Not all that long ago, the two most coveted sports-journalism beats were boxing and horse racing. This, of course, was when the NCAA didn't permit

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Best Sportswriter

Larry Lee Palmer

Not all that long ago, the two most coveted sports-journalism beats were boxing and horse racing. This, of course, was when the NCAA didn't permit freshmen to play or players to dunk, when NASCAR was Winston Cup, and when the only people who gave two shits about Winston Cup were chaw-spittin' rubes from the Carolinas. Times obviously have changed. These days, pro boxing has all the legitimacy of WWE Raw, and most folks only pay attention to horse racing on the first weekend of May. But Larry Lee Palmer isn't most folks; he eats, sleeps, and drinks the sport of kings, at least when the thousand-pound thoroughbreds are running in Auburn. As the P-I's fedora-clad horse-racing scribe, Palmer, an accomplished off-track poet, writes in a regal manner befitting the sport's once-great status. Rather than trying to dumb the proceedings down for the vast majority of readers who don't know the first thing about the sport's finer points, Palmer opts to draw people in by means of linguistic seduction and romantic imagery. At this, he generally succeeds—brilliantly, at times.—Mike Seely

 
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