NBC Sports Wins Television – Live Programming Media Eclipse Award for Kentucky Derby Broadcast

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) today announced that NBC Sports has won the Media Eclipse Award for Television – Live Racing Programming for its broadcast of the 2012 Kentucky Derby. The 2 ½ hour live telecast from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., aired on May 5, culminating with the victory of I’ll Have Another in the 138th “Run for the Roses.”

This is the ninth Media Eclipse Award in the Live Television category for NBC.

“The Kentucky Derby is one of America’s greatest sporting events, said Rob Hyland, coordinating producer of NBC Sports and the producer of the telecast.  “It is a day that uniquely combines atmosphere and competition.  From the 20 horses and their connections, to Millionaires Row and the raucous infield, Derby Day has something for everyone and it is our job to cover the many layers of this great event. Every Derby has a number of captivating storylines and this year was no exception.  Our production team did an excellent job telling the stories of the 138th Kentucky Derby and we are very proud to win this prestigious award’.

The 42nd Annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2013, at Gulfstream Park Racetrack and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage delivered an array of race reporting and insightful background stories on many of the 20 starters in the race, and included features on three-time Derby winning rider Calvin Borel, and Dr. Kendall Hansen, flamboyant owner of one of the pre-race favorites, Hansen. NBC also incorporated celebrity interviews with stars of movies and television from a vantage point overlooking than more 160,000 in attendance.

NBC deployed a total of 48 cameras throughout the Churchill Downs for its telecast, including 18 hard cameras and 14 handhelds. The network also introduced a POV robotic inside the starting-gate stall of eventual runner-up Bodemeister. NBC also utilized its overhead camera in replays to isolate the dramatic surge of I’ll Have Another overtaking Bodemeister in the stretch. The broadcast was punctuated by Brothers’ interview on horseback with the excited reaction of winning jockey Mario Gutierrez and the disappointment of Bob Baffert, trainer of Bodemeister.

In addition to Hyland, as producer, the Derby telecast was directed by Drew Esocoff.  Tom Hammond and Bob Costas hosted the program and were joined by analysts Gary Stevens, Randy Moss, Laffit Pincay III and Jerry Bailey. Jay Privman, Kenny Rice and Donna Brothers were the reporters. Bob Neumeier and Mike Battaglia provided handicapping information and analysis, and Larry Collmus called the race. Catt Sadler of E! News and Jeannie Mai of Style Network joined the broadcast as celebrity and fashion correspondents.

Judges for the National Television – Live Racing category were: Chris Svendsen of CBS Sports; Stan Isaacs, former Newsday sports television columnist and Thoroughbred racing director, and producer Doug Wren of Wren Productions.  Honorable mention in the National Television - Live Programming category also went to NBC Sports for its live broadcast of the Breeders’ Cup Classic from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., which aired on November 3.

The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies. The Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements in North America have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Those awards are voted by NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB). Eclipse Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.

The Eclipse Awards are presented by Daily Racing Form, The Stronach Group and Breeders’ Cup and produced by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). Official Partners of the Eclipse Awards include Adequan, Besilu Stables, Keeneland, Kendall-Jackson, NOA Watches and Roberts Communications. The official hotel of the Eclipse Awards is the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa.

Tickets to the Eclipse Awards are available for $375 each. Order forms for tickets are available at http://www.ntra.com/en/eclipse-awards/2012-2013-awards/. Hotel Reservations at the Westin Diplomat can be made at https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/eclipseawards. For additional information, please contact Michele Ravencraft of the NTRA at mravencraft@ntra.com

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