David Hill, a freelance writer who grew up in the shadow of Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, took his talents to Nevada for this year’s Kentucky Derby, and his “How a Las Vegas Sports Betting Legend Spends Horse Racing’s Biggest Weekend” profile of professional gambler Alan “Dink” Denkenson won the third annual Ron Rippey Award for Handicapping Media.
Hill’s piece appeared on Vice.com May 19, 2016, after he spent Kentucky Derby week with Denkenson, a bookmaker-turned-professional sports bettor. Brisnet.com will present Hill with the Rippey Award and $1,000 prize at the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) Awards Dinner on Wednesday, November 2, at The Altadena Town & Country Club in Southern California near Santa Anita Park.
“After profiling everyone from owners, jockeys, and track announcers, I finally had an opportunity this year to profile the member of the racing community closest to my heart: the horseplayer,” Hill said of his muse.
The Ron Rippey Handicapping Media Award is open to any article, blog post or video pertaining to a handicapping topic published (in print or online) in the past year, and this year’s third annual contest featured a record number of submissions.
Two entries received honorable mentions from judges Candice Curtis and Joe Kristufek, and—incredibly—Newsday’s Ed McNamara wrote both: a Kentucky Derby handicapping column, “Why I’m Picking Nyquist,” and his post-Belmont Stakes analysis, “Addressing Gettysburg and Belmont Stakes Conspiracy Theories.”
“Handicapping horse races is both an art and a science, and the ability to produce compelling content about the topic is a specialty that deserves recognition,” Brisnet.com Director of Marketing Ed DeRosa said. “We not only want to acknowledge the good work done in this regard but also encourage people to continue to produce this type of content. Who better to honor than successful handicapper and newspaper columnist Ron Rippey?”
Rippey won the 2006 National Handicapping Championship and was a 10-time qualifier for the prestigious annual event. A beloved regular on the contest circuit, he also wrote about racing and made picks for the Newark Star-Ledger and contributed Spotlight Selections to Brisnet.com for major race days. Rippey died in 2014.
“Ron’s enthusiasm for both playing the game and writing about it was infectious,” DeRosa said. “He wanted to beat you, but he wanted everyone to have fun, too, which is the essence of a good day at the races.”
For more information on attending the NTWAB dinner, visit NTWAB.org.