, Corey has served as chief state steward at Oklahoma tracks, including Remington Park, Fair Meadows in Tulsa and Will Rogers Downs in Claremore.
He began his career as a tattoo technician and has spent time as an identifier, placing judge, paddock judge and assistant racing secretary.
“I’ve been in horse racing all my life, almost 40 years,” Corey says. “In my profession, as a steward, you don’t often get openly complimented or praised. So when you do get this sort of recognition, it feels really good.”
His colleagues know him as a man who is strongly guided by a sense of fairness and is passionate about the industry.
“His knowledge of horse racing nationally and in Oklahoma, as well as the history of the racing rules, is outstanding,” says Kelly Cathey, OHRC executive director, who previously worked with Corey as a steward.
Corey is the first steward in Oklahoma to receive the Pete Pedersen Award. According to Cathey, he is the longest-serving steward in Oklahoma history.
The Racing Officials Accreditation Program presented the annual honor. Corey was among five recipients from across the nation.