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Hervey Award Winners Announced

Published: January 22, 2015 12:41 pm ET

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On Thursday, January 22, the United States Harness Writers Association announced the winners of the 53rd annual John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing journalism.

Dave Briggs, writing for Hoof Beats magazine, and Gregg Doyel, writing for the Indianapolis Star, were named winners.

Woodbine Entertainment Group photographer Michael Burns and Mark Hall of Hoof Beats were the winners in the 15th annual George Smallsreed Awards for excellence in harness racing photography.

An insufficient number of entries were received to conduct a contest in the broadcast division, but two features received awards of merit. One feature focused on trainer Casie Coleman’s new professional and personal outlook on life and racing, the other feature on racing in Ireland.

Briggs won in the feature writing category for his story titled ‘Desperate Situations: The human face on the Ontario slots crisis,’ which appeared in the October 2014 issue of Hoof Beats. Briggs has been awarded a record seven Hervey honours in the writing categories.

Kenneth W. Terpenning and Lynne Snierson received honourable mention in the feature category.

Terpenning was recognized for his story, ‘Signs and Wonders: Pacing colt’s survival is nothing short of a miracle,’ which appeared in the January 2014 issue of Hoof Beats. Snierson was recognized for her profile of Donnie Richards titled ‘Arduous Ordeal: Maine trainer making miracle recovery after training mishap,’ which appeared in the August 2014 edition of Hoof Beats.

In the news and commentary category, Doyel won for his column on trainer/driver Verlin Yoder titled ‘Hey Hollywood! Another classic Indiana underdog story,’ which appeared in the November 11, 2014 issue of the Indianapolis Star. It is Doyel’s first Hervey honour.

Sydney Weaver and Chris Wittstruck received honourable mention.

Weaver was recognized for her column ‘On the Rail with Sydney Weaver: The Magic of Christmas,’ which appeared on on May 6, 2014. Wittstruck was recognized for his column ‘Racing and the Law: Watching the cheaters cheat,’ which appeared on the U.S. Trotting Association website on November 3, 2014.

The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of longtime horseracing writer Neil Milbert, Daily Racing Form Programming Manager Lou Monaco and Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn.

In the photography categories, Burns won in the feature division for a photograph of a line of horses silhouetted against a sunset at Mohawk Racetrack. The photo appeared on the WEG website in October 2014. It is Burns’ first Smallsreed honour.

Ann MacNeill received honourable mention in the feature category for a photograph of a mare and foal that appeared in the May 14, 2014 issue of The Horseman and Fair World magazine.

Hall won in the race action division for a photograph of driver David Miller in the sulky. The photo appeared on the cover of the July 2014 issue of Hoof Beats. It is Hall’s fifth Smallsreed honour.

Meadowlands Racetrack photographer Michael Lisa received honourable mention for a photograph of horses spread across the track kicking up dust. The photo appeared on the cover of the Meadowlands program as well as in its calendar.

The photography categories were judged by Bill Denver, the track photographer at Monmouth Park and Parx Racing as well as a regular contributor to the New York Daily News and Wall Street Journal, and Phil McAuliffe, a longtime newspaper and magazine photographer who worked as a harness racing groom while a teenager.

In the broadcast category, the Coleman feature was produced by Bruce Casella and voiced by Heather Vitale. It aired during the Little Brown Jug broadcast on CBS Sports Network on September 18. The Ireland feature was voiced and produced by Vitale, in partnership with Faust Productions, and aired on ‘Post Time’ on CBS affiliate WBOC-TV, Salisbury, Md., on October 19.

Award winners will be recognized as part of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Dan Patch Awards banquet February 22 in Orlando.

(With files from USHWA)

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