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Steve Haskin and Raleigh Burroughs named to National Museum of Racing's Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor

Esteemed turf writers Steve Haskin and the late Raleigh Burroughs have been elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor.


Haskin served as senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse from 1998 through 2015. He stepped down from that post earlier this year, but still works for the publication on a limited basis, continuing his popular “Hangin with Haskin” blog and the “Derby Dozen,” his ranking and analysis of the Kentucky Derby contenders. As senior correspondent, Haskin was The Blood-Horse’s lead writer on the Triple Crown races and Breeders’ Cup. In 2002, Haskin was honored with the Walter Haight Award from the National Turf Writers Association for career excellence in turf writing.


Prior to The Blood-Horse, Haskin spent nearly 30 years working for Daily Racing Form. He began his career as a copy boy at the Morning Telegraph in New York in the late 1960s before becoming the librarian for Daily Racing Form and finally being named national correspondent and taking over "Derby Doings" from Joe Hirsch in 1994. Prior to that, he wrote numerous articles as a freelancer for a variety of publications in the 1970s and 1980s.


Haskin is also the author of six books on racing: “Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby (1999); “Horse Racing’s Holy Grail: The Epic Quest for the Kentucky Derby” (2002); “Tales from the Triple Crown” (2008) and three entries in the Eclipse Press Thoroughbred Legends Series, “Dr. Fager” (2000); “John Henry” (2001) and “Kelso” (2003). Haskin also has the distinction of winning five American Horse Publications first-place awards in five different categories.


“I have long admired Steve’s engaging writing as well as his knowledge and respect for the history of thoroughbred racing,” said Edward L. Bowen, chairman of the Hirsch selection committee. “He ranks with the best who have ever written on racing.”


Burroughs (1901-1998), was editor of Turf and Sport Digest for 19 years and The Maryland Horse for eight years. He wrote lively racing columns featured in several magazines, as well as an autobiography, “Horses, Burroughs, and Other Animals” (1977). He authored a popular weekly column for The Chronicle of the Horse from 1953 through 1980. In 1963, Burroughs was selected to be the author of “American Race Horses” for the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association, continuing a series of annual volumes begun in 1936 by Alfred Vanderbilt’s Sagamore Press.


In 1974, Burroughs was honored with the Walter Haight Award by the National Turf Writers Association for career excellence in turf writing. Regarded as a master of human-interest stories, Burroughs once wrote of the characters he met in horse racing: “I learned that people who hang around horses, from hotwalkers to opulent owners, are the happiest people in the world. They are just as interesting as their equine companions, and they’re far more valuable to a writer. Get them talking and they become fountains of lively copy.”


Burroughs ceased writing in the early 1980s when he suffered an eye ailment, but he became a judge for The Chronicle of the Horse’s annual journalism awards. Burroughs died Sept. 25, 1998, three weeks shy of his 97th birthday, in Homosassa Springs, Fla.


“Discovering Turf and Sport Digest as a teenager on a drug store’s publication stand helped me learn to love horse racing,” recalled Bowen. “It was gratifying to get to know Mr. Burroughs years later. He had a way with the language and an attitude about the interconnections of horses and people that was of the ilk of Joe Palmer.”


Previous selections to the Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor are Steven Crist (2010), Bill Nack (2010), Red Smith (2010), Charles Hatton (2010), Dr. Russ Harris (2011), Joe Palmer (2011), Jay Hovdey (2012), Whitney Tower (2012), Andrew Beyer (2013), Kent Hollingsworth (2013), George F. T. Ryall (2013), Jennie Rees (2014) and Jim Murray (2014).


The National Museum of Racing’s Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor was established in 2010 to recognize individuals whose careers have been dedicated to, or substantially involved in, writing about thoroughbred racing (non-fiction), and who distinguished themselves as journalists. The criteria has since been expanded to allow the inclusion of broadcast journalists.


Often referred to as the dean of thoroughbred racing writers, Hirsch won both the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Writing and the Lord Derby Award in London from the Horserace Writers and Reporters association of Great Britain. He also received the Eclipse Award of Merit (1993), the Big Sport of Turfdom Award (1983), The Jockey Club Medal (1989), and was designated as the honored guest at the 1994 Thoroughbred Club of America’s testimonial dinner. The annual Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park is named in his honor. Hirsch was also a former chairman of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. He died in 2009.


The Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor Committee is comprised of Bowen, National Museum of Racing trustees Leverett Miller and Ken Grayson, Cot Campbell of Dogwood Stable, retired turf publicist Jane Goldstein and Dan Smith of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.