News Releases

Friday, April 23, 2004Contact: Bob Curran Jr. (212) 521-5326
Joe Hirsch to be Honored at Belmont Celebration

Legendary turf writer Joe Hirsch, who penned his final column for Daily Racing Form last November after 50 years with the publication, will be honored at the Belmont Celebration at Belmont Park on June 4th, the evening prior to the 136th running of the Belmont Stakes.

The annual event is hosted by the New York Racing Association and The Jockey Club. Tickets are $275 and proceeds will benefit Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, the nation’s leading private source of funding for equine medical research.

Hirsch joined Daily Racing Form in 1954 and covered his first Triple Crown race two years later. Since 1974 he has served as executive columnist. He also has authored or co-authored five books about the sport. Among his many awards and honors over the years are The Jockey Club Medal (1989), the Eclipse Award of Merit (1992) and designation as the Thoroughbred Club of America’s Testimonial Dinner honored guest (1994), all three citing his lifelong service to the Thoroughbred industry. In addition, Hirsch remains the only writer to win both North America’s Eclipse Award for outstanding writing on horse racing (1978) and the equivalent Lord Derby Award from the Horse Race Writers of Britain (1981).

“For half a century in the pages of Daily Racing Form, Joe welcomed us into his world, sharing with us his keen insights, observations and enthusiasm for the sport of Thoroughbred racing and its participants,” said NYRA chairman Barry Schwartz. “Through his writings and his boundless generosity of time and spirit, Joe has been a true ambassador for the sport of Thoroughbred racing - domestically, internationally and particularly in the state of New York. It is with great admiration and truly most appropriate that we honor him on the eve of New York’s classic race.”

The Belmont Celebration will be held in Belmont Park’s Marquee Tent adjacent to the paddock at Belmont Park. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Hank Lane Orchestra.

Reservations can be made by contacting Nancy Kelly at (212) 521-5305; or via e-mail at; or Jenifer Van Deinse at (212) 521-5327; or via e-mail at

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is currently funding 20 research projects at 12 universities for a total of $850,888 and, since 1983, has underwritten 189 projects at 31 universities for more than $11 million. Current research addresses key issues of health and soundness that affect a great many horses of all breeds and uses. These include foal pneumonia, relief of pain in sick and injured horses and improved ways to prevent sesamoid fractures.