by NYRA Press Office
Tom Law of ST Publishing and Bob Ehalt of Thoroughbred Racing Commentary earned top honors in the New York Racing Association, Inc.'s (NYRA) ninth annual Joe Hirsch Memorial Writing Contest, recognizing the best in print and internet coverage of the 2017 Belmont Stakes, won by Tapwrit.
Law won for his follow-up piece entitled "Perfect Script," which examined Tapwrit's journey from a promising $1.2 million yearling purchase to a Grade 1 winner with his two-length victory over Irish War Cry in the "Test of the Champion."
Ehalt won for his examination of the international circumstances surrounding the 149th Belmont Stakes, brought by Japanese stakes winner Epicharis, whose entry - despite his race-day scratch - made the Belmont the first U.S. Triple Crown race available for simulcasting wagering in Japan.
This is the second Joe Hirsch Award for Law, having also won in 2015, and the third overall for ST Publishing. Ehalt won previously in 2014, writing for ESPN.com.
The award presentation will be held Tuesday, June 5 at Citi Field, prior to the post position draw for the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 9.
The awards are named in honor of Joe Hirsch, the longtime executive sports columnist for Daily Racing Form (DRF) who died January 9, 2009.
Other 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; Nicole Russo of DRF in 2014; Alicia Wincze-Hughes of the Lexington Herald-Leader in 2015; Joe Clancy of ST Publishing and Richard Rosenblatt of The Associated Press in 2016; and Privman and McNamara in 2017.
About the New York Racing Association
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) holds the exclusive franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State's thoroughbred industry, which is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual economic impact to New York State.
Over the course of 225 days of live racing in 2017, NYRA generated $2.2 billion in all-sources wagering handle with paid attendance exceeding 1.7 million. While staging just over 5 percent of all races run in the United States in 2017, wagering on NYRA's races again accounted for more than 20 percent of all monies bet on thoroughbred racing in the United States.