It was a balance of old and new among the four winners in Churchill Downs 21st annual Red Smith Kentucky Derby Writing Contest.
Two sportswriters - Rick Bozich of the Louisville, Ky. Courier-Journal and Mike Kane of the Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y. broke contest records with their 2003 honors, while Richard Rosenblatt of the Associated Press and Tom Law of Thoroughbred Times collected their first-ever awards in the competition that honors the finest print coverage of the famed "Run for the Roses."
Bozich became the all-time leader in Red Smith Award honors as he earned the 2003 prize in the Advance division. It was the ninth divisional award for Bozich, which allowed him to snap a tie for career honors with eight-time Red Smith winner Billy Reed. The 2003 award was the sixth for Bozich in the Advance category, which is also a record. Kane continued a torrid run as he earned his first-ever title in the Feature category and extended his own record by becoming the first sportswriter to capture a Red Smith award in five consecutive years.
First time winners Rosenblatt and Law were honored for their wrap-up stories on the upset victory by Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide in Kentucky Derby 129. Rosenblatt won for his Sunday Wrap-Up and Law was honored for his Monday Wrap-Up.
Each honoree will receive an engraved sterling silver mint julep cup similar to those used to toast the Kentucky Derby winner each year at the Churchill Downs President's Reception that follows the famed "Run for the Roses."
The presentation will take place at the 44th Annual National Turf Writers Association Awards Dinner to be held Breeders' Cup Week, Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The awards are named in honor of Walter W. "Red" Smith, the legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter and columnist who was best known for his work with the New York Herald Tribune and New York Times. Smith died in 1982 and Churchill Downs established the Red Smith Writing Contest the following year.
Kane earned his fifth consecutive Red Smith Award for his feature "NY-Bred Bucks History," a story that noted the historical hurdles eventual winner Funny Cide would face in the Derby and retraced some of the steps that led the gelding to Churchill Downs for the race. The uninterrupted streak
Of success by Kane in the Red Smith Kentucky Derby Writing Contest began with back-to-back wins (1999-2000) in the Sunday Wrap-Up category. He was honored in 2001 for his Kentucky Derby Advance, a win that pulled him into a tie with Stan Hochman of the Philadelphia Daily News (1984-86) for most Red Smith Awards in consecutive years. Kane claimed sole possession of the record in 2002 when he received his third win in the Sunday Wrap-Up category.