Evan Pattak of Hoof Beats and Dave Briggs of the Canadian Sportsman were named the winners in the 48th edition of the John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing journalism, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced today.
Pattak won in the news/commentary writing category for his story titled "Cracking the Whip," which appeared in the April issue of Hoof Beats. Briggs won in the feature writing category for his story about Hambletonian winnerand trainer Greg Peck, "From the Mines to the Hill Top," which appeared in the August 20 issue of Canadian Sportsman.
The contest was sponsored by harness racing executive Jeff Gural.
"Cracking the Whip is an articulate, in-depth look at the use of the whip in harness racing," judge Lou Monaco said. "With extensive research and comments from leaders of the industry, it is a four-step fix-it piece into the abuses of whipping; from enforcing existing rules, changing the rules, changing the whip and eliminating whips all together. It is a terrific piece on an action that often gets out of hand on a daily basis."Honorable mentions in the news/commentary writing category were awarded to Alan Kirschenbaum of the Canadian Sportsman for his column "The Cold Slap: We have never been more irrelevant," and to Stanley Gutkowski of the Canadian Sportsman for his piece "Pilfering the Pot in Pennsylvania."
Monaco worked with SportsTicker for more than 18 years and has covered numerous Hambletonians, Meadowlands Paces and Breeders Crowns. He currently is a contributor for Patch.com and is a newsroom assistant/writer for Dorf Feature Service, which provides content and information to the Newark Star-Ledger, Trenton Times, and NJ.com.
Briggs' feature story was termed "a terrific profile of Greg Peck and his maturation as a trainerrewarded withthe sport's ultimate victory in the Hambletonian," by judge Mike Farrell.
"While the profile covers all the bases -, the owners and driver Brian Sears - Peck is the heart and soul of a well-crafted story."
Honorable mentions in the feature writing category were awarded to Nicole Kraft of Hoof Beats for her story "One Great Save" and to Adam Bianco of Hoof Beats for "Profound Connection."
Farrell has more than 30 years experience as a reporter and broadcast color analyst. He currently covers New Jersey racing, both harness and thoroughbred, for the Daily Racing Form and the Bergen Record along withthe Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup for the Associated Press.
Pattak and Briggs will be honored for their accomplishments at USHWA's annual awards dinner, to be held February 28 at Yonkers Raceway in New York. The dinner is in the Good Time Room and tickets are $100 per person. Cocktails are at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner an hour later. For tickets or advertising information, call Dave Little at 212-210-1691 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.