Press Release by Tim Bojarski, president, Upstate New York USHWA
The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has named Jami Chatt their 2021 Unsung Hero award recipient at Batavia Downs.
Jami Chatt has been around horses since she could walk and was introduced to the sport of harness racing by her grandfather Fred Haslip, who has been a driving and training legend in western New York since the 1960’s. And although she has groomed, jogged and trained horses all her life and currently owns the pacer Mateo, she also works daily in her full time career as a special education teacher in the Sweet Home (NY) school district.
Despite all her personal commitments Chatt still finds time to go above and beyond for anything that puts harness racing in a positive light and has been doing so for years, especially when it comes to charitable concerns.
In 2013 when driver Anthony Coletta went down in a wreck at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Chatt spearheaded the “Stay Strong Anthony Coletta” fund which included wrist-band sales, a silent auction, purse donations from drivers, trainers and owners, along with cash given by attending fans and Batavia Downs staff and raised $12,835, which all went to Coletta and his family to help him recover from his injuries.
The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester started to hold one of their annual fundraisers at Batavia Downs in 2010 and over time, it grew into a major event. Several years ago Chatt got involved and really took control of the fund-raising on the horsemen’s side. Now she relentlessly solicits trainers, drivers and owners both at the track and then later, at other tracks, to donate a percentage of their purse from the night of the event to the BCCR. Since Chatt has gotten involved the final donation number has grown exponentially and this year the final total was a record $19,653.
Chatt also works hard to introduce new fans to the sport. Each year she brings families and friends who are not associated with racing to the track and even holds a “field trip” for her fellow teachers, and then spends her night schooling them on the finer points of handicapping.
In appreciation for her selfless work, UNY-USHWA will present Jami Chatt with her Unsung Hero Award in the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 11) during UNY-USHWA’s Night of Distinction. Saturday is the final night of the meet and post time is at 5 p.m.