05/25/2017 3:05PM

DRF's Privman, Newsday's McNamara win Hirsch writing awards


Jay Privman, national correspondent for Daily Racing Form, and Ed McNamara of Newsday were named the winners of the Joe Hirsch Memorial Writing Award, recognizing the best in print and Internet coverage of the 2016 Belmont Stakes, the New York Racing Association announced Thursday.

Privman won for his race recap, “Creator beats Destin by a nose in Belmont Stakes,” which chronicled winning trainer Steve Asmussen’s resurgence to the top of the racing world in 2016 after dealing with fallout from, as Privman wrote, “a deceitful piece of propaganda” put out by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in 2014 that accused Asmussen of animal cruelty. Asmussen, exonerated for all but a minor transgression following investigations by two state regulatory agencies, was also elected to racing’s Hall of Fame in 2016.

McNamara won for his advance/feature piece, "Addressing Gettysburg and Belmont Stakes conspiracy theories," which examined the case of Gettysburg, his strategic transfer to Asmussen from trainer Todd Pletcher, and his role in the Belmont as the expected pacesetter for fellow WinStar-owned Creator and the favored Exaggerator, on whom WinStar had secured breeding rights.

It is the second Joe Hirsch award for both Privman and McNamara.

The winners will receive their awards on Wednesday, June 7, at Rockefeller Center during the official draw for the 149th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, the centerpiece of the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

The NYRA instituted the award in 2010 to honor Hirsch, DRF’s longtime executive columnist, who died in 2009.