first_imgLongtime Breeders’ Cup host receiving Jones AwardVeteran broadcaster Tom Hammond — the thoroughbred-racing icon who also is one of network sports’ most versatile stars — will be feted by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners with the organization’s prestigious Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award.Hammond, the anchor of NBC’s Breeders’ Cup coverage since its 1984 inception and a fixture on the Summer and Winter Olympic broadcasts, is the featured honoree at the KTO’s 29th annual awards gala Nov. 19 at Big Spring Country Club, 5901 Dutchmans Lane, Louisville. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7. Tickets are available for $125, including dinner and drinks, by contacting Marlene Meyer at 502-458-5820. Churchill Downs’ John Asher is the emcee.The Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions to Kentucky racing and sharing the passion exemplified by Jones, founder of Oldham County’s renowned Hermitage Farm and who spent 50 years on the Churchill Downs board, including eight as chairman during the iconic track’s resurgence. Jones was the inaugural winner in 1988, six years before his death. (Past winners in separate attachment.)Hall of Fame sports journalist Billy Reed calls Lexington’s Hammond “one of the most recognizable and admired network sports TV stars in the industry’s history.”Hammond graduated from Lafayette High School, lettering in football and basketball, and the University of Kentucky. He started out reading race results at radio station WVLK. He became sports director at NBC affiliate WLEX-18, leaving after 10 years to form Hammond Productions, leading to his role as play-by-play man for Southeastern Conference basketball telecasts.Hammond also started a long association with Keeneland as an announcer at the famed thoroughbred auctions. His voice and knowledge of horse racing caught the attention of NBC, which hired Hammond for its team broadcasting the first Breeders’ Cup at Hollywood Park. He later would become the voice of NBC’s Olympic track and field coverage, for which he has called all nine of sprint icon Usain Bolt’s gold medals.About the KTO: The Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners is an educational and social organization dedicated to the betterment of racing in the state. Membership is open to anyone interested in the sport, including prospective owners. More information, including applying for membership, at LinkEmailSharelast_img