The award is presented annually to a person or group of people who enhances coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with the media and Thoroughbred racing publicists, according to a release from the organization. This is the second time Nafzger has been selected to receive the award, having previously been honored with the Big Sport of Turfdom award for his media cooperation in 1990 with Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Unbridled. Nafzger joins Laffit Pincay Jr. as the only two-time recipients of the award.
“This wasn’t the first time that Carl Nafzger was thrust into the national spotlight, but he was just as gracious and generous with his time as he was when he won this award 17 years ago, and the turf publicists are proud to bestow this honor upon him once again,” said TPA president Eric Wing. “Carl always does whatever it takes to promote the sport, even taking part in an hour-long teleconference from a rural, roadside telephone booth, as he did one afternoon this past summer when his cell phone wouldn’t work.”
“This is tremendous honor,” Nafzger said in the TPA release. “I never expected to get this award twice. I don’t know what to say. I always do my best to cooperate with the media requests. I think we had a good time. I know I did.”
Nafzger will receive the award at the 42nd annual Big Sport of Turfdom luncheon, sponsored by Scientific Games, Inc., and the Keeneland Association, in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 21, just prior to the Eclipse Awards.
In October 2007, Nafzger was inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The following month, he was honored by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners with the Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award.
The TPA is an organization consisting of approximately 200 publicity and marketing personnel from racetracks and racing organizations around the country and the Big Sport of Turfdom award has been presented every year since 1966.
Previous winners of the Big Sport of Turfdom include longtime Daily Racing Form columnist Joe Hirsch, Penny Chenery, Jack Klugman, Jim McKay, Tim Conway, Chris McCarron, Laura Hillenbrand, Sackatoga Stable, John Servis, Pat Day and, last year, Dr. Dean Richardson.