LEXINGTON, Ky. (Wednesday, January 14, 2015) – Legendary track announcer Tom Durkin, two-time Breeders’ Cup-winning jockey Rosie Napravnik, and Old Friends retirement farm founder Michael Blowen will participate in an autograph session to benefit racing-related charities Saturday, 1:30-2:30 p.m., at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Fans can meet and get autographs from all three stars for a minimum suggested donation of $10. One hundred percent of proceeds will be shared between three nonprofit charities: Old Friends, the Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred Aftercare Program and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
Napravnik, an Old Friends board member, and Blowen will sign copies of the Old Friends magazine, produced annually by Daily Racing Form. Durkin will sign collectible photos. The trio will be in town to appear at that evening’s 44th Annual Eclipse Awards Presented by Daily Racing Form, Breeders’ Cup and The Stronach Group.
The Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred Aftercare Program and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund are the official charities of the Eclipse Awards.
Durkin, 64, retired on the penultimate day of last year’s Saratoga Race Course season after 43 years as a track announcer. The Chicago native served as the New York Racing Association’s lead announcer for 24 years, called the Breeders’ Cup from its inception in 1984 through 2005, and was the television voice of the Triple Crown on NBC Sports from 2001 to 2010. Saturday night, Durkin will receive the Eclipse Award of Merit for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in the Thoroughbred industry.
Napravnik, 26, stunned the sports world by announcing her pregnancy and retirement on NBC Sports following a dazzling win aboard Untapable in last fall’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff. It was the second Breeders’ Cup win for Napravnik, who had scored her first in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with eventual 2-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby. The native of New Jersey is the only woman to win the Kentucky Oaks, a feat she accomplished twice with Believe You Can in 2012 and last year astride Untapable. She has won multiple leading rider titles at both Keeneland and Fair Grounds.
Blowen, a former film critic for The Boston Globe, founded Old Friends in 2003. The nonprofit based in Georgetown, Ky., cares for more than 150 rescued and retired horses, including several pensioned stallions. This year Old Friends became the new home for two of racing’s biggest stars from the past 20 years – 1997 Kentucky Derby hero Silver Charm and three-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude. Saturday night, Blowen will accept the Special Eclipse Award on behalf of Old Friends for extraordinary contributions to the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
The Eclipse Awards
The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies. The Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements in North America have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Those awards are voted by NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB). Eclipse Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. An Eclipse Award is also presented to the Handicapper of the Year.
Eclipse Awards voting is conducted by the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB), the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and Daily Racing Form. The Eclipse Awards ceremony is produced by the NTRA.
About the NTRA
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, NTRA.com, the Eclipse Awards, the National Handicapping Championship, NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program, and HORSE PAC, a federal political action committee. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).