Barbara Livingston’s Eclipse Award-winning image of Tapiture completing his final pre-Kentucky Derby workout in a rainstorm. (Photo courtesy of Daily Racing Form)
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Tuesday, January 6, 2015) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced today that Barbara Livingston has won the 2014 Media Eclipse Award for Photography for her photograph of 3-year-old colt Tapiture working out in a driving rainstorm at Churchill Downs in preparation for the 140th Kentucky Derby. The black-and-white photograph appeared in Daily Racing Form on April 30 of last year.
This is an unprecedented third Photography Eclipse Award for Livingston, from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., who has been the Chief Photographer at Daily Racing Form since 2008. She previously won the award in 1992 for a photograph in The Blood-Horse magazine and in 2001 for an image in The Thoroughbred Chronicle.
Livingston will receive her honor at the 44th annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony, which will be held at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino on January 17. The Eclipse Awards are presented by Daily Racing Form, Breeders’ Cup and The Stronach Group and are produced by the NTRA.
“I’m very proud to record our sport’s history, and it’s an indescribable honor to win three Eclipse Awards,” said Livingston. “I’m very critical of my work but really like this photo, in part because it evokes emotion and excitement – something our sport so often inspires – and it was also taken under very difficult conditions.”
Livingston planned to photograph Tapiture, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and trained by Steve Asmussen, in the colt’s final workout, a half-mile, before the Derby on Monday, April 28. It was raining at 6 a.m. – the time Tapiture was supposed to work, under artificial lights – but he did not work until approximately 6:25 a.m. By then, the poor weather conditions had intensified.
“The storm was so severe, like something in a movie,” Livingston recalled. “There was thunder and lightning and sheets of rain.”
Livingston positioned herself under a trainer’s stand near the final turn, close to the track kitchen, to capture Tapiture and exercise rider Abel Flores. Flores, Livingston says, “is just a little wild. I knew he’d be having a ball out there. A few of my shots show what looks like a smile on his face.”
“Autofocus cameras tend to see rain drops and, with such minimal lighting, can have trouble finding the subject,” Livingston remembered. “It wasn’t easy to convince the camera to choose Tapiture instead of the rain. I think the light source behind them, accentuating the rain, helped make the photo unusual.”
Due to the severity of the storm, Churchill temporarily closed the track soon after Tapiture’s work.
The winning photograph was taken with a Canon Mark IV camera. It can be viewed on the NTRA web page accompanying this release at: http://ntra.com/news-media/press-releases/2015/1/6/livingston-wins-record-third-photography-eclipse-award-for-image-of-tapiture-in-daily-racing-form.
Honorable mention in the Photography category went to Chelsea Durand for a photo of Kate is a Ten vaulting a shadow at Belmont Park, which appeared online in Thoroughbred Racing Commentary on October 22, 2014; and to Matt Wooley of the Paulick Report, for a photograph of Bayern breaking from the gate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which was published on November 2 of last year. Judges in the Photography category were Richard Mackson of USA Today Sports; Kim Pratt of Parx Racing and former Eclipse Award-winning photographer, and Michele McDonald of Full Stride Communications.
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.
About the NTRA
The NTRA 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 Handicapping Championship, NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program, and HORSE PAC, a federal political action committee. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).