HRU earns second straight Hervey Award

HRU editor Dave Briggs also swept the two Hervey writing categories.

For the second straight year, Harness Racing Update (HRU) has won a John Hervey Award for excellence in harness racing reporting, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Monday (Jan. 15).

HRU editor Dave Briggs won the Hervey in the news/commentary division for his story, “What the heck happened in the Hambletonian?” which appeared in the Aug. 12, 2017 issue of Harness Racing Update (full story here).

Briggs also captured the feature division with a story written for Hoof Beats magazine on John Campbell’s retirement, “End of an Era,” which appeared in the October issue of Hoof Beats (full story here).

The two Herveys extends Briggs’ record for Hervey honors to 11.

Honorable mentions in the news/commentary category went to Gordon Waterstone and Darryl Kaplan.

Waterstone was recognized for his story on the Hambletonian, “Swedish Surprise,” which appeared in the Aug. 16 issue of The Horseman And Fair World magazine. Kaplan was recognized for three segments of his series, “On the Road: Horse Racing 250,” that was published on the Standardbred Canada website between June 30 and July 2.

Honorable mentions in the feature category went to Steve Montemarano and Rich Fisher.

Montemarano was recognized for his story on trainer Dan Ater and his battle with cancer, “Picture of Courage,” which appeared in the November issue of Hoof Beats. Fisher was recognized for his story on driver Mike Lachance’s retirement days, “Out of the Spotlight,” which appeared in the August issue of Hoof Beats.

The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of former Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn, BloodHorse Racing Editor Alicia Wincze Hughes, and Associated Press racing writer Mike Farrell.

A year ago, Briggs won the news/commentary Hervey for an HRU story covering the aftermath of the Classy Lane barn fire.

In addition, the U.S. Trotting Association’s was selected the winner of the Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing broadcasting and Chris Gooden and Jacob Cohen were named the winners in the George Smallsreed Awards for excellence in harness racing photography.

In the broadcast division, was honored for its coverage of John Campbell’s retirement. The video was produced by Rich Johnston and the reporters were T.J. Burkett, Allison Conte, and Briggs (video here).

Honorable mention went to CBS Sports Network’s coverage of the Sam McKee Memorial, with a tribute to McKee, produced by Oz Colon. The segment was co-produced by Peter Lasser.

The broadcast category was judged by multiple Emmy Award and Hervey Award-winning producer Bruce Casella, who has covered standardbred and thoroughbred racing throughout his career.

In the Smallsreed competition, Gooden won in the race action category for his photograph “Shadow Racing,” which appeared in the December issue of Hoof Beats.

Jacob Cohen won in the feature category for his sunset photograph of a horse on the track at Woodbine Racetrack that appeared on the Woodbine Facebook page on Oct. 19.

Honorable mention in the race action category went to Cohen’s father, Clive, for his photograph “Fog,” which appeared on the Woodbine Facebook and Instagram pages. Honorable mention in the feature division went to Michael Burns for his photograph “Into the Sun,” which appeared on the Woodbine website.

Judges for the photography categories were racetrack and newspaper photographer Bill Denver, multiple Eclipse Award-winning photographer Barbara Livingston, and former harness racing groom and longtime newspaper/magazine photographer Phil McAuliffe.

The winners will be recognized at the Dan Patch Awards banquet Feb. 25 in Orlando, FL. Meadowlands Racetrack Chairman Jeffrey Gural is continuing his longstanding sponsorship of the Hervey and Smallsreed awards by providing banquet tickets for the winners.

For more information about the Dan Patch Awards banquet, visit