The Eclipse Awards will be handed out on Monday January 17 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Florida. In addition to all the awards for the equine and human competitors, including the highly anticipated result of Horse of the Year between Zenyatta and Blame, the NTRA, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters will also recognize excellence in media coverage of Thoroughbred racing.
The 2010 Eclipse Award for Feature/Commentary Writing goes to Wright Thompson for "The Legend of Zenyatta" which appeared on espn.com on October 10. The article covered Zenyatta's career through interviews with her human connections. Thompson said, "To win the Eclipse Award is truly a special honor. For the first time I understood what this horse meant to the people who are around her every day. I found people who loved an animal and wanted to see her succeed. It was special to see a relationship like that from the inside. It was a fantastic experience. I am grateful to John Shirreffs and the Mosses to have spent the time and the experience to be around their horse."
This category was judged by Matthew Graves former racing writer and columnist for the Albany Times-Union; Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun; Bob Kieckhefer of United Press International. The decision of the judges was unanimous.
The 2010 Eclipse Award for News/Enterprise Writing goes to Bill Finley for "Do We Need a Sturdier Racehorse? Racing Grapples With Smaller Fields, Fewer Starts," which appeared in Thoroughbred Daily News on November 16. Finley delved into extensive research and probed the minds of racing's major figures from the worlds of training, breeding and equine and human medicine seeking answers as to why Thoroughbreds race less frequently than in prior generations. He said, "I'm thrilled to win this honor. This is the most prestigious award that you can win in Thoroughbred racing and I am glad to have my name added to the list of individuals who have won this award. It is a subject that has always fascinated me. I love the sport. The horses are the stars and they are not racing as much as they used to. I thought it was detrimental to the sport. I wanted to do an in depth study and examine why did horses race 25 times in a year 40 years ago, not five or six like today? I know I didn't solve it, but I tried to shed light on the problem and really tried to examine what's going on."
The category was judged by Jane Goldstein, former publicity director for Santa Anita Park; Mike Brunker of MSNBC.com and George Solomon, Professor of the Practice, the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and former Sports Editor of The Washington Post. Honorable mentions went to went to Tom Keyser for "The Feeling's Mutual," about the bond between horses and humans, which was published in the Albany Times-Union on Aug. 23; and to Jennie Rees for "Jockey Safety: No Sure Bet" for articles that