July 20, 1947 – Nov. 9, 2013
Paul James Moran, a Buffalo native who was one of the nation’s most prominent writers on horse racing, died Saturday in a hospital in Saratoga Springs after a 3½-year battle with lung cancer. He was 66.
During his 22 years as the lead turf writer and sports columnist at Newsday on Long Island, he won two Eclipse Awards for his coverage of thoroughbred racing – in 1985 for a profile of Daily Racing Form columnist Joe Hirsch and in 1990 for his account of the catastrophic injury of champion filly Go for Wand in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff race at Belmont Park. He was known for his memorable images and his acerbic wit.
“Paulie was so smart and funny,” said John Pricci, a former Newsday handicapper and columnist, “even though sometimes his jokes would make you wince.”
Mr. Moran covered his first Kentucky Derby in 1973, when he was sports editor at the Tonawanda News, and reported on all of the Triple Crown races, as well as the Breeders’ Cup races, for the next 35 years.
Born in Buffalo, he attended the University at Buffalo for two years, then enlisted in the Air Force. He served in Vietnam and the Middle East, attaining the rank of sergeant.
Returning to Buffalo, he worked at the Tonawanda News while attending night classes at UB’s Millard Fillmore College.
In 1975, he moved to Florida and joined the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel as a writer and columnist. Ten years later he transferred to Newsday. After he retired to Saratoga Springs in 2007, he continued writing for ESPN.com and covering the annual Saratoga racing season for the Associated Press. His last column for ESPN.com appeared Oct. 28.
He was a co-author of “Crown Jewels of Thoroughbred Racing” and contributed numerous articles to magazines.
Mr. Moran won the Red Smith Award for his Kentucky Derby coverage, along with the Associated Press Sports Editors Award, the Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1990 and the Distinguished Sports Writing Award from the New York Newspaper Publishers Association in 1992.
He served on the board of directors of the National Turf Writers Association from 1987 to 1990 and was president of the New York Turf Writers Association from 1990 to 1992.
In recent years, he owned thoroughbreds trained by H. James Bond. He wished to have his ashes scattered over Go for Wand’s grave in the infield at Saratoga.
His marriages to Kim Maldiner and Colette Stass ended in divorce.
Survivors include his mother, Frances, and four brothers, David, Francis, Robert and James.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete.