|Contact: Alicia Hughes, NTRA Communications, (859) 422-2663, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 14, 2019) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association in partnership with EquiLottery Games, the company offering Kentucky’s Win Place Show horse racing lottery game set to debut in March, announced today that Matthew Phillips of Gentryville, IN, has been chosen as the winner of the NTRA’s #JustifyandI selfie promotion, earning a free trip for two to Miami for the January 2019 Eclipse Awards.
The 48th Annual Eclipse Awards, presented by Breeders’ Cup, Daily Racing Form, and The Stronach Group, will be held Thursday, January 24, 2019 at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino.
Phillips’ winning submission was snapped in the aftermath of Justify’s stirring 2 ½-length victory in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) over a rain-soaked Churchill Downs track. As the eventual Triple Crown-winner was led past the stands following his triumph, Phillips jumped at the chance to capture the moment alongside Tonya Johnson, snapping their beaming faces peering out from beneath their rain gear as Justify’s chestnut frame approached.
“I’m truly honored to be able to participate in this,” Phillips said of the #JustifyandI promotion. “Being at the Derby, it was an unbelievable experience watching the race and seeing the fractions he set. I just got caught up in just how great of a horse he is and I said ‘Here, he comes! We’ve got to get our picture.’ It was perfect the way it worked out.”
The winning selfie was selected by a panel of judges and determined based on the quality and composition of the image, virality, originality, and other factors. In addition to offering airfare, two nights of hotel accommodations, and two tickets to the Eclipse Awards, the winning package also includes backstage access at the ceremony, a Friday morning tour of the Gulfstream Park backside to visit Eclipse finalists and Pegasus World Cup contenders, and tickets to the lavish Friday night Eclipse Awards/Pegasus World Cup party in the Gulfstream Park walking ring.
The experience will mark Phillips’ first visit to Gulfstream Park and already figures to be a memorable one as he is set to celebrate his 40th birthday on Jan. 24.
“When I got the news I was like ‘This is just meant to be,’” Phillips said. “It’s just amazing. I was pleasantly surprised.”
“We are thrilled the winner of this contest is a horse racing fan who clearly follows the sport,” said EquiLottery Games CEO Brad Cummings. “Our goals with Kentucky’s Win Place Show, as it pertains to horse racing, are to expand the fan base and increase racetrack and purse revenue. If we can create more fans like Mr. Phillips with our mainstream lottery game approach, we will realize these goals.”
“We thank Kentucky’s Win Place Show for its support of the #JustifyandI promotion along with the many fans who submitted photos of their moment with Thoroughbred racing’s thirteenth Triple Crown winner,” said NTRA Chief Operating Officer Keith Chamblin. “Justify’s campaign was historic on so many levels and we were delighted that fans could share in his journey by participating in this unique promotion.”
Justify became American racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner earlier this year by sweeping the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes (G1), and the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G1). The son of Scat Daddy – ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Bob Baffert for owners China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners – was a perfect six-for-six during his brilliant career and is an Eclipse Award finalist for both Horse of the Year and Champion 3-year-old male honors.
About EquiLottery LLC
The creators of Kentucky’s Win Place Show, a lottery game based on the results of live horse racing being offered by the Kentucky Lottery beginning March of 2019, EquiLottery has evolved into the leader of a new live sports category for state and provincial lotteries. Developing a series of live sports games of pure chance protected by US and Canadian patents, EquiLottery supports its lottery offerings through a series of products and services that make its games plug-and-play for its state lottery customers. These include systems integrations, plug and play mobile apps, video streaming, intellectual property licensing, sports licensing, horsemen negotiations, calendar development, data licensing, second chance raffle prizes and multi-channel marketing support.
About The Eclipse Awards
Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon the Thoroughbred horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective divisions. 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.
About the NTRA
The NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky., is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance; NTRA.com; the Eclipse Awards; the National Horseplayers Championship; NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program; and Horse PAC®, a federal political action committee. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).