The winners were announced as part of the National Turf Writers Association's annual awards dinner, held at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith and Breeders' Cup President D.G. Van Clief, Jr. presented the awards.
The Joe Hirsch/Bill Leggett 2003 Breeders' Cup Writing Awards, which were presented Wednesday night, were won by Pat Forde, who became the first three-time winner, and Billy Reed, the first back-to-back winner. Both stories concerned the winner of the 2002 Classic, Volponi, and his Hall of Fame trainer, P. G. Johnson. Forde, of the Louisville Courier-Journal, was awarded the Joe Hirsch Breeders' Cup Newspaper Writing Award for the best 2002 article about the World Thoroughbred Championships. His column, titled, "Volponi's Win Perfectly Present," was published in the paper on Oct. 27, 2002. Forde also was recognized for the best story of 1996 and 2000. Accepting the award was Dan Liebman, Secretary of the National Turf Writers Association. Freelance writer Reed was honored with the Bill Leggett Breeders' Cup Magazine Writing Award for the best story of 2002. Published in Backstretch, his article was titled "Sly Old Fox." Reed also won the award last year for the best magazine piece of 2001. Jennie Rees, of the Louisville Courier-Journal, accepted on behalf of Reed.