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The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB) today announced that Ryan Goldberg has won the 2012 Media Eclipse Award for Writing in the Feature/Commentary category for his article on the strong father-son bond between Eibar and Keiber Coa in “Keiber Coa Presses on a Year After Father’s Fateful Spill,” which appeared in the Daily Racing Form ‘DRF Weekend’ edition on July 7.

This is the first Media Eclipse Award for Goldberg, a native of West Long Branch, N.J., who now resides in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is a freelance contributor to Daily Racing Form. Goldberg earned an Honorable Mention in the 2011 News-Enterprise Writing Media Eclipse category for an article on Lasix, which also appeared in Daily Racing Form.

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.

“I feel incredibly proud of the work and grateful to receive this honor,” said Goldberg. “I grew up reading all of the racing greats who influenced my work, like Bill Nack and Joe Hirsch. “To see my name next to theirs on this award is overwhelming.”

Goldberg opens his story about the Coas on February 18, 2011, where Keiber, just one week enrolled at the Laffit Pincay Jockey School in Panama, learns over the phone from his stepmother of his father’s horrific fall that day in a race at Gulfstream Park in Florida. Flying home the next day, Keiber finally meets his father after six hours of surgery to repair a C-4 vertebra in his neck. After seeing Eibar in such a perilous condition, the older Coa would not have been disappointed if his son decided against becoming a jockey. But as Goldberg relates, things turned out differently, as over the next 19 months Eibar becomes a successful apprentice jockey while his father, though he will never ride again, experiences a remarkable recovery.  

Watching Keiber ride presents uncanny similarities to his father. His back is arched the same, in an almost straight line across. His hands quietly hold a horse’s reins high up the neck. He uses the whip the same, a sudden snap to a horse’s rear. There is a pleasing fluidity to it all.

Upon reflection, it is also bittersweet. One day Keiber will fall. And his father will be watching, and the defenses he has erected within himself will be tested.

“I tell Keiber accidents happen,” Eibar said. “You do have to know that it will happen. You have to be strong that when it does happen you will come back. I talk to him about being safe. The only thing we can wish is that it won’t be as bad as what happened to me.”

“I intended to write this story about Keiber’s recent success” said Goldberg, whose father, Lew, was a trainer on the New Jersey circuit. “But Eibar was extremely revealing about the spill, and spoke of how much he wanted Keiber to grow on his own terms, that the piece become more balanced between the two of them.”

Goldberg also gave special thanks to Rich Rosenbush, Daily Racing Form Editor-in-Chief and to DRF Weekend Editor Daniel Kim, “for believing in long-form features pieces as a forum for writers in an age of shrinking news print.”

The link to the winning entry is as follows: http://www.drf.com/news/keiber-coa-presses-year-after-fathers-fateful-spill

Honorable mention went to Barbara Livingston for her story on trainer Danny Perlsweig and his former Juvenile champion Lord Avie, which appeared in Daily Racing Form on May 26. The panel of judges for the Feature/Commentary Writing category was comprised of Lynne Snierson, former award-winning sportswriter and current freelance journalists covering the racing industry Reid Cherner, sports writer and columnist for USA Today  and  Hank Wesch, former San Diego Union Tribune racing writer.

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.

Mary Simon Wins Media Eclipse Award for News/ Enterprise Writing

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB) today announced that Mary Simon has won the 2012 Media Eclipse Award for Writing in the News/Enterprise category for ““Added Obstacle,” an examination of the history and current status of the race day medication Furosimide (or Salix), which appeared in Thoroughbred Times on June 9.

This is the second writing Media Eclipse Award for Simon, who grew up in Upland, Calif., and has resided in Lexington, Ky., since 1985. Simon previously won the Media Eclipse for Outstanding Feature Writing in 2000 for Thoroughbred Times.

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.

Simon credits her husband, Mark, former editor of Thoroughbred Times, which ceased publication in September after 27 years, who assigned her the story.

“I am happy to win this for Mark,” said Simon. “He is the best editor in the business and I’m so incredibly proud of the great legacy he left with Thoroughbred Times, especially during this past difficult year.”

In “Added Obstacles,” Simon uses the 25th anniversary of Alysheba’s attempt to win the 1987 Belmont Stakes without Lasix--which was not permitted in New York at that time--as a starting point for examining the history of exercised induced pulmonary hemorrhaging—more commonly known as “bleeding”—and the incorporation of furosimide in US racing. Simon researched equine bleeding back some 500 years and found homemade methods used through the centuries to treat or prevent it.

