Haskin Earns Red Smith Writing Award

Three repeat winners, including The Blood-Horse senior correspondent Steve Haskin, and one newcomer collected divisional honors in Churchill Downs' 22nd annual 2004 Red Smith Kentucky Derby Writing Contest, a competition that honors the finest print media coverage of this year's famed "Run for the Roses."

Haskin earned his third Red Smith Award for Monday Wrap-Up in six years - and fourth overall - for a Blood-Horse story entitled "Can't Keep Up With This Jones." The article detailed the multi-layered development of the enthralling Smarty Jones saga from the murder of Bob Camac, the original trainer for owner-breeders Roy and Pat Chapman; the colt's near-tragic schooling gate mishap as a 2-year-old; to his unbeaten run to Derby glory with trainer John Servis and jockey Stewart Elliott.

Haskin, who earned his first Red Smith in the Advance division as a reporter for Daily Racing Form in 1996, tied the record for wins in the Monday Wrap-Up division. Stan Hochman and Dick Jerardi, both of the Philadelphia Daily News, each won that honor three times.

The 2004 Red Smith Awards will be presented at the annual National Turf Writers Association Awards Dinner, which is scheduled for Oct. 27 at at the Belo Mansion in Dallas. Haskin will also receive the Walter Haight Award for lifetime achievement, as voted by members of the National Turf Writers Association.

Joining Haskin in receiving awards are first-time winner C. Ray Hall of The (Louisville) Courier-Journal and repeat winners that included Hall's Courier-Journal colleague Pat Forde, who was honored for his Sunday Wrap-up and Rich Rosenblatt of the Associated Press in the Advance division.

The winners will receive an engraved sterling silver mint julep cup similar to the cup used by the governor of Kentucky to toast the winner of each year's Kentucky Derby winner at the Churchill Downs President's Reception that follows the race.

Hall captured his first Red Smith Award with a Feature article entitled "Smarty Jones Story Full Of Twists." The story examined the many layers of story lines in the fascinating tale of Smarty Jones, the 3-year-old Thoroughbred that became just the fifth unbeaten winner of the Kentucky Derby and one of the most popular American Thoroughbreds in recent history in a tale worthy of a Hollywood film script.

Rosenblatt earned his Red Smith award in the Advance division for his story "Wide Open. Probably Wet. Definitely Wild." His article scrutinized the twists of fate that cast some horses as contenders for the 130th Kentucky Derby and kept others from competing in the coveted race. Rosenblatt, who won his first Red Smith in 2003 in the Sunday Wrap-Up category, is only the second Associated Press writer to be honored with a Red Smith Award and is the first from that organization to win twice.

Forde was honored in the Sunday Wrap-Up category for an entry entitled "A Mystery Man's Magical Ride." The story centered on jockey Stewart Elliott, a 39-year-old veteran who had briefly given up the sport in the 1980's, only to return to the saddle and find his way into the Kentucky Derby winner's circle aboard Smarty Jones. Forde, who has since departed from The Courier-Journal for a position as senior writer for ESPN.com, earned his only previous Red Smith Award in the feature category in 1990.