First time winners Eric Crawdford of the Louisville Courier-Journal and John Cheinman of the Washington Post joined repeat winners Steve Haskin and William Nack (both writing for The Blood-Horse Magazine) as the winners of Churchill Downs’ 2007 Red Smith Kentucky Derby Writing Contest, the Louisville racetrack announced Oct. 18. The contest annually recognizes the best in print media coverage of America’s “Run for the Roses.”
Crawford earned his first Red Smith Award in the “Sunday Wrap-Up” category, while Scheinman was honored for his “Derby Advance” story. Haskin was honored with his sixth Red Smith Award for his “Monday Wrap-Up,” a record in that category. Nack earned his third Red Smith Award, receiving top honors for his “Derby Feature.”
The awards are named in honor of Walter W. “Red” Smith, the Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter and columnist who was best known for his work with the New York Herald Tribune and New York Times. Smith died in 1982, and Churchill Downs established the Red Smith Writing Contest the following year.
Crawford, a sports columnist for the Courier-Journal, earned his “Sunday Wrap-Up” Red Smith Award for “Bo-rail Actually Took The Long Route,” a profile of veteran jockey Calvin Borel, who scored a long-awaited first victory in this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) aboard Street Sense.
Scheinman earned his first Red Smith “Derby Advance” Award for “Calm Before the Storm: As Rain Falls at Churchill Downs, Street Sense Team Is Relaxed.” His advance focused on veteran trainer Carl Nafzger and his relaxed approach to what would be his second Derby victory with Street Sense.
Haskin’s win in the “Monday Wrap-Up” – his third victory in that competition in the last four years – came for “No Nonsense: This was a Derby in which emotion prevailed over all else.” His previous wins in that category came in 1999, 2000, 2004, and 2005 and, like his 2007 honor, were for stories published in The Blood-Horse. Haskin also earned a Red Smith Award for his “Derby Advance” in 1996.
Nack won his honor for “Derby Feature” – and his third Red Smith Award overall – for “One Score More,” a profile of four-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. His previous Red Smith Awards had come in the “Monday Wrap-Up” category in 1995 and 1998.
Each of the winners will receive an engraved crystal vase, to be presented during the 48th annual National Turf Writers Association Awards Dinner on Oct. 24. The dinner will take place on a chartered yacht cruise that leaves from Atlantic Highlands, N.J., and will sail around the Statue of Liberty and past the Manhattan skyline.