Recently retired jockey Patti Cooksey, California training legend Noble Threewitt, and Steve Haskin of The Blood-Horse were honored Wednesday night in Dallas at the annual National Turf Writers Association awards dinner.
Cooksey, the second all-time winning female rider, was presented the Mr. Fitz Award for typifying the spirit of racing. She was introduced by jockey Edgar Prado, a close friend, who called her "an inspiration both on and off the track." Prado mentioned Cooksey's battle with cancer and determination to come back from a spill to ride again before retiring this summer.
Threewitt was introduced by Daily Racing Form columnist Jay Hovdey, who noted not only the trainer's seven decades of sending out winners in California, but that a backside health clinic at Santa Anita is named in his honor. At age 92, Threewitt said he has no intention of retiring. He received the Joe Palmer Award for meritorious service to racing
Haskin was presented the Walter Haight Award for lifetime achievement in turf racing by trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who after poking fun at Haskin through several jokes, turned serious in thanking the writer for his dedication to racing. "Steve is always the first one on the backside and he can call anyone and they will return his call," Lukas said.
The Breeders' Cup writing awards were presented by Breeders' Cup president and National Thoroughbred Racing Association commissioner D.G. Van Clief Jr. The Joe Hirsch award for newspaper writing went to Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form. Michele MacDonald of Thoroughbred Times won the Bill Leggett award for magazine writing.