Jones, Robbins, and Farley to be Honored

Jones, Robbins, and Farley to be Honored
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Larry Jones

Prominent trainer Larry Jones, Oak Tree Racing Association founding director and longtime practicing veterinarian Dr. Jack Robbins, and veteran international journalist Dan Farley will be honored Nov. 4 with awards presented by the National Turf Writers Association.

Jones, who saddled runners-ups in the Kentucky Derby in 2007 and 2008 and will retire from training later this year, will receive the Mr. Fitz Award during the 50th annual NTWA Awards Dinner. The Mr. Fitz Award is presented annually to an individual or group for typifying the spirit of horse racing and is named for the late Hall of Fame trainer Jim "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons.

A trainer for nearly three decades primarily based at Ellis Park before relocating his main operation to Delaware Park, Jones earned national attention in 2007 when he sent out Hard Spun to runner-up efforts in the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic. Jones won the 2008 Kentucky Oaks with eventual champion Proud Spell and was thrust into the national spotlight the next day when the filly Eight Belles suffered a fatal breakdown following her runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby. Widely credited by the industry for how he handled the situation, Jones returned to the Derby again in 2009 with Louisiana Derby winner and morning-line favorite Friesan Fire.

Past winners of the Mr. Fitz Award include 2008 recipient Luke Kruytbosch, Calvin Borel, Racing Hall of Fame trainers Nick Zito, H. Allen Jerkens, and Bob Baffert, and Team Barbaro.

Robbins, a president of Oak Tree and past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, will receive the Joe Palmer Award. Named for the former New York Herald Tribune turf writer, the Palmer Award is presented annually for meritorious service to racing. A practicing veterinarian at California racetracks since 1945 and patriarch of a successful racing family, Robbins is a member of The Jockey Club and director emeritus of the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation and the University of California Center for Equine Health. Robbins and his wife Maggie have been involved in various ownership partnerships and campaigned such top runners as Nostalgia’s Star, Most Host, Guilton Madero, and Honeys Gem.

Past winners of the Palmer Award are 2008 winner Chris McCarron, fellow veterinarians Dr. Larry Bramlage and Dr. Dean Richardson, and Laffit Pincay Jr., John Gaines, and James E. "Ted" Bassett III.

Farley, president of the NTWA from 1982 to 1986, will receive the Walter Haight Award named for the former Washington Post turf writer and columnist and presented annually for excellence in Turf writing. Farley has served as American correspondent for Racing Post since its inception in 1986. Also a past president of American Horse Publications, Farley started in the editorial department at The Blood-Horse in 1971 and later assisted the late William H. P. Robertson in 1974 in compiling a book on the first 100 years of The Thoroughbred Record titled "Hoofprints of a Century." He worked as staff writer, managing editor, and editor at the Record until 1982, covered American racing for Pacemaker International from ’82-’85, and later worked for the International Racing Bureau.

Past winners of the Haight Award include 2008 recipient Maryjean Wall, Steve Crist, Steve Haskin, Billy Reed, and William Leggett, and Kent Hollingsworth.

The NTWA Awards Dinner will be held at the Altadena Town and Country Club, near Pasadena, Calif.

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