August 28, 2014
With this post, we observe the passing of three notable men who helped cover Thoroughbred racing during the last 50 years or so. Each, in his own way, made a major contribution to the coverage and culture of the sport.
A former NTWA President, Dale Austin lived to be 81 years of age, some 24 years after he retired from the Baltimore Sun. Austin covered racing in Maryland for a time that “spanned a half-century and took him on assignments as far away as England,” wrote Yvonne Wenger of The Sun after his death on May 9. Austin was a hard-working turf journalist who became nationally known early in his career. Bill Christine wrote a tribute to Austin exclusively for the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. You may read it here.
The longtime horse racing writer for Newsday died in November at age 66 following an extended battle with lung cancer. “He was a man of the old school who loved horse racing, baseball and the cocktail hour. His writing style was a throwback, too, featuring long, complex sentences rarely seen on sports pages. When Paul Moran was at the top of his game, there was nobody better,” colleague Ed McNamara wrote soon after Moran’s death. Joe Drape sent us a story he authored after Moran’s ashes were scattered on the grave of Go For Wand at Saratoga Race Course on July 20. Please go here to read more.
He was named Victor because he was born on May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day. Zast always proudly wore his NTWA/NTWAB lapel pin to the races, and he was the ultimate fan of the Sport of Kings. He never missed a Breeders’ Cup and was in Saratoga Springs every summer for the last 49 years of his life — until this year. Zast was in Chicago when he left us at age 69, a victim of cancer. Among his many accomplishments, he co-authored “The History and Art of 25 Travers”. For our tribute, we’ve chosen one of the many stories Zast wrote as a free-lancer, this one for Blood-Horse, called Advice for Men Only. It reveals his sense of humor about our favorite sport. As fate would have it, V. E. Day won the Travers Stakes 20 days after Vic’s demise.
Compiled by Tom Pedulla and Dick Downey
July 26, 2014
By Tom Pedulla, President,
I hope this finds you well and that you are headed to Del Mar or Saratoga or some fine venue in between. I heard from a number of you regarding issues at the Kentucky Derby, and we are following up. While I think most of you will agree that it was a much better working experience than it was in trouble-filled 2013 with the addition of ethernet cables, improved cell service and the virtual elimination of food lines, there is ample room for improvement.
May 8, 2014
By Tom Pedulla, President
As many of you know, we met with Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs, Darren Rogers and John Asher last autumn to review the difficult experience we endured in 2013, our first year covering the Kentucky Derby without benefit of a press box.
I can only speak for my experience last week, but I feel significant gains were made. While the Internet remained spotty, Ethernet cables were provided to solve that. I did not have an issue with one cell call after encountering numerous lost calls the year before. The long food lines were eliminated, and the courtesy of providing lunch and dinner on Oaks and Derby Day, not to mention lunch vouchers throughout the week, were greatly appreciated. It is a wonderful convenience.
May 1, 2014
Tom Pedulla – Freelance
Mike Kane – Freelance
Loren Hebel-Osborne – Freelance
Greg Hall — Louisville Courier-Journal
Marty McGee – Daily Racing Form
Alicia Wincze-Hughes – Lexington Herald Leader
Vic Zast – Freelance
Jennie Rees – Louisville Courier-Journal
Jessie Oswald – Louisville.com
April 26, 2014
By Tom Pedulla
We will hold our annual Derby meeting Wednesday, April 30, at 12:30 p.m. at Churchill Downs in the Parlay.
Among other business will be the election of president, vice president, secretary-treasurer and three board members.
I am seeking re-election as president, Mike Kane seeks election as vice president and Loren Hebel-Osborne would like to continue to serve as secretary-treasurer. Board members Teresa Genaro and Alicia Wincze-Hughes seek re-election. Claire Novak, who replaced Ron Mitchell, will not seek election. We thank her for her service and look forward to her valued input as a member.
Anyone wishing to run for any of these positions is encouraged to do so. Please notify Loren by 5 p.m. ET on Monday, April 28. Feel free to include something about yourself and your view of the position you wish to pursue. This will be distributed to members via e-mail.
Candidates also may come forward at the meeting. Proxy votes may be submitted through members who attend the meeting.
For those who will be in town by Wednesday to cover the Derby, please do everything you can to attend. We have significant issues to discuss but promise to cover the ground swiftly.
NOTE FROM LOREN HEBEL-OSBORNE
MEMBER DUES – I will provide a current list of members and their payment status under separate email. If you have not paid, please do so at your earliest convenience. I will happily take your check before or after the meeting on Wednesday too.
TPA/NTWAB DIRECTORIES – Quantities have been shipped to Churchill Downs and are available in the press box/Parlay. After Derby, all members will be mailed a copy to the address I have on record.
CALL-IN INFORMATION – I am still trying to get assistance from Churchill to determine if we can get a telephone line/speaker phone available for members wishing to call in and participate in the meeting. If I can get this accomplished, I will send out dial in information.
March 26, 2014
The deadline for new membership applications is April 1. A letter of application is required, accompanied by two letters of recommendation from current members.
The date was advanced to ensure that the board and officers have ample time to review the qualifications of potential new members and make the best possible recommendation to the membership.
Applications should be sent to Tom Pedulla at email@example.com. Please copy Loren Hebel-Osborne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For anyone who has not paid dues, please send a check for $50, payable to National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, to Loren Hebel-Osborne at NTWAB, P.O. Box 541, Prospect, Ky. 40059.
NTWAB will be going to print soon with the hard copy 2014 Directory. Please submit contact information changes by April 1.
February 22, 2014
From Tom Pedulla, President
To those of you who are slogging through a particularly harsh winter, some warming thoughts: the Preakness credential application was e-mailed with the Derby application to be made available soon. Horses are on the Triple Crown trail in earnest and a good number of our members will be as well.
I was joined by Mike Kane, our vice president, as part of a Feb. 4 conference call with representatives of the NTRA and Daily Racing Form that was arranged by Jim Gluckson to review every element associated with the Eclipse Awards. While the awards program was widely viewed as a well-staged event, we spent a significant amount of time on the supplement that contains past performances of the most prominent horses in North America and what can be done to see that it better serves voters’ needs. More
February 6, 2014
The NTWAB annual meeting will be held Kentucky Derby week as usual, and details are forthcoming, but save Wednesday, April 30 so you can attend. It’s thought now that the meeting will take place between Noon and 1:00 p.m ET in the Parlay at Churchill Downs, which doubles as the Media Center during Derby week.
The annual awards dinner will be on Wednesday, Oct. 29, and it looks like it’ll again take place at The Derby in Arcadia, California, site of the 2013 dinner. The second annual members meeting will be earlier the same day during lunch hour, and the likely location will be either the Santa Anita press box or the auxillary press box.
January 22, 2014
After a period of dormancy, we are in the process of updating NTWAB.org. A membership roster recently posted is being reviewed and will be updated again soon. The names of our officers and directors are current. Our Awards Archive has been brought up to speed, and we’ve added to that Archive the identities of all media Eclipse Award winners since the inception of the program. Look for more content soon, and a brand new feature we’re bringing into NTWAB.org.
Dick Downey, Editor