Dave Briggs, writing for the Guelph Mercury newspaper, and M. Kelly Young, writing for Hoof Beats magazine, were named the winners in the 52nd annual John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing journalism, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Monday.
Meadowlands Racetrack photographer Michael Lisa and Dave Witten of The Horseman And Fair World magazine were the winners in the 14th annual George Smallsreed Awards for excellence in harness racing photography.
Woodbine Entertainment won the 30th edition of the John Hervey Award for excellence in broadcasting for a feature on Sydney Weaver, a 13-year-old with cerebral palsy who is a licensed groom, horse owner, award-winning writer and public speaker.
Briggs won the news/commentary category for his story titled "Horse barns at Mohawk ‘silent as a grave,'” which examined the shutting of the backstretch stables at Mohawk, and appeared in the Jan. 9, 2013 edition of the Guelph Mercury newspaper. Briggs has been awarded a record six Hervey honors.
Melissa Keith received honorable mention in the news/commentary division for her story, "What Women Want; Can Racing Attract the Female Horseplayer?” It appeared in the April issue of Trot magazine.
In the feature category, Young won for her story, "Win One for Ryan; Pacer races for stricken youngster,” which appeared in the November issue of Hoof Beats. The story recounted the chance meeting between Marc Reynolds and Marie Hunt and Reynolds naming a horse, River Run For Ryan, in honor of Hunt's son, who has a rare genetic disease called Hunter Syndrome.
Susan Higgins and Lauren Lee received honorable mention in the feature category.
Higgins was recognized for her story, "‘Make Sure Things Go Right;' Maine Cast fulfills a dying wish with sire stakes championship,” which appeared on the U.S. Trotting Association website on Nov. 21 and in the December issue of Hoof Beats. Lee was recognized for her story, "The Cornerstones,” about Meadowlands media duo Bob Heyden and Sam McKee entering the Communicators Corner of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, which appeared in June 20 issue of The Canadian Sportsman.
The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of award-winning longtime horseracing writer Neil Milbert, Daily Racing Form programming manager Lou Monaco and Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn.
In the photography categories, Lisa won in the race feature division for a photograph of driver David Miller heading onto the track on a snowy night at the Meadowlands. The photo appeared in the March 13 issue of The Horseman And Fair World as well as the March 14 issue of The Canadian Sportsman.
Witten won in the race action category for a photograph of the first turn of the Hambletonian. The photo appeared in the Aug. 15 issue of The Horseman And Fair World.
Claus Andersen and Mark Hall received honorable mention in the race action category; Andersen for a photo of Bee A Magician winning the Hambletonian Oaks that appeared on the Oct. 17 cover of The Canadian Sportsman and Hall for a photo of Pet Rock winning the Winbak Pace that appeared on the USTA website on Sept. 19.
Dave Landry and Barbara Livingston received honorable mention in the race feature category; Landry for a photo of John Campbell driving with his great nephew Tyler McLinchey that appeared on the Sept. 12 cover of The Canadian Sportsman and Livingston for a photo of retired star Staying Together and Kentucky Horse Park equine operations director Wes Lanter that appeared on the USTA website on Oct. 1.
The photography categories were judged by Bill Denver, the track photographer at Monmouth Park and Parx Racing as well as a regular contributor to the New York Daily News and Wall Street Journal, and Phil McAuliffe, a longtime newspaper and magazine photographer who worked as a harness racing groom while a teenager.
In the broadcast category, Woodbine's feature on Sydney Weaver was written, voiced and produced by Paul Salvalaggio. It originally aired on June 26 as part of the one-hour North America Cup presentation on The Score television network.
To watch the video, click here.
The broadcast category was judged by multiple Emmy Award-winning producer Bruce Casella, who has covered Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing throughout his career.
Hervey Award winners will be honored as part of the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet Feb. 23 at Dover Downs. For more information about the banquet, visit http://www.ushwa.org/. (HRC)