Joe Hirsch Scholarship Established

Contact: Whitney Hale

Photo of Joe Hirsch
(Photo by John Greco)
Joe Hirsch watching the running of the 1997 Kentucky Derby

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“The NTRA is excited to be a part of this endowment, along with the Daily Racing Form. During his nearly half a century of covering the sport of Thoroughbred racing for Daily Racing Form, Joe Hirsch set high standards for integrity, fairness and accuracy that future generations of journalism students should hope to emulate.”

-- Keith Chamblin,
senior vice president of marketing and industry relations,
National Thoroughbred Racing Association

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2005) -- The University of Kentucky and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today the establishment of the Joe Hirsch Scholarship, which annually will provide full, one-year tuition to one student who is interested in pursuing a career in Thoroughbred racing journalism. Financial support for the Hirsch Scholarship is being provided by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form, Keeneland, The Jockey Club, and other industry groups. The scholarship honors long-time racing reporter and columnist Joe Hirsch, who retired in November 2003 after a 55-year career that included 49 years with the Daily Racing Form.

The Joe Hirsch Scholarship includes a journalism-related internship at a Thoroughbred racing organization. Scholarship candidates must meet a minimum GPA requirement and demonstrate financial need.

Upon learning of the announcement, Mr. Hirsch said, “I am thrilled and deeply honored.”

Hirsch founded the National Turf Writers' Association and was its first president. He won numerous awards during his long career, including the Eclipse Award of Merit, the Jockey Club Medal, and the Lord Derby Award, given by the Horse Race Writers of Britain . Hirsch is the author or co-author of five books, including “In the Winner’s Circle: The Jones Boys of Calumet Farm” and “Kentucky Derby: The Chance of a Lifetime.” He is considered the “dean” of Thoroughbred racing writers and was well-known for his willingness to help journalists new to the racing beat. In recent years, Hirsch has been saluted by two of the sport’s greatest venues, Saratoga Race Course and Churchill Downs, each naming its press box in his honor.

Upon Hirsch’s retirement, Steven Crist, chairman and publisher of Daily Racing Form said of Hirsch, “One reason this scholarship is such an appropriate way to honor Joe Hirsch’s career is that he was a mentor to literally dozens of the nation’s top racing writers when they began their careers. Joe is legendary for helping young writers get started out the right way, and this scholarship will continue that tradition.”

“The NTRA is excited to be a part of this endowment, along with the Daily Racing Form,” said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of marketing and industry relations for the NTRA. ”During his nearly half a century of covering the sport of Thoroughbred racing for Daily Racing Form, Joe Hirsch set high standards for integrity, fairness and accuracy that future generations of journalism students should hope to emulate.”

“It is a tremendous honor for us to host the Joe Hirsch Scholarship here at UK,” said Beth Barnes, director of the UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications. “We have many journalism alumni who are active in the horse industry, and we hold an annual high school journalism workshop that focuses on the horse industry in the Lexington area. The Joe Hirsch Scholarship, and particularly the internship opportunities that are part of the program, will help us guide more students toward this fascinating specialization within journalism.”


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