Shirley Day Smith, fixture among racing media, dies at 99

Updated 9/21/2018 4:18 PM

NEW YORK -- Shirley Day Smith, who spent more than 60 years as an assistant in the press office of the New York Racing Association and its predecessors, has died. She was 99.

Friends and colleagues say she died Thursday after a brief illness at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside.

Smith retired from NYRA in the mid-1990s. She was the backbone of the New York Turf Writers Association and was popular nationwide among horse racing media. She received the National Turf Writers Association's Joe Palmer Award for meritorious service.

Her institutional memory ran deep. In October 1991, there was a triple dead heat at Belmont Park. She quickly noted the track would need many copies of the photo-finish picture.

Said Smith: "Because I remember we did the last time it happened" - the 1944 Carter Handicap.

Smith lived in Lido Beach.

A funeral is planned for Monday in Point Lookout.

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