Since its inception in 2006, the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award has been a joint effort to recognize literature in the Thoroughbred Industry. The Award Nominees include multiple genres including fiction, non-fiction, photography, and children's books.
The 2008 winner, Rudolph Valier Alvarado, wrote a detailed biography of Joe Hernandez, the man heralded as “The Voice of Santa Anita,” who called 15,587 straight races at the historic Los Angeles-area racetrack beginning with its inaugural race day in December 1934. Through his intense research, Alvarado shares the story behind the voice: A Latino who enjoyed a unique success at a time of struggle and hardship for fellow Hispanics in America.
Finalists Vic Zast, who wrote The History and Art of 25 Travers, and Dick Francis and son Felix, who co-wrote Silks, also were honored during the ceremony. Vic Zast's The History and Art of 25 Travers includes narratives of the past 22 editions of this famous race combined with the artistry of Greg Montgomery's Travers Stakes Posters. The collection provides a lovely look back on the infamous "Summer Derby". The other finalists, father and son team Dick and Felix Francis, set the murder mystery of Silks in the courtrooms of London and the British racecourses where a barrister who is an amateur steeplechase jockey finds himself in danger after a fellow jockey is found dead.
Judges for the 2008 Dr. Tony Ryan book award included Audrey Korotkin, an Eclipse Award winning news broadcaster and sports reporter; Bill Mooney, a two-time Eclipse Award winner and author of such works as The Complete Encyclopedia of Horse Racing and Keeneland's Ted Bassett: My Life; and T.D. Thornton, turf journalist, and the author of Not By a Longshot: A Season at a Hard-Luck Horse Track, winner of the 2007 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award.
The well attended Reception included recognition of the three finalists and a presentation by Shane Ryan, President of Castleton Lyons, of a specially designed Tipperary Crystal trophy with the $10,000 award to Mr. Alvarado.
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