ST Publishing co-founder and co-editor Joe Clancy is one of the winners of the New York Racing Association's seventh annual Joe Hirsch Memorial Writing Award that recognize the best print and internet coverage of the 2015 Belmont Stakes.
The story highlighted the final moments of American Pharoah's dramatic victory in the Belmont Stakes, which completed the first sweep of the Triple Crown in 37 years and set off a wild frenzy at the track. Joe's words captured the bedlam that ensued as American Pharoah neared and eventually crossed the finish in front, becoming the 12th and first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. The story was also one of the most read pieces at This Is Horse Racing in 2015.
"Everywhere you looked, fans stood - at railings in the terraces upstairs, in the box seats, on benches at ground level, along the track, around the winner's circle," he wrote. "They stood and watched and celebrated and soaked in the achievement and were still standing when the horses came out for the next race. The Belmont Stakes for a Triple Crown attempt, especially one that comes after 12 failures spread over 36 years, is the rare sporting event where everyone roots for the same outcome."
The awards are named in honor of the late Joe Hirsch, the respected longtime executive columnist for Daily Racing Form and founder of the National Turf Writers Association who retired in 2003 after a 50-year career covering racing.
The Joe Hirsch Memorial is the second major honor bestowed on Joe this year, following the Charles W. Engelhard Award presented to him and his brother Sean for outstanding coverage of the Thoroughbred industry by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders. Joe also won the Eclipse Award and David F. Woods Memorial Award last year for his article on the 2014 Preakness Stakes that appeared in Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred.
Joe and Sean founded ST Publishing as a part-time business in 1984 with the launch of Steeplechase Times. The Saratoga Special, Thoroughbred Racing Calendar and other projects, including the website This Is Horse Racing, followed. Based in Fair Hill, Md., the company focuses on quality editorial projects with a small-business approach.
The latest win also marks the second consecutive year an article published on This Is Horse Racing won the Joe Hirsch Memorial Award, following Tom Law's win last year for his coverage of the 2014 Belmont Stakes.
Rich Rosenblatt of The Associated Press will also receive a Joe Hirsch Memorial Award for his profile of American Pharoah's owner, Ahmed Zayat, which chronicled his rise to the pinnacle of racing along with his passion for the sport and his homebred Triple Crown winner.
Previous winners include Dave Grening of Daily Racing Form and Bob Fortus of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans in 2010, Ed Fountaine of the New York Post and DRF's Jay Privman in 2011, Ed McNamara of Newsday and Todd Simmons of the Staten Island Advance in 2012; Mike MacAdam of The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y., and Claire Novak, writing for ESPN.com in 2013; Bob Ehalt of ESPN.com and Nicole Russo of DRF in 2014 and Alicia Wincze-Hughes of the Lexington Herald-Leader in 2015.
The winners will receive their awards June 8 at Rockefeller Center during the official draw for the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes.