NTWAB Announces 2019 Awards Nominations

Posted July 27, 2019

National Turf Writers and Broadcasters is pleased to announce the finalists for its 60th Annual Awards to be presented at the NTWAB Annual Awards Dinner at Santa Anita on Oct. 30.

NTWAB members were asked to submit nominations for each of four major awards, and the finalists were chosen after review by the Board of Directors and officers of NTWAB of the credentials of many accomplished writers and broadcasters.

The awards are now under submission for a vote by all regular and associate NTWAB members. Votes are due by Aug. 9, 2019. The winners will be announced following the deadline.

Breeders' Cup Marquee at Santa Anita Park will be the venue for the Awards Dinner, tentatively set to start at 6:00 p.m. PT.

Finalists are listed in alphabetical order.


JIM MCKAY AWARD for broadcasting excellence, either career or in one season

Caton Bredar - The granddaughter of Hall of Fame jockey Ted Atkinson and award-winning journalist has more than 30 years experience in print, radio and television. She started in publicity at Arlington Park and was part of the original team to launch TVG. She’s worked behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, ESPN, CBS, FOX, HRTV and various local and cable outlets. Bredar has covered racing extensively throughout the U.S. as well as Barbados, Panama, France and Dubai, and she’s anchored programs from WAVE 3 in Louisville during the NBC affiliate’s coverage of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.

Steve Byk - As host of his “At the Races with Steve Byk” show on SiriusXM, Byk's five-day-a-week news magazine has become a must-listen for many industry participants and fans. Having initially served as a sportscaster at Colgate, Byk began writing about racing in 2002, eventually developing DerbyTrail.com, which elicited a strong following. After joining ‘At the Races and Beyond’ on Sirius Satellite Radio in 2005, Byk took over the show in 2007 and has stamped himself an ardent supporter of horsemen and horse players.

Chris Lincoln - The award-winning television journalist got his start as a sportswriter in Missouri. He transitioned to a television career that lasted nearly four decades and in 1981 helped launch Winner Communications, which became the largest independently owned sports production company in the U.S. Lincoln became one of the most recognized faces in racing during his time at Winner, hosting and producing programs such as Racehorse Digest and Racing Across America for ESPN. The list of honors Lincoln earned or was associated with include the Eclipse Award, Charles W. Engelhard Award, John A. Morris Award, Emmy Award and Sprint Awards.


JOE PALMER AWARD for meritorious service to racing

John Harris - A graduate of the University of California at Davis, Harris has been an owner and breeder of Thoroughbreds in California for more than 50 years, including a lengthy stint at the helm of Harris Farms located about halfway between the Bay Area and Los Angeles. A member of The Jockey Club since 1988 and a steward from 1990 to 1994, Harris also served on The Jockey Club board. He was a five-time president of the California Thoroughbred Breeders, chairman of the California Horse Racing Board and a member of the Breeders’ Cup Ltd. board of directors.

Retired Racehorse Project/Thoroughbred Makeover - The Retired Racehorse Project was founded by Steuart Pittman in 2010 as a way to facilitate and promote retired racehorses in second careers in the recreational and sport world. Through a series of educational presentations and challenges—the Trainer Challenge in 2011, the 100-Day Thoroughbred Challenge in 2012, the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico in 2013, and, in recent years, the Thoroughbred Makeover Challenge at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington—the RRP, along with trainers, farms and horsemen has not only established a need to market these horses for new careers, but a platform.

Rick Violette - Longtime head of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and advocate for horsemen throughout the country, Violette left a lasting legacy when he passed away last fall at age of 65. An accomplished show rider before taking out his Thoroughbred training license in the late 1970s, Violette trained Grade 1 winners Diversify, Dream Rush and Man From Wicklow along with standouts Citadeed, Free Of Love, March Magic, Read The Footnotes, Samraat and Upstart during his career. He earned the greatest respect from his peers, racing executives and the general public as an advocate for horsemen, backstretch workers and retired racehorses. He served on the board of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and helped found NYTHA’s TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program and TAKE THE LEAD Thoroughbred Retirement Program.


WALTER HAIGHT AWARD for career excellence in turf writing

Don C. Clippinger - Don Clippinger’s long and respected career as a racing writer and editor started in the late 1970s after more than 10 years as a journalist at some of Pennsylvania’s largest newspapers. Clippinger earned an Eclipse Award for magazine writing for Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred in 1996 and the David F. Woods Memorial Award for best Preakness story in 1988 for The Thoroughbred Record. He later served as editorial director of Thoroughbred Times and continues to cover American steeplechase racing.

Lenny Shulman - Lenny Shulman has been the features editor at BloodHorse magazine for 20 years while also writing many of the magazine’s most entertaining and informative features. He went behind the scenes to chronicle the accomplishments of racing’s latest star in “Justify: 111 Days to Triple Crown Glory,” published by Triumph Books. He also wrote “Ride of Their Lives,” a look at the troubled lives of some jockeys, and two novels, “Long Way From Home” and “Points.” Shulman began his career as a sports reporter at the Oneida (New York) Daily Dispatch after graduating from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications.

Tim Wilkin - Tim Wilkin has been the longtime racing voice of the Albany Times-Union, juggling his in-depth coverage – particularly of the Saratoga meeting – along with his college basketball duties. Wilkin can dig into intricate industry issues with the same aptitude he brings to emotional features. That ability has been recognized in the form of multiple honors from the Associated Press Sports Editors annual writing contest, with Wilkin earning top honors for beat writing in the 30,000-75,000 circulation category in 2014 and 2015.


MR. FITZ AWARD for typifying the spirit of racing

Mark Casse - A member of the Canadian Hall of Fame and 11-time winner of the Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding trainer, Casse added to his international reputation winning two-thirds of the U.S. Triple Crown in 2019. Casse saddled War Of Will to victory in the Preakness Stakes and three weeks later won the Belmont Stakes with Sir Winston. He grew up in a racing family, the son of longtime OBS Chairman Norman Casse. He also trained champion and Royal Ascot winner Tepin, five Canadian Horse of the Year winners and earned 14 training titles at Woodbine.

B. Wayne Hughes - B. Wayne Hughes, owner of Spendthrift Farm, brought the storied operation back to prominence in recent years with his commitment to its racing and breeding program. He campaigned four-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder, whom he kept in training through her 6-year-old campaign, and she became the first horse in North American history to win Grade 1 races at ages 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Hughes’s sportsmanship has yielded such moments as Beholder’s win against males in the 2015 Pacific Classic and her career-capping, memorable triumph over then-unbeaten champion Songbird in the 2016 Breeders' Cup Distaff.

D. Wayne Lukas - One of racing’s most recognized names and faces, Lukas dominated the sport in the 1980s and 1990s and continues to maintain a successful racing stable at the age of 83. A five-time Eclipse Award winner as outstanding trainer and winner of the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2013, Lukas is often a go-to source for journalists seeking his opinion on current racing topics. He’s won 14 Triple Crown races, 20 Breeders’ Cup races, more than 4,800 wins and purses in excess of $281.2 million. Lukas also helped launch the careers of successful trainers Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin, Dallas Stewart, Mark Hennig, George Weaver, Mike Maker, Randy Bradshaw and Bobby Barnett.