NTWAB Names Annual Awards Recipients

Posted Aug. 27, 2017

Randy Moss, Rick Porter, Matt Hegarty and the Winners Foundation will be honored by the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters at the association's 58th annual Awards Dinner on Nov. 2 at the Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar in Del Mar, California.

Moss, an NTWAB member and one of sports' most recognizable analysts through his work with ESPN and NBC, will be feted with the fifth annual Jim McKay Award for broadcasting excellence. Moss became ESPN’s primary horse racing analyst in 1999. In 2011, he joined NBC Sports to work the Triple Crown. In addition to his horse racing analyst duties, Moss has been assigned as a reporter or host for a wide variety of NBC Sports broadcasts, including college football, college basketball, golf, and two Olympic Games.

Prior to his television career, Moss was a newspaper reporter, horse racing handicapper and columnist for 20 years at the Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Arkansas Democrat and Arkansas Gazette. Moss has covered all but two runnings of the Kentucky Derby since 1980, either in print or on television.

Rick Porter, best known for campaigning such Thoroughbred standouts as 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, two-time Eclipse winner Songbird, Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Round Pond, Grade 1 winner Hard Spun and Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles under his Fox Hill Farm banner, will be honored with the Mr. Fitz Award for typifying the spirit of racing.

Through all the ups and downs -- even in the aftermath of Eight Belles' fatal breakdown after the Derby -- Porter's passion and enthusiasm for the sport have been on display for years, no more so than during the career of Songbird. The native of Wilmington, Delaware remained a presence despite his battle with cancer, which was recently declared in remission. Porter has repeatedly cited Songbird's success as a key salve to his emotional well being and was again by his filly's side when she won the Delaware Handicap on July 15, giving her owner his first win in his state's biggest race.

Matt Hegarty, who has been with Daily Racing Form since 1997, will receive the Walter Haight Award for career turf writing excellence. Hegarty's specialty is watchdog journalism that reminds the industry and sport that someone is paying attention. He deciphers and translates details that can make most people’s eyes glaze over into highly readable, often entertaining and always understandable stories that provide context to the complex and emotional.

Hegarty serves as DRF's primary reporter on business, regulatory, medication and political issues and previously served as news editor for the now-defunct weekly Thoroughbred Times. In 2014, he was selected for the American Horse Publications’ Award for Outstanding Reporting.

The Winners Foundation will be presented with the Joe Palmer Award for long and meritorious service to racing. Founded in 1984, the Winners Foundation is a non-profit organization established to provide information, support and referral sources to employees and family members of the California horse racing community adversely affected by substance abuse, compulsive gambling and mental health issues.

The Winners Foundation provides assistance at no charge to any employee or family member of the California Thoroughbred horse racing community, including backstretch workers as well as all employees of Del Mar, Fairplex, Golden Gate Fields, Hollywood Park, Oak Tree, Santa Anita and the California Association of Racing Fairs. Among the many resources Winners Foundation provides is a large referral base and relationships with a myriad of mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities both in- and out-patient, city and county services, sober living environments and mental health practitioners.

The NTWAB Awards Dinner, which is traditionally held during Breeders' Cup week, will also feature an online auction offering autographed racing industry collectibles, memorabilia and halters worn by prominent stallion and race winners. The Awards Dinner is the NTWAB’s only fundraiser, and a portion of the proceeds from the event are used toward scholarships for prospective Thoroughbred racing journalists and to support Thoroughbred industry charities.

Tickets for the event are $80 for NTWAB members, $100 for industry corporations, and $120 for non-members and guests. Invitations will be mailed to members, and non-members can request an invitation by contacting Loren Hebel-Osborne at lorenpr@aol.com.

Edited release