Sponsors of the Big Sport of Turfdom luncheon include Keeneland Association and VISA Triple Crown. Additional information about the luncheon and sponsorship opportunities may be obtained by contacting Michele Blanco at (305) 625-1311, ext. 3352. More information on the TPA can also be found at www.turfpublicists.com.
The Turf Publicists of America (TPA) will honor the fun-loving Sackatoga Stable crew from the tiny village of Sackets Harbor, N.Y., with its Big Sport of Turfdom Award. Sackatoga Stable gained popularity and prominence as its members campaigned Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Funny Cide through the VISA Triple Crown series and beyond.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.Jack Knowlton and his school bus-riding partners will receive the award at the 38th annual Big Sport of Turfdom luncheon at Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant in Miami Beach, Fla. on Jan. 26, a few hours before the Eclipse Awards.Sackatoga Stable consists of Jack Knowlton (health care consultant), Gus Williams (retired building contractor), David Mahan (caterer), Lew Titterton (health care facilities), Eric Dattner (businessman), Mark Phillips (retired schoolteacher), Jon Constance (optician), Pete Phillips (construction) and Larry Reinhardt (construction).Funny Cide, a 3-year-old gelding trained by Barclay Tagg, had two wins, two seconds and two thirds in eight starts this year and earned $1,963,200."Throughout the VISA Triple Crown season, and especially in the five weeks between the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, Jack Knowlton and his partners cheerfully accommodated countless media requests from all over the state, the nation and even the world," explained TPA president Michele Blanco. "That unflinching cooperation was partly responsible for a near-record crowd at Belmont Park, the highest television rating for a Belmont Stakes telecast in over 20 years and increased interest in our sport from new fans and prospective Thoroughbred owners."The TPA is an organization consisting of approximately 200 publicity and marketing personnel from racetracks and racing organizations around the country. The Big Sport of Turfdom Award has been presented every year since 1966.Previous winners of the Big Sport of Turfdom include: Joe Hirsch, Penny Chenery, Jack Klugman, Joe Hirsch, Jim McKay, Laffit Pincay Jr. (only two-time winner), Tim Conway, Carl Nafzger, Chris McCarron, the Cigar team of Allen Paulson, Bill Mott and Jerry Bailey and most recently, D. Wayne Lukas, Laura Hillenbrand and the husband-and-wife team of Ken and Sue McPeek.