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MacAdam, Novak Win Joe Hirsch Memorial Writing Awards

By Eric Wing | 06/03/2013 04:39 PM ET

Mike MacAdam of The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y., and Claire Novak, writing for ESPN.com, earned top honors in The New York Racing Association, Inc.’s (NYRA) fourth annual Joe Hirsch Memorial Writing Contest, recognizing the best in print and internet coverage of the 2012 Belmont Stakes, won by Union Rags.

MacAdam won in the follow/wrap-up division for his story that appeared in the Sunday, June 10 edition of the Gazette and ran under the headline “Union Rags finds riches on the rail.” The story recounted the brilliant handling of Union Rags by John Velazquez, who was weeks away from being inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame, as he stunned Paynter and Mike Smith at the wire in the Belmont.

Novak won top honors in the feature/advance division for her story that appeared on June 8 on ESPN.com entitled “Unforgettable Day at Belmont Park.” The article chronicled the events of June 8, when Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another was scratched from the Belmont, becoming the first horse in 78 years to win the Derby and Preakness and miss the third jewel of the series.

Each of the winners will receive an engraved Tiffany crystal bowl, to be presented June 5 at Belmont Park during the official draw breakfast for the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes.

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, and Ed McNamara of Newsday and Todd Simmons of the Staten Island Advance in 2012.