Pam Blatz-Murff, senior vice president of Breeders' Cup operations for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, received the prestigious Derby Award for Services to International Racing at a luncheon Monday at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. The Derby Awards, named after the Earl of Derby and now in their 35th year, are organized by the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association in England. Past recipients of the Derby Award for Services to International Racing include Jean Romanet and Louis Romanet, Paul Mellon, Lord Derby, John Gaines, Guy Watkins, Michael Osborne and Ted Bassett. Blatz-Murff is the first woman to be so honored. Other Derby Award winners yesterday included trainer Aidan O'Brien, who was voted both flat trainer and international trainer of the year, jockey Mick Kinane and owners Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier.
"Everyone at NTRA/Breeders' Cup is thrilled for Pam and proud of her work on behalf of international horseracing," said D.G. Van Clief, Jr., president of Breeders' Cup and vice chairman of the NTRA. "Her 19 years of service here have been critical in establishing and maintaining the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships as a premier global sporting event." A native of La Jolla, Calif., Blatz-Murff joined Breeders' Cup Limited in December 1982, eventually becoming director of racing and nominations, responsible for stallion and foal nominations to the Breeders' Cup program. Since 1995, she has additionally overseen the year-round Breeders' Cup Stakes Program, worth millions in combined purses from Breeders' Cup and participating racetracks. In February 2001, following Breeders' Cup's operational combination with the NTRA, Blatz-Murff assumed the title of senior vice president of Breeders' Cup operations, a role in which she continues to oversee all Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships racing, nominations, horsemen's services and eligibility programs. Blatz-Murff also is a member of the Health and Regulatory Committee of the American Horse Council, handles all United States Department of Agriculture issues for onsite quarantine and isolation, and oversees both the Equine Injury Management team and the Racing Secretaries and Directors Panel for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred