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GREGORY ELECTED TURF PUBLICISTS OF AMERICA PRESIDENT

December 4, 2018

Contact: David Zenner (708-828-5255)

TUCSON, Ariz. – Amy Gregory has been elected president of the Turf Publicists of America (TPA) for 2019 and 2020 it was announced Tuesday by outgoing Turf Publicists President Rhonda Norby as part of the TPA’s Mark Kaufman Workshop at the Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming conducted by the University of Arizona’s Racetrack Industry Program. Gregory is the Director of Communications for Keeneland Association and will be serving on the TPA board for the first time.

At the same time it was announced that Wendy Davis, the Director of the Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona will be returning to the TPA board as a vice president, and Najja Thompson, a Racing Media Specialist for the New York Racing Association has been elected as a vice president for the first time.

Gregory, Davis and Thompson join vice presidents Jennifer Hoyt of Oaklawn Park, Amy Zimmerman from the Stronach Group and secretary-treasurer Dave Zenner, a freelance publicist and racing official at Gulfstream Park each of whom were elected last year to serve a two-year term for 2018 and 2019.

The new slate of officers was installed immediately.

The TPA, founded in 1951, is comprised of approximately 130 Thoroughbred racing publicists and marketing executives at racetracks throughout North America with the shared goal of promoting the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Each year at the Symposium, the TPA organizes the Mark Kaufman Workshop on a topic relevant to publicists and marketers, awards the Big Sport of Turfdom to recognize an individual or individuals who enhanced the sport of Thoroughbred racing through their cooperation with the media and racetrack personnel, and sponsors an annual scholarship for a RTIP student with a strong record of academic achievement and an interest in journalism or publicity.


JOHN ASHER WINS BIG SPORT OF TURFDOM AWARD

November 16, 2018

Contact: Rhonda Norby (859-396-8209)

The Turf Publicists of America (TPA) announced today that the 2018 Big Sport of Turfdom award, which recognizes a person or group of people who enhance coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with media and racing publicists, will be presented posthumously to John Asher, the late vice president of Racing Communications at Churchill Downs and former president of the TPA (2000). 

“The TPA’s tagline is ‘telling great stories since 1951,’ and no one told horse racing’s stories better than John Asher,” said TPA President Rhonda Norby. “The Big Sport of Turfdom award is about honoring a person who promotes the sport in cooperation with the media, and there is no one more deserving for this award than John.”

Asher, a lifelong racing fan, landed his dream job at Churchill Downs in 1997 and had served as vice president of Racing Communications since 1999. He was the face of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs for nearly every journalist who covered the iconic race as well as other major events such as the Breeders’ Cup, which was held four times under the Twin Spires during his tenure.

“The continued outpouring of love and respect for John has truly helped his family, friends and colleagues during this incredibly difficult period,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs. “The Big Sport of Turfdom is a tremendous honor, and there is no individual who would have been more proud to be associated with such an esteemed group of previous honorees, many of whom John knew, worked with and greatly admired.” 

The Big Sport of Turfdom will be presented to John’s wife, Dee, at the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program’s annual awards luncheon on Tuesday, December 4, emceed by Santa Anita Park track announcer Michael Wrona. The luncheon is part of the 2018 Symposium on Racing & Gaming at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz.

The luncheon is included in registration fees for the symposium. Additional information about the luncheon may be obtained by contacting TPA Secretary/Treasurer Dave Zenner.

Asher, the irreplaceable ambassador for Churchill Downs and his beloved city of Louisville, passed away August 27 at the age of 62.

“The way the racing community has embraced us since John’s passing has been truly humbling, and for him to be honored for doing what he loved so much means a lot,” Dee Asher said. “John would be thrilled with this recognition, especially coming from friends and colleagues in the industry.” 

Prior to joining Churchill Downs, Asher was an award-winning radio journalist at WHAS-AM and WAVE-AM in Louisville, where he earned five Eclipse Awards for “Outstanding National Radio Coverage of Thoroughbred Racing” and countless other honors, including being named seven times by the Associated Press as Kentucky large market radio’s “Best Reporter.”

A beloved member of the racing community, Asher also received several industry awards, including the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners’ Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year award in 2006, the Charles W. Engelhard Award for excellence in media coverage from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, the Dean Eagle Award from the Knights of Columbus, and a media award from the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

The Big Sport of Turfdom has been presented annually since 1966. Last year’s winner was Penny Chenery, the owner of the legendary Secretariat and a two-time winner of the award. Other previous winners include Art Sherman, the trainer of 2014 and 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome; jockeys Mike Smith, Pat Day, Chris McCarron, Bill Shoemaker, Angel Cordero Jr., Eddie Arcaro and Gary Stevens; trainers D. Wayne Lukas and Jack Van Berg; as well as other individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport, such as announcer Tom Durkin, author Laura Hillenbrand, broadcaster Jim McKay, turf writer Joe Hirsch, and actors Tim Conway and Jack Klugman.

A complete list of past Big Sport of Turfdom winners can be found online at http://www.turfpublicists.com/awards.html.


HOYT, ZENNER AND ZIMMERMAN ELECTED TO TURF PUBLICISTS POSTS

December 5, 2017

Contact: David Zenner (708-828-5255)

TUCSON, Ariz.-- The Turf Publicists of America (TPA) has elected two vice presidents and re-elected its secretary-treasurer to serve the organization for 2018 and 2019, it was announced Tuesday by TPA President Rhonda Norby as part of the TPA’s Mark Kaufman Workshop at the Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming conducted by the University of Arizona’s Racetrack Industry Program.

Amy Zimmerman, Vice President – Business Coordination & Director of Broadcasting, is newly elected to the board while Jennifer Hoyt, who serves as Media Relations Manager for Oaklawn Park, returns to the board after a one-year absence.  Dave Zenner, a freelance publicist as well as a racing official at Gulfstream Park, has been the organization’s secretary-treasurer since 2006.  Each was elected to a two-year term.

Hoyt, Zenner and Zimmerman join Norby and Vice Presidents Joe Bacigalupo of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and Jennie Rees who handles publicity work for Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs and the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA). Bacigalupo and Rees were both elected last year to serve a two-year term for 2017 and 2018.

The new slate of officers was installed immediately.

The TPA, founded in 1951, is comprised of approximately 130 Thoroughbred racing publicists and marketing executives at racetracks throughout North America with the shared goal of promoting the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Each year at the Symposium, the TPA organizes the Mark Kaufman Workshop on a topic relevant to publicists and marketers, awards the Big Sport of Turfdom to recognize an individual or individuals who enhanced the sport of Thoroughbred racing through their cooperation with the media and racetrack personnel, and sponsors an annual scholarship for a RTIP student with a strong record of academic achievement and an interest in journalism or publicity.


PENNY CHENERY WINS BIG SPORT OF TURFDOM AWARD

November 13, 2017
Contact: Rhonda Norby (859-396-8209)

The Turf Publicists of America (TPA) announced today that the 2017 Big Sport of Turfdom award, which recognizes a person or group of people who enhance coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with media and racing publicists, will be presented posthumously to Penny Chenery. 

Chenery, the owner of 1973 Triple Crown hero Secretariat, philanthropist, and one of the industry’s preeminent figures for five decades, won in a vote determined by the nearly 150 active members of the TPA, a trade organization of Thoroughbred racing publicists and marketing executives. She was also the winner of the Big Sport of Turfdom award in 1973.

“Mrs. Chenery was such an ambassador for our sport and was so incredibly generous in sharing of herself and the legacy of Secretariat all these many years to the media and fans alike,” said TPA President Rhonda Norby. “It is most fitting that she has been awarded the Big Sport of Turfdom a second time to bookend her incredible contributions to racing.”

The Big Sport of Turfdom will be presented to Chenery’s daughter, Kate Tweedy, at the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program’s annual awards luncheon on December 5, emceed by Santa Anita Park track announcer Michael Wrona. The luncheon is part of the 2017 Symposium on Racing & Gaming at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz. 

The luncheon is included in registration fees for the symposium. Additional information about the luncheon may be obtained by contacting TPA Secretary/Treasurer Dave Zenner.

Chenery, who realized her ailing father’s dream to win the Kentucky Derby with homebred Riva Ridge in 1972, passed away September 16 at the age of 95.

“This honor is such an appropriate way to remember Mom’s devotion to racing and to its fans,” said her daughter, Kate Tweedy. “Like the TPA, she believed in sharing the excitement of racing. She would be thrilled to be recognized once again in this way.” 

In 1973 Secretariat became a pop culture icon, and for the ensuing years Penny Chenery was a careful steward of the legacy of “Big Red.” Always charming, engaging and quick-witted, she represented her equine champions with poise, elegance, eloquence, and excellence, and she also had a keen business sense.

She was the first female president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. She became one of the first women admitted to The Jockey Club and helped found the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Chenery created the Secretariat Vox Populi award, annually honoring racing's most popular horse, as well as the Secretariat Foundation, which assists and supports various charities within the racing community. She received the 2006 Eclipse Award of Merit for lifetime contributions to the Thoroughbred industry, and in recent years, she advocated for laminitis research and care advancement.

The Big Sport of Turfdom has been presented annually since 1966 and Chenery is the fourth two-time winner, joining jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. and trainers Carl Nafzger and Bob Baffert, who won in 2015 as part of “Team American Pharoah.”

Last year’s winner was Art Sherman, the trainer of 2014 and 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome. Other previous winners include jockeys Mike Smith, Pat Day, Chris McCarron, Bill Shoemaker, Angel Cordero Jr., Eddie Arcaro and Gary Stevens; trainers D. Wayne Lukas and Jack Van Berg; as well as other individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport, such as announcer Tom Durkin, author Laura Hillenbrand, broadcaster Jim McKay, turf writer Joe Hirsch, and actors Tim Conway and Jack Klugman.

A complete list of past Big Sport of Turfdom winners can be found online at http://www.turfpublicists.com/awards.html.


TPA TO SEND MEMBER ON EXPENSES-PAID SYMPOSIUM TRIP

October 4, 2017
Contact: Rhonda Norby (859-396-8209)

The Turf Publicists of America (TPA) announced today that it will sponsor attendance for one of its members at this year’s University of Arizona Symposium on Racing & GamingDec. 4-6, at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz. The trip – which includes Symposium registration, roundtrip airfare and resort accommodations – will provide career development opportunities for a publicist or marketer who might not otherwise experience the industry’s biggest annual conference. 

 “One of our goals at the TPA is to provide our membership who work at smaller racetracks and/or organizations an opportunity to engage in professional growth and networking,” said TPA President Rhonda Norby.

 The Symposium trip is underwritten by the TPA with in-kind support from the Race Track Industry Program. 

Only current TPA members that have paid their 2017 dues in full will be considered. To apply, members are asked to submit an essay of more than 300 words describing their job duties, typical annual business travel, and what they hope to get out of Symposium attendance. Submissions are due by Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. ET and should be directed to TPA Secretary/Treasurer Dave Zenner at davezenner@gmail.com

The TPA, founded in 1951, is comprised of approximately 130 Thoroughbred racing publicists and marketing executives at racetracks throughout North America with the shared goal of promoting the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Each year at the Symposium, the TPA organizes the Mark Kaufman Workshop on a topic relevant to publicists and marketers, awards the Big Sport of Turfdom to recognize an individual or individuals who enhanced the sport of thoroughbred racing through their cooperation with the media and racetrack personnel, and sponsors an annual scholarship for a RTIP student with a strong record of academic achievement and an interest in journalism or publicity.


NORBY ELECTED 41ST PRESIDENT OF TURF PUBLICISTS

The Turf Publicists of America (TPA) has elected Rhonda Norby of Equibase Company to serve as president of the organization for 2017 and 2018, it was announced Tuesday at the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing & Gaming. Norby served as a vice president for 2014-16 and succeeds Jim Mulvihill of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA).

At the same time it was announced Joe Bacigalupo, of the NTRA, and Jennie Rees, who handles publicity work for Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs and the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), were elected as 2017-18 vice presidents. Additionally, Jeff Maday of Canterbury Park will serve out the remaining year of Norby’s existing term as vice president. This will be a second term for Bacigalupo while Rees and Maday will serve for the first time.

The above trio will join current vice president Lynne Snierson and secretary-treasurer Dave Zenner, each of whom were elected last year to serve two-year terms in 2016 and 2017.

The new slate of officers was installed immediately.


