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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, Jan. 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 prerace 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 Nov. 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.

 

ESPN Wins Television-Features Media Eclipse Award For E:60 Segment

 ESPN’s news-magazine show “E:60” won the 2012 Media Eclipse Award in the Television-Features programming category for “Notinrwildestdremz,” the story of a rescued and neglected Thoroughbred filly who makes a dramatic recovery to become a racehorse. The feature segment, which aired on October 30, was produced and directed by Heather Lombardo.

This is fifth Media Eclipse Award in the Features category won by ESPN.

“It’s a great honor to win an Eclipse Award,” said Lombardo, a Features Manager at ESPN since 2000. “To be recognized on the same night as the elite horses and people who make a historical impact on Thoroughbred racing is a huge thrill.”   

Written and narrated by seven-time Media Eclipse Award winner Bill Nack, the story of “Notinrwildestdremz” began on April 8, 2009 with the raid on Center Brook Farm in upstate New York and the discovery of 177 abandoned and malnourished horses. The local Humane Society took care of the horses and put them up for adoption. Of those interested in adopting were Angelica Hala-Kerr and her husband Sean Kerr of Brooklyn, N.Y., who adopted three of them, one of whom was a to be named Notinrwildestdremz.

Following a long period of recovery and rehabilitation, the Kerrs saw a feisty demeanor in Notinrwildestdremz and the possibility that she could actually become a racehorse. They put her in the care of trainer Billy Turner, who conditioned 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. Turner relates the long odds facing malnourished horses to ever becoming racehorses, but “Dremz” turned out to be the exception. She was entered on April 22 at Aqueduct in New York. With the Kerr’s looking on, the owners’ hearts were broken when the filly acted up at the gate and was subsequently scratched. One month later at Belmont Park in New York, she was entered again. This time, Notinrwildestdremz got out of the gate and completed the race, running last to the applause of the Kerrs, who delighted in seeing their filly actually make it to the races.

“During production, we were hoping the filly would win - to get that ‘Hollywood ending’.  But the emotion that poured out of everyone when she came in last made for an even better story – it was real,” said Lombardo, who also owns a rescued 15-year-old Thoroughbred.  “It truly was a victory in defeat.”    

In addition to the production and writing of Lombardo and Nack, “Notinrwildestdremz” was edited by Tim Horgan and Matt McCormick of Bluefoot Entertainment. Tony Melfi, Kevin Raullerson Bryan Brousseau and Phil Iglesias were the cameramen. Andy Tennant is the executive producer of “E:60”.

The Award winning entry may be viewed here.

Honorable mention in the Television – Features category went to HRTV for “Inside Information”, featuring a documentary on the Eclipse Award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez and his recovery from injury.

Judges in the Television – Features category were  Jim Bannon, Television Commentator at Woodbine Entertainment Group; Peter Lasser of Lasser Productions, and Howard Sudberry, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Arlington Park, and former sports director at WBBM-TV in Chicago.

 

Glenye Cain Oakford Wins Multimedia Eclipse Award

Glenye Cain Oakford of Daily Racing Form won the 2012 Media Eclipse Award in the Audio/Multi-Media Internet category for “Zenyatta: Wait for First Foal Combines Science, Art and Anticipation,” which appeared on DRF.com on February 28.

With heightened interest of the impending birth of 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta‘s first foal, Oakford, of Lexington, Ky., developed a multimedia project which captured a behind the scenes look at the people who are responsible for the demanding and often exhausting world of late night foaling of Thoroughbreds. Oakford combined online text of the basics, and potential problems, of the foaling process with a video she filmed, produced and narrated of Eduardo Terrazas and his night-watchman at Terrazas Thoroughbreds, assisting in the birth of a new foal.  

“I'm thrilled. It's tremendously energizing and heartening to earn this recognition from one's colleagues, and I will treasure it,” said Oakford, who is senior bloodstock correspondent for Daily Racing Form. “But what makes this most special to me is that the Eclipse Award is also the racehorses' championship. To be placed in their company is very humbling and an honor indeed.

“Night-watching during foaling season might look like someone just sitting around in a barn all night, but in fact it's a season-long test of endurance that is fraught with tension and worry,” said Oakford. “Still, it's also about sweet anticipation, and the reward is so obvious when a mare delivers her foal safely. The public doesn't often get to see that drama, and I hoped through the video and story they could. I'm very grateful to Eduardo and night-watchman Troy Saylor for telling that story so eloquently and in such touching, honest, personal terms."

From the accompanying online text of the entry:

The long wait and the thrill of anticipation are familiar to Thoroughbred breeders around the world, whether they wait up with their mares themselves or await a manager’s midnight phone call announcing a foal’s arrival, the moment that pedigrees on paper take living form. Especially for those who sit through the night watching for signs of imminent labor, the season between January and early June is an exercise in patient endurance.

The entry can be viewed here

Honorable mention in the Audio/Multimedia Internet category went to Paulick Report “Breeders’ Cup or Bust: Stories from the Southwest,” which focused on efforts to save ex-racehorses in New Mexico.

Judges in the Audio and Multimedia Internet category were Mike Kane, Thoroughbred journalist; Michael Brunker of MSNBC.com and Brian Nadeau of Horseplayer Now.

 

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