The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB) today announced that Marcus Hersh has won the 2013 Media Eclipse Award for Writing in the News/Enterprise category for Dubai World Cup: Douglas Back at Racetrack for First Time Since Being Injured,” a report, which appeared in Daily Racing Form on March 26, 2013, from the United Arab Emirates about the former jockey Rene Douglas and Private Zone, a horse Douglas discovered in Panama who was one of the favorites for the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen.
The 43rd Annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony will be held on Saturday, January 18 at Gulfstream Park Racetrack and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla. The Eclipse Awards are presented by Daily Racing Form, Breeders’ Cup and The Stronach Group and produced by the NTRA.
“I’m honored to win the award,” said Hersh, who lives in Chicago and has been with Daily Racing Form since 1999. “The list of names who have won Eclipse Awards in the past gets a great deal of respect from me. You write these stories in the end for other people, not yourself, and it’s rewarding to know they mean something.”
Douglas lost the use of his legs in an accident in May 2009 at Arlington Park. At first, he spurned horseracing while dealing emotionally with the implications of his injury, but he edged back into the sport while engineering the purchase of another Panamanian horse, Golden Moka. The same people that bought Golden Moka – Good Friends Stable, a group from the Chicago area who supported Douglas after his injuries – went in on Private Zone. Most of the owners, Douglas included, followed the horse to Dubai. Hersh’s story documents the positive implications of Douglas’s engagement with Private Zone and his decision to travel to Dubai.
Douglas sounds more like his old self than any time since his injury. He curses and cracks jokes. He has pored over the competition in the Golden Shaheen, a six-furlong race on Meydan’s all-weather track. He says the local Godolphin runner, Mental, is the one to beat. Krypton Factor, last year’s Shaheen winner, isn’t the same this season. Trinniberg, the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner, might be a couple works short of his best, Douglas says, his voice no longer detached, freighted with sadness and anger.
“I was happy when I spoke to Rene and felt his enthusiasm for the experience. To have your life fundamentally changed the way Rene’s was when he got hurt, especially when you’re talking about an athlete, that’s as difficult a thing as you can imagine.” Hersh said. “I wanted to hear how he was approaching this thing, but also to get the story of the horse himself. It’s not just a feel-good thing: Private Zone was a remarkable find.”
The winning entry may be read at the following link: http://www.drf.com/news/dubai-world-cup-douglas-back-racetrack-first-time-being-injured
Hersh also earned an honorable mention in this category for his in depth analysis of Blinkers: A Closer Look at Their Impact on Racehorses, which was published in Daily Racing Form on July 4, 2013. An honorable mention also went to Ray Paulick for Florida Investigation: Vet Said Cibelli Told Him ‘Keep Me Out of It, an investigative article on trainer Jane Cibelli, which was published in the Paulick Report on September 18, 2013. Judges for the News/Enterprise category were Andrew Cohen, contributing editor at The Atlantic and senior legal analyst at CBS News; Ed DeRosa, of Bloodstock Research Information Systems and formerly with the Thoroughbred Times, and Bob Fortus, former racing writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
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.
Tickets to the Eclipse Awards are available for $400 each. Order forms for tickets and the Eclipse Awards weeklong schedule of events are available at http://bit.ly/18TJ0Tx. Hotel Reservations at the Westin Diplomat can be made at http://bit.ly/1kVxdac. Hotel reservations at the Trump International can be made at http://bit.ly/1h8WgXe. For additional information, please contact Michele Ravencraft of the NTRA at firstname.lastname@example.org.