ART SHERMAN WINS BIG SPORT OF TURFDOM

The 2016 Big Sport of Turfdom – recognizing a person or group of people who enhance coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with media and racing publicists – has been awarded to trainer Art Sherman, the Turf Publicists of America (TPA) announced today. 

Sherman, the trainer of all-time North American earnings leader California Chrome, won in a vote determined by the nearly 150 active members of the TPA, a trade organization of Thoroughbred racing publicists and marketing executives. 

“I am so delighted and honored to be among the people that have won this award, a who’s who of racing,” Sherman said. “I’ve always tried to be accommodating to the press and even anyone that asks me for an autograph. It’s for the betterment of the game. Anything for racing.” 

Under Sherman’s care, California Chrome has won 15 of 25 starts while amassing $14,452,650 in earnings across four seasons. As a 3-year old, the modestly bred son of Lucky Pulpit won the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes en route to Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old honors. This year, California Chrome won three Group 1 or Grade 1 races, including the $10 million Dubai World Cup, and was second in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. 

“Art Sherman is a publicist’s dream,” said TPA President Jim Mulvihill. “For three years he has trained one of the top horses in the world and during that span has made himself available for thousands of interviews. His genuine nature and likability have been major factors in California Chrome becoming one of the most popular racehorses of our time.”  

The Big Sport of Turfdom will be presented to Sherman at the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program’s annual Awards Luncheon on December 6, emceed by Santa Anita Park track announcer Michael Wrona. The luncheon is part of the 2016 Symposium on Racing & Gaming at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz. 

The Awards Luncheon is included in registration fees for the Symposium. Additional information about the luncheon may be obtained by contacting TPA Secretary/Treasurer Dave Zenner.

The Big Sport of Turfdom has been presented annually since 1966. Last year’s winner was “Team American Pharoah.” Other previous winners include jockeys Mike Smith, Pat Day, Laffit Pincay Jr., Chris McCarron, Bill Shoemaker, Angel Cordero Jr., Eddie Arcaro and Gary Stevens; trainers Bob Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas and Jack Van Berg; as well as other individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport like announcer Tom Durkin, author Laura Hillenbrand, broadcaster Jim McKay, turf writer Joe Hirsch and actors Tim Conway and Jack Klugman. A complete list of past winners can be found online at http://www.turfpublicists.com/awards.html.


TPA TO SEND MEMBER ON EXPENSES-PAID SYMPOSIUM TRIP

The Turf Publicists of America (TPA) announced today that it will sponsor attendance for one of its members at this year’s University of Arizona Symposium on Racing & Gaming, Dec. 5-7, at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz. The trip – which includes Symposium registration, roundtrip airfare and resort accommodations – will provide career development opportunities for a publicist or marketer who might not otherwise experience the industry’s biggest annual conference. 

“Very few of our members these days have the types of travel budgets that could allow them to attend gatherings like the Symposium,” said TPA President Jim Mulvihill. “We are doing this for our hard-working peers at smaller racetracks and organizations who wish they had more chances to engage in professional growth and networking.” 

The Symposium trip is underwritten by the TPA with in-kind support from the Race Track Industry Program. 

Only current TPA members that have paid their 2016 dues in full will be considered. To apply, members are asked to submit an essay of more than 300 words describing their job duties, typical annual business travel, and what they hope to get out of Symposium attendance. Submissions are due by Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. ET and should be directed to TPA Secretary/Treasurer Dave Zenner at davezenner@gmail.com

The TPA, founded in 1951, is comprised of approximately 130 Thoroughbred racing publicists and marketing executives at racetracks throughout North America with the shared goal of promoting the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Each year at the Symposium, the TPA organizes the Mark Kaufman Workshop on a topic relevant to publicists and marketers, awards the Big Sport of Turfdom to recognize an individual or individuals who enhanced the sport of thoroughbred racing through their cooperation with the media and racetrack personnel, and sponsors an annual scholarship for a RTIP student with a strong record of academic achievement and an interest in journalism or publicity.


TPA AWARDS LUNCHEON SET FOR DEC. 6

This year's Big Sport of Turfdom and TPA Scholarship will be presented Dec. 6 at the TPA Awards Luncheon during the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program's Symposium on Racing & Gaming in Tucson, Arizona.

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