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“Journalists, I think, more than other people, seem to crystallize moments in time, to etch those memories deep into our souls. We never know what experiences we might want to draw upon… and so we internalize, and everything, the good and the bad, becomes a part of who we are.” – Claire Novak
Claire Novak is one of Thoroughbred racing’s most recognizable writers. Recipient of the 2011 Media Eclipse Award for Feature/Commentary, the New York Racing Association’s 2013 Joe Hirsch Memorial Award (feature/advance division), and the 2008 Louisville Metro Journalism Award for Sports Writing, she has covered racing for some of the nation’s best-known outlets including The New York Times, ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, the Associated Press, NBC Sports, and Athlon Sports. Currently online features editor for The Blood-Horse Magazine, she headed up the creation of that publication’s longform platform, and oversees the production and development of each longform story published by the company. In June of 2014 the Poynter Institute recognized the pioneering efforts of The Blood-Horse in the longform arena with their article “Doubling down on the Triple Crown, a publication’s gamble pays off.” Blood-Horse longform features won two Eclipse Awards in 2014, while another earned the Wilbur Award for Digital Communications: Multimedia.
Now also involved in video production and video news reporting at The Blood-Horse, Ms. Novak has combined with Scott Tracy of Reel Motion Productions to create popular features such as California Chrome: Groom Raul Rodriguez. She also hosts the company’s analysis program, That Handicapping Show, and served as a guest correspondent for Lady Luck, the seasonal television show produced by horse racing’s leading television network, TVG. In 2009 she was recruited to become the youngest member of that year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships‘ notes team. She is the youngest female member in the history of the team.
As a human-interest reporter with a personal passion for “new journalism,” Ms. Novak writes in the style of legends such as Red Smith, Joe Palmer, and Grantland Rice. Her heroes include Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe. She also writes literary fiction, and her short story “Cry” was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize by the publishers of Stymie Magazine. She is a lifelong equestrian and is therefore intimately acquainted with the sport she covers. She a member of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM), the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association (NTWAB), and the Lexington Young Professionals Association.
Ms. Novak contributed to racing coverage for Hearst Publications’ Albany Times Union every summer at Saratoga Race Course from 2007-2011. Her work has been published in Louisville Magazine, Keeneland Magazine, Kentucky Derby Magazine, and Breeders’ Cup Magazine, among others. She is a contributor to the websites Hello Race Fans! and Kentucky Confidential, penned a regular column for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s NTRA.com., and has been published in multiple books – Second Chance Horses from Eclipse Press and Horsenameographies from Caballo Press of Ann Arbor.
Founder of The Hopeful Farm Foundation, Ms. Novak is also a registered therapeutic riding instructor with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl) and volunteers regularly for Joni & Friends with international and domestic outreach efforts to families who have children with special needs. She is a Chicago native who now lives just outside Lexington with her family, a horse called Bob, and her extremely energetic and semi-trained dogs – an Australian Shepherd/Collie rescue named Vesper and Puppy, a Great Pyrenees mix who is much less originally named but no less-loved.