Joe Clancy of ST Publishing and Richard Rosenblatt of The Associated Press earned top honors in the New York Racing Association, Inc.'s (NYRA) seventh annual Joe Hirsch Memorial Writing Contest, recognizing the best in print and internet coverage of the 2015 Belmont Stakes, in which American Pharoah became racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.
Clancy won for his follow-up piece entitled “Savoring the moment at Triple Crown,” which captured in exquisite detail the joyous and often-emotional celebrations that swept through the Belmont Park immediately following American Pharoah's historic victory.
“Over the small divider to the reserved seats, people reveled in the moment. They were old, young, tall, short; some wore fascinators and seersucker; others sported flip-flops and cut-off shorts. But they were there, a melting pot of history witnesses clutching $2 tickets they'd never cash.”
Rosenblatt won for his profile of American Pharoah's colorful owner, Ahmed Zayat, which chronicled his rise to the pinnacle of horse racing along with his passion for the sport and his homebred Triple Crown winner.
“From buildings to beer to breeding, when Zayat becomes involved in business, he's going for the gusto. No glass half empty for him. He's all in, all the time, consumed with being the best. Up next? A chance at racing history …”
The winners will receive their awards on June 8 at Rockefeller Center during the official draw for the 148th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, the centerpiece of the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.
The awards are named in honor of Joe Hirsch, the longtime executive sports columnist for Daily Racing Form (DRF) who died Jan. 9, 2009. Previous winners include Dave Grening of DRF and Bob Fortus of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans in 2010, Ed Fountaine of the New York Post and DRF's Jay Privman in 2011, Ed McNamara of Newsday and Todd Simmons of the Staten Island Advance in 2012; Mike MacAdam of The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y., and Claire Novak, writing for ESPN.com in 2013; Bob Ehalt of ESPN.com and Nicole Russo of DRF in 2014 and Tom Law of ST Publishing and Alicia Wincze-Hughes of the Lexington Herald-Leader in 2015.
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