(Edited press release)
Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and his connections have swept the top awards for 2008 as voted by the members of the New York Turf Writers Association. Curlin won the Secretariat Award as New York’s Horse of the Year for the second year in a row, while his owner, Jess Jackson of Stonestreet Stables, was voted the Joe Hirsch Award as the person who did the most for racing. Curlin’s trainer, Steve Asmussen, was honored with the C.V. Whitney Achievement Award.
Curlin, who won the 2007 Secretariat Award after winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), had another banner year, repeating in the Gold Cup and also winning the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. He retired after finishing fourth in the 2008 Classic with a record $10.5 million in earnings.
Jackson is being recognized for keeping Curlin in training despite lucrative offers to retire him to stud, as well as his high-profile efforts to promote integrity throughout Thoroughbred racing. Jackson’s award, formerly known as the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Award, was renamed for Joe Hirsch, the turf writing legend and former president of the NYTWA who died Jan. 9.
Asmussen is being recognized not only for training the Horse of the Year, but for amassing an astounding 622 victories in North America in 2008, a record that surpassed his own mark of 555 victories in 2004.
Other winners who will be honored at the 86th annual NYTWA Awards Dinner Aug. 24 at the Saratoga National Golf Club include Alan Garcia, winner of the Fourstadave Award for achievement at Saratoga and the Eddie Arcaro Award as outstanding jockey; Commentator, winner of the Big Apple Award for New York-bred achievement; Charles Hayward and Larry Jones, co-winners of the Red Smith Good Guy Award; Kiaran McLaughlin, winner of the Woody Stephens Award as outstanding trainer; IEAH Stables, winner of the Paul Mellon Award as outstanding owner; and Adena Springs Farm, winner of the Ogden Phipps Award as outstanding breeder.