New York Turf Writers Honor Mineshaft

(from NYRA report)
Mineshaft, Eclipse Award winner as Horse of the Year and best older male, has been named winner of the New York Turf Writers Association's Secretariat Award as New York's Horse of the Year for 2003.

The award will be presented at the 81st annual NYTWA dinner on Aug. 23 at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Team Funny Cide will receive the Presidents' Award, while Joe Hirsch will be honored with the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Award for his contributions to racing.

Here is a complete listing of the honorees:

SECRETARIAT AWARD: Bred and owned by William S. Farish, James Elkins and W.T. Webber, and trained by Neil Howard, Mineshaft won three straight grade 1 races at Belmont Park. They were the Suburban Handicap by 2 1/4 lengths, the Woodward by 4 1/4 and the Jockey Club Gold Cup by 4 1/4.

PRESIDENTS' AWARD: Funny Cide, owned by Sackatoga Stable, bred by Win Star Farm, raised at McMahon Thoroughbreds farm outside Saratoga and trained by Barclay Tagg, became the first New York-bred in history to win the Kentucky Derby, and the first gelding to win the Derby since 1929. After winning the Preakness Stakes, Funny Cide's bid for the Triple Crown captivated the nation.

ALFRED G. VANDERBILT AWARD: Joe Hirsch, legendary longtime columnist for the Daily Racing Form, retired last fall after a career spanning a half-century. Known as the "dean of turf writers," Hirsch, in his daily columns and "Derby Doings," chronicled the sport for generations of racing fans and was an invaluable ambassador for the sport.

C.V. WHITNEY AWARD (for "Outstanding Achievement"): Trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Jerry Bailey, who both set records for most stakes wins and earnings in a single year.

RED SMITH "GOOD GUY" AWARD: Jockey Jose Santos, who was accommodating to the press and public during Funny Cide's Triple Crown run and, after being falsely accused of impropriety when he rode Funny Cide to win the Derby, handled the situation with grace under pressure.

FOURSTARDAVE AWARD (for special achievement at Saratoga): Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez, who both set records for the most victories ever at a Saratoga meet.

BIG APPLE AWARD: The New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. enjoyed a year in which New York-bred horses competed successfully at the highest levels of the game. In addition to Funny Cide's victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, New York-breds such as Read the Footnotes, Buy the Sport, Whitmore's Conn, Go Rockin' Robin, Spite The Devil, Bossanova and others defeated open company in graded stakes.

WOODY STEPHENS AWARD (top trainer): Todd Pletcher, who led all New York trainers with 134 winners.

EDDIE ARCARO AWARD (top jockey): John Velazquez, New York's leading rider with 230 victories.

OGDEN PHIPPS AWARD (top breeder): Marylou Whitney, who bred 3-year-old filly champion Bird Town, winner of the Kentucky Oaks, and her half-brother, grade 1 Champagne winner Birdstone, out of same mare, Dear Birdie, from an old Whitney family.

PAUL MELLON AWARD (top owner): Sanford Goldfarb, whose stable ran 160 starters and won 40 races to top the owners' standings.