11/11/2016 3:04PM

Tom Hammond honored by Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners

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Courtesy of NBC
Tom Hammond will receive the 2016 Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award.

Tom Hammond, who has been a broadcaster on NBC and has covered Thoroughbred racing for decades, was named by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners as the 2016 winner of the Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award.

Hammond, a native of Lexington, Ky., has been the anchor of NBC’s Breeders’ Cup coverage since its 1984 inception and a fixture on the summer and winter Olympic broadcasts. He will be honored at the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners annual awards dinner on Nov. 19 at Big Spring Country Club in Louisville. Churchill Downs’s John Asher will be the emcee.

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The Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions to Kentucky racing and sharing the passion exemplified by Jones, founder of Hermitage Farm near Louisville. Jones spent 50 years on the Churchill Downs board, including eight as chairman. Jones was the inaugural winner in 1988, six years before his death.

Hammond graduated from the University of Kentucky and started out reading race results at Lexington radio station WVLK. He became sports director at NBC affiliate WLEX, leaving after 10 years to form Hammond Productions, leading to his role as play-by-play man for Southeastern Conference basketball telecasts.

Hammond also started a long association with Keeneland as an announcer at the organization’s auctions. His voice and knowledge of horse racing caught the attention of NBC, which hired Hammond for its broadcast at the first Breeders’ Cup at Hollywood Park. He later became the voice of NBC’s Olympic track and field coverage.