We are off to the races! Literally, as The Equiery offices will be closed this afternoon so that the staff can head to Pimlico for the “Ultimate Girls Day Out:” The Black-eyed Susan Stakes, featuring all fillies (and mares) all day!

As sporting fans around their world train their eyes on this weekend’s running of the 142nd Preakness Stakes, The Equiery is pleased to continue to focus those Marylanders behind the scenes who make the Preakness possible and who are an indelible part of the fabric of our equestrian community.

Yesterday, the Maryland Jockey Club recognized two of our particular favorites: Joe Clancy and Jim McCue.

Eclipse-award winning writer Joe Clancy, editor of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, received the David F. Woods Memorial Award for excellence in journalism. (Photo by Equiery intern Sara Gordon)

During Pimlico’s annual Alibi Breakfast yesterday, Thursday, May 18, 2017, Eclipse-award winning writer Joe Clancy, editor of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, received the David F. Woods Memorial Award for excellence in journalism.

Joe was recognized by MJC for “Preakness-winning Desormeaux brothers fueled by early days in Maryland,” a feature on Keith and Kent Desormeaux, trainer and jockey respectively of 2016 Preakness winner Exaggerator, that appeared in the July 2016 edition of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred.

Joe was also recognized with the David F. Woods Memorial Award in 2015 for his story “Horse of a Lifetime,” a news account of the 2014 Preakness Stakes won by California Chrome. Clancy’s brother, Sean, was the recipient of the David F. Woods Memorial Award in 2014.

“The Maryland Jockey Club goes out of its way to pay tribute to quality coverage of the Preakness and I’m honored to receive the David Woods Award, especially when you look at the previous winners,” JOe said. “To be listed with Billy Reed, George Vecsey, Dave Kindred, Bill Christine and all the others is truly a career milestone. Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred is an old-school print magazine and we couldn’t produce it without the support of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and a great team in the office.

“I never know where a story is going when I start, but the Desormeaux brothers were a compelling part of the 2016 Preakness and it was fun to find people who remembered Keith and Kent when they were in Maryland. I work with my brother, but I couldn’t imagine the feeling of winning the Preakness with him. Kent and Keith were gracious with their time and the other interview subjects helped it all come together.”

Joe and his brother Sean established the print publication Steeplechase Times in 1994, and for many years Steeplechase Times and The Equiery shared the same printer in Elkton, and the young publications traded articles and photographs, and Joe was always very generous to The Equiery with his stories.

Steeplechase Times grew to become ST Publishing, owning thisishorseracing.com and The Saratoga Special. In 2013, the publication Steeplechase Times merged with the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred.

Jim McCue received the 2017 Special Award of Merit. (Photo be Equiery Intern Sara Gordon.)

Another Equiery favorite was also honored yesterday: retiring track photographer Jim McCue received the 2017 Special Award of Merit, given by MJC to those who have made a positive impact on the racing industry. In the course of his 48 year career as the official photographer for the Maryland Jockey Club tracks, Jim McCue has documented four Triple Crown champions.

A native of Brookline, Mass. who grew up in Pennsylvania, the 70-year-old, Jim was introduced to racing by his father, Vincent, who owned and raced horses at Laurel, Pimlico, Bowie and Charles Town in the 1960s.

Jim discovered his love and talent for photography while serving with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, graduating from the Army’s photography school in Fort Monmouth, N.J. and serving for a time as an instructor there before becoming assistant to late Maryland track photographer Jerry Frutkoff in 1970.

The two worked together for 33 years until Frutkoff passed away in August 2003 at the age of 81. The Jerry Frutkoff Preakness Photography Award has been presented annually since 2002 to the photographer of the best Preakness picture from the previous year. Jim earned the Frutkoff Award in 2007.

McCue’s job has allowed him to witness the last four horses to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes – Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978) and American Pharoah (2015). He lists Secretariat as his all-time favorite horse.