Good Guys Don’t Finish Last

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 14, 2008 in News | No Comments >>

The Turf Publicists of America (TPA) announced this week that Larry Jones, trainer of the brilliant three-year-old fillies Proud Spell and Eight Belles, has been chosen as the 2008 winner of the organization’s Big Sport of Turfdom award. The award, voted on by TPA members, is presented annually to a person or group of people, who enhances coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with the media and Thoroughbred racing publicists.

“Larry has always been generous and gracious with publicists and reporters, but never was this clearer than in the aftermath of the tragic accident involving Eight Belles at the Kentucky Derby,” said TPA president Eric Wing. “Larry met with reporters on Derby Day and numerous times thereafter under the most difficult of circumstances. With his heartfelt words, Larry was an embodiment of the love that horsemen have for their animals. The entire Thoroughbred industry owes Larry a great debt of thanks for his cooperation with the media this year, and the Turf Publicists of America is exceedingly proud to honor him as our 2008 Big Sport of Turfdom.”

“This award is wonderful,” Jones said. “I think it’s my highest achievement in the sport. I’ve always felt that we, as trainers and horsemen, have an obligation to keep the fans well informed, and hopefully we’ve done that.”

Jones will receive the 43rd annual Big Sport of Turfdom award on Tuesday, December 9 in Tucson during the keynote luncheon of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program Symposium on Racing & Gaming. The Symposium will be held at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson from December 8-11.

In addition to the multiple Grade I winner Proud Spell and the Derby runner-up Eight Belles, Jones enjoyed graded stakes success in 2008 with Kodiak Kowboy, Honest Man, Sweet Hope, Maren’s Meadow and Buy the Barrel. His 2007 campaign was highlighted by Hard Spun, who won the Kentucky Cup Classic and placed in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The TPA is an organization consisting of approximately 200 publicity and marketing personnel from racetracks and racing organizations around the country, and the Big Sport of Turfdom award has been presented every year since 1966.

Previous winners of the Big Sport of Turfdom include Joe Hirsch, Penny Chenery, Jack Klugman, Jim McKay, Tim Conway, Chris McCarron, Sackatoga Stable, John Servis, Pat Day, Dr. Dean Richardson and Carl Nafzger.