Joe Hirsch, Dean of Turf Writers, to Retire

Joe Hirsch, 74, Daily Racing Form award-winning executive columnist who is recognized as the most accomplished turf writer in the history of Thoroughbred racing, will end his legendary 55-year career when he pens his final DRF column on Nov. 29.

"I'm packing it in," Hirsch admitted from his home in Manhattan. "I have to do it. I can't do any more work."

"As his countless friends and colleagues in racing will attest, Joe's contributions to the sport he genuinely loved go far beyond the columns he began writing in 1954," said Daily Racing Form publisher Steven Crist, who made the announcement. "He has been a teacher and mentor to generations of writers, and a tireless advocate for racing on an international scale."

After graduating from New York University with a journalism degree in 1948, Hirsch was hired by The Morning Telegraph, then the companion paper of Daily Racing Form, after a short stint with the New York Times. He tirelessly covered Thoroughbred racing, throughout the U.S. and Europe, ever since. His long association with Daily Racing Form began in 1954, and he has served as the executive columnist since 1974.

The "dean" of Thoroughbred racing writers, Hirsch won many honors in his career. The New York Turf Writers named the press box at prestigious Saratoga Race Course for him.

In addition, Hirsch was the founder and first president of the National Turf Writers Association and is the only American writer to win both the Eclipse Award for outstanding writing and the Lord Derby Award from the Horse Race Writers of Britain.

His other honors include the Eclipse Award of Merit, the Jockey Club Medal, and the Walter Haight Award and the Joe Palmer Award from the National Turf Writers. He was also awarded the William May Award from the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

He is the author or co-author of five books and serves as a member of the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame selection committee.