“This was a soul searching piece for me because I have such mixed feelings about this sport that I love,” said Simon. “And the fact that Alysheba’s Derby was the first I ever covered made the story all the more interesting to me. I had great fun going back in time and researching the history of medication, legal or otherwise, and how it relates it to modern day.”

“In 2012 more than 90% of American racehorses routinely compete on Salix, often in conjunction with the anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone. Our last drug-free Kentucky Derby winner was Grindstone 16 springs ago. Dating back to 1997, 143 of 149 Belmont Stakes starters have competed on Salix, or 96%. Average annual and lifetime starts per runner continues to decline; in 1960, American runners raced an average of 11.31 times as compared with just 6.11 in 2010. Average career starts nosedived from 44 in 1950 to 13 in 2007. Those numbers hardly endorse the assertion that permissive medication “keeps horses racing.”

Honorable Mention in the News/Enterprise category went to Stan Grossfeld for “Photo Finish,” about horse rescue, which appeared in the Boston Globe on September 25. The panel of judges for the News/Enterprise Writing category was comprised of Beverly Smith of the Globe and Mail in Canada, Ed Gray, Thoroughbred journalist, and  Ed DeRosa of Brisnet.com.

Tom Keyser Wins Media Eclipse Award for Birdrun Photograph


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced today that Tom Keyser of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has won the 2012 Media Eclipse Award for Photography for his photo of the start of the Brooklyn Handicap (GII) at Belmont Park. The photo appeared on the Daily Racing Form web site drf.com on July 12.

This is the fourth Eclipse Award for Keyser, who won three while writing for the Baltimore Sun in 1996, 1998 and in 1999 for the Breeders’ Cup Souvenir Magazine. He becomes the first individual to win a Media Eclipse for both writing and photography.

Keyser began taking pictures several years ago to help his partner, Barbara Livingston, who is chief photographer for Daily Racing Form and winner of the Photography Eclipse in 1992 and in 2001. Ironically, Livingston earned an honorable mention in this category.

“I’m embarrassed winning this because Barbara is the real photographer,” Keyser admitted. "Her photograph of Danny Perlsweig and Lord Avie shows the difference between a professional like her and someone who points a camera and shoots like me."

On his reaction to becoming the first person to win a Media Eclipse for both writing and photography, Keyser said, “I'm sort of dumbfounded. I certainly never aspired to be a photographer, and if I wasn't helping Barbara, I wouldn't be doing this. All I can say is: It's funny how the world turns.”

For his winning photo, Keyser stood on the infield platform with his hand-held camera and captured the 6-year-old Birdrun nearly unseating his rider Rajiv Maragh at the start of the Brooklyn. Maragh’s body is draped over Birdrun’s head, with the rider’s right leg in the air. In a terrific feat of athleticism, Maragh recovers and gets back in the saddle to continue the race.

Keyser acknowledged that several others photographers on the stand with him likely captured a similar image.

"I was there for the finish of the race, but because the Brooklyn was a 1 ½ mile race, the start happened right in front of us," Keyser said. "So you photograph it. Most of those pictures you never use, but you never know when a jockey might fly off his horse or something.”

The winning photo was taken with a Canon Mark III with a 70-200 lens f2.8.

Commenting about working as a photographer after more than 40 years as a writer (10 years covering racing for the Baltimore Sun), Keyser said: “I never had any idea how hard photographers work, and I don’t think most reporters do. It's physically demanding -- carrying all that equipment, ducking under rails with cameras draped on your shoulders, kneeling down countless times to check your remote cameras (placed under the rail aimed at the finish), and doing it in all kinds of weather. Also, when I was a reporter, we all got along pretty well. I wouldn't have suspected how competitive, horse-racing photography is."

Honorable mention in the Photography category went to Livingston for her photograph of a Dan Perlsweig caressing his former champion Lord Avie, which appeared in DRF Weekend and to Chris Alpin, for her portrait of 2011 Eclipse Award winning Sprinter  Amazombie, which appeared in the November edition of Horseplayer magazine.

Judges in the Photography category were Michael Lasky of Lasko Photography; former Eclipse Award winning photographer Kim Pratt of Parx Racing and Dan Dry of Power Creative Photography and official Breeders’ Cup photographer.

TOM KEYSER'S ECLIPSE WINNING PHOTOGRAPH

Eclipse Birdruninside

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