Billy Reed name to National Museum of Racing’s Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor


Billy Reed, center, is flanked by G.D. Hieronymous, left, and Ed Bowen. Both live in Lexington and are on the board of the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.







SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Charlsie Cantey, one of the most accomplished and respected television broadcasters in thoroughbred racing history, and Billy Reed, a three-time Eclipse Award-winning writer and the author of more than a dozen sports books, have been selected to the National Museum of Racing’s Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor.

Reed, a native of Mt. Sterling, Ky., grew up in both Louisville and Lexington, where he graduated from Henry Clay High School before receiving a degree in English from Transylvania University in Lexington in 1966.

At the age of 16, Reed went to work for the Lexington Herald-Leader and served in both part-time and full-time capacities. By the time he was a senior in college, Reed was the Herald-Leader’s assistant sports editor. Upon his college graduation, Reed went to work for the Louisville Courier-Journal. He went on to work for Sports Illustrated in New York, where he spent four years before returning to the Courier-Journal as a special projects writer. Reed returned to sports writing and was the sports editor for the Courier-Journal from 1977 through 1986, while also serving as senior writer for Sports Illustrated for 30 years. He also worked as an adjunct professor at Indiana University and was an executive scholar in residence at Georgetown College in Kentucky.

Reed is a three-time recipient of the Eclipse Award. He was honored with Eclipse Awards in 1979, 1988, and 2008. In 1979, Reed won the Eclipse for newspaper writing for an article in the Courier-Journal on jockey Ron Turcotte. He again won for newspaper writing in 1988 for an article on trainer D. Wayne Lukas, which appeared in the Herald-Leader. Reed’s 2008 Eclipse was in the news/commentary category for his column “A Rose for Eight Belles,” which appeared in Thoroughbred Times.

Additionally, Reed is an eight-time Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year. He is also an eight-time winner of the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby coverage. Reed is a member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, Transylvania University Hall of Fame, U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, and the Henry Clay High School Hall of Fame. His writing has also appeared in TIME, The Washington Post, Miami Herald, The Sporting News, and the “ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia,” among many other outlets. Reed has been a radio talk show host in Louisville and made appearances on ESPN, CBS, ABC, the History Channel, and CNN.

Among the more than a dozen books Reed has written or contributed to are “Born to Coach: The Denny Crum Story,” “Golden Boy: The Paul Hornung Story,” “Lombardi as I Knew Him” and “Billy Reed: My Favorite Derby Stories.” Reed’s most recent book, “Last of a BReed,” was published in 2018 and details his nearly six-decade career in sports writing, which has also included basketball, football, golf, boxing, auto and boat racing, tennis, soccer, and swimming and diving. Reed covered the NCAA basketball tournament from 1966, when he was a senior in college, until 2012, including one continuous 28-year stretch; seven Super Bowls; seven different college bowls; the World Series; the PGA Championship; the Indianapolis 500; and the Olympics.

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), Jim Murray (2014), Steve Haskin (2015), Raleigh Burroughs (2015), Maryjean Wall (2016), Jim McKay (2016), Michael Veitch (2017), Jack Whitaker (2017), Barney Nagler (2017), Joe Burnham (2018), and Tom Hammond (2018).

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 other forms of media.

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 Edward L. Bowen (chairman), author of more than 20 books on thoroughbred racing; Bob Curran, retired Jockey Club vice president of corporate communications Bob Curran; Ken Grayson, National Museum of Racing trustee; Jane Goldstein, retired turf publicist; and Dan Smith, senior media coordinator of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.


For more information about the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, please visit our website at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *