Smithwick won for “Flying Change,” a memoir about his return to steeplechase racing after a 25-year hiatus. The book chronicles the nine months of training for and competing in the 1999 Hunt Cup and is a sequel to his 2006 memoir “Racing My Father.” Smithwick is the son of legendary steeplechaser A.P. Smithwick.
Established in 2006, The Tony Ryan award is given by Castleton Lyons, a thoroughbred racing facility in Lexington, Ky. The award is named after the founder of Ryanair, an Irish budget airlines, who acquired the farm in 2001.
Smithwick will receive $10,000. The finalists included “The Garrett Gomez Story: A Jockey’s Journey Through Addiction and Salvation” by Rudolph Valier Alvarado and “Kentucky Derby Dreams: The Making of Thoroughbred Champions” by Susan Nusser”