The late trainer Rick Violette Jr., a fierce advocate for horsemen throughout the country, will be honored posthumously along with Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Tim Wilkin, and Caton Bredar during the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters 60th annual Awards Dinner on Oct. 30.
The awards dinner, held during Breeders' Cup World Championships week, will be at The Derby in Arcadia, Calif.
Violette, the trainer of 2018 Whitney winner Diversify and dozens of other graded stakes winners, will be honored with the Joe Palmer Award for meritorious service to racing.
The longtime head of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Violette left a lasting legacy when he passed away last fall at age of 65. An accomplished show rider before taking out his Thoroughbred training license in the late 1970s, Violette also trained grade 1 winners Dream Rush and Man From Wicklow and standouts Citadeed, Free Of Love, March Magic, Read The Footnotes, Samraat and Upstart. Violette served on the board of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and helped found NYTHA's TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program and TAKE THE LEAD Thoroughbred Retirement Program.
Lukas, one of racing's most recognized names and faces, will receive the Mr. Fitz Award for typifying the spirit of racing.
Lukas dominated the sport in the 1980s and 1990s and continues to maintain a successful racing stable at the age of 83. A five-time Eclipse Award winner as outstanding trainer and winner of the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2013, Lukas has won 14 Triple Crown races, 20 Breeders' Cup races, more than 4,800 races and purses in excess of $281.2 million. Lukas also helped launch the careers of successful trainers Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin, Dallas Stewart, Mark Hennig, George Weaver, Mike Maker, Randy Bradshaw, and Bobby Barnett.
Wilkin, the longtime racing voice of the Albany Times Union, will be honored with the Walter Haight Award for career excellence in Turf writing.
Wilkin juggles his in-depth racing coverage—particularly of the Saratoga meeting—along with his college basketball and other sports beats at the Times Union. Wilkin can dig into intricate industry issues with the same aptitude he brings to emotional features. That ability has been recognized in the form of multiple honors from the Associated Press Sports Editors annual writing contest, with Wilkin earning top honors for beat writing in the 30,000-75,000 circulation category in 2014 and 2015.
Bredar, a decorated journalist with more than 30 years' experience in print, radio, and television, will receive the Jim McKay Award for career excellence in broadcasting.
The granddaughter of Hall of Fame jockey Ted Atkinson, Bredar started in publicity at Arlington Park and was part of the original team to launch TVG. She's worked behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, ESPN, CBS, FOX, HRTV and various local and cable outlets. Bredar has covered racing extensively throughout the U.S. as well as Barbados, Panama, France, and Dubai, and she's anchored programs from WAVE 3 in Louisville during the NBC affiliate's coverage of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.
The NTWAB Awards Dinner, traditionally held during Breeders' Cup week, is the organization's only fundraiser, and a portion of the proceeds from the event are used toward scholarships for prospective Thoroughbred racing journalists and to support Thoroughbred industry charities.