May 25, 2017

McNamara, Privman earn top honors in Joe Hirsch Memorial writing contest

by Heather Pettinger

Jay Privman of The Daily Racing Form and Ed McNamara of Newsday earned top honors in the New York Racing Association, Inc.'s (NYRA) eighth annual Joe Hirsch Memorial Writing Contest, recognizing the best in print and internet coverage of the 2016 Belmont Stakes, won by Creator.

Privman won for his race recap entitled "Creator beats Destin by a nose in Belmont Stakes," which chronicled Steve Asmussen's dramatic resurgence to the top of the racing world in 2016, capped by his first Belmont Stakes win with Creator's thrilling victory over Destin in the "Test of the Champion" and his then-upcoming Hall of Fame induction.

McNamara won for his advance/feature piece, “Addressing Gettysburg and Belmont Stakes conspiracy theories,” which examined the case of Gettysburg, his strategic transfer to Asmussen from Todd Pletcher, and his role in the Belmont as the expected pacesetter for fellow WinStar-owned Creator and the favored Exaggerator, on whom WinStar had secured breeding rights.

The winners will receive their awards on Wednesday, June 7 at Rockefeller Center during the official draw for the 149th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, the centerpiece of the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

Privman and McNamara are the first two repeat winners of the Joe Hirsch Contest, inaugurated in 2010 in honor of the longtime executive sports columnist for Daily Racing Form (DRF) who died January 9, 2009.

Privman previously won for best feature/advance in 2011, while McNamara took top honors in the follow/wrap-up category in 2012.

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 in 2011; 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; Tom Law of ST Publishing and Alicia Wincze-Hughes of the Lexington Herald-Leader in 2015; and Joe Clancy of ST Publishing and Richard Rosenblatt of The Associated Press in 2016.

About The New York Racing Association

The New York Racing Association was founded in 1955 and is franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York's three major tracks (Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course) through 2033. With a lineage of nearly 150 years, NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State's thoroughbred industry, which contributes more than $2 billion annually to its urban, suburban and rural economy. NYRA.com is the official website of the New York Racing Association. Follow us on your favorite social media platform, including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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