from a release from the National Turf Writers Association
Voting by members of the National Turf Writers Association produced a rare tie for one of the organization's annual awards. Arlington Park chairman Richard L. Duchossois and owner/breeder Eugene Melnyk both received the same number of votes for the Joe Palmer Award for meritorious service to racing.
Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron, who retired this summer, was chosen to receive the Mr. Fitz Award for typifying the spirit of horse racing, and Billy Reed was selected for the Walter Haight Award for career excellence in Turf writing.
The awards will be presented at the NTWA's annual awards dinner, scheduled this year for Wednesday, Oct. 23, in Chicago, three days prior to the running of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park.
Duchossois has been chairman of Arlington since 1983. The track became a part of the Churchill Downs family in 2000. The management staff of Arlington received the Mr. Fitz Award in 1986 after a year earlier staging the "Miracle Million," after the track had burned.
Duchossois is an owner and breeder and owns Hill 'N Dale Farm in Barrington Hills, Illinois.
Melnyk is a relative newcomer to Thoroughbred racing and breeding, but has made an immediate impact. He was nominated for the award for donating $1 million toward the building of a child-care facility on the Belmont Park backstretch. It was opened this year and named Anna House after Eugene and Laura Melnyk's daughter. Melnyk recently purchased Mockingbird Farm near Ocala, Fla. The couple ranked 15th by earnings among owners in 2001.
McCarron retired in June as racing's all-time winningest jockey by purse earnings, a mark Pat Day eclipsed in August. McCarron won more than 7,100 races and had earnings of more than $264 million. He won two Eclipse Awards, six Triple Crown races and nine Breeders' Cup races, including the Classic five times.
Reed is a freelance writer whose had lengthy stints with Sports Illustrated
, the Lexington Herald-Leader
and Louisville Courier-Journal
. He won the Eclipse Award for newspaper writing in 1979 and 1988.
The Mr. Fitz Award is named for the late trainer James E. Fitzsimmons, who trained Triple Crown winners Gallant Fox and Omaha; the Joe Palmer Award is named for the late racing editor of the New York Herald Tribune; and the Walter Haight Award is named for the late racing columnist for the Washington Post.