Esteemed turf writers Jay Hovdey and the late Whitney Tower have been chosen as the National Museum of Racing's Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor recipients for 2012. The Roll of Honor was initiated by the Museum in 2010 in memory of Hirsch, a distinguished turf writer who died the previous year.
Hovdey, executive columnist for Daily Racing Form, is a four-time Eclipse Award winner for writing whose work has also appeared in Reader's Digest, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and such Thoroughbred racing publications as The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times, The Racing Times, The Horseman's Journal, Spur magazine, Pacemaker International, and Keiba Book of Japan.
Hovdey is the author of three books on horse racing, including "Whittingham: A Thoroughbred Racing Legend" and "Cigar: America's Horse." In addition, Hovdey is a two-time winner of the David F. Woods Award for coverage of the Preakness Stakes, winner of Canada's Sovereign Award for feature writing, and winner of the Charles Engelhard Award for Turf Writing. He was honored by his peers in 1995 with the Walter Haight Award for career excellence in racing journalism.
Tower spent 22 years as the turf editor of Sports Illustrated and five years in the same capacity for Classic magazine, as well as eight years as the president of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. He also served as chairman at the Museum for 10 years.
A 1945 graduate of Harvard, Tower was the great-great-grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, a railroad tycoon who played a key role in the early years of racing at Saratoga around the time of the Civil War. After serving in World War II, Tower took a job with The Cincinnati Enquirer in 1948. He went to work for Sports Illustrated six years later. Tower won the Thoroughbred Racing Associations award for magazine writing in 1976 and 1977. He was also the author of the books "The Art of Race Riding," with Eddie Arcaro, and "Saratoga, The Place and the People." Tower died in 1999 at the age of 75.
Hovdey and Tower join Steven Crist (2010), Bill Nack (2010) Red Smith (2010), Charles Hatton (2010), Russ Harris (2011), and Joe Palmer (2011) on the Museum's Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor.