Veteran broadcaster Tom Hammond of Lexington will be honored by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners with the organization’s 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 Summer and Winter Olympic broadcasts, is the featured honoree at the KTO’s 29th annual awards gala Nov. 19 at Big Spring Country Club in 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.
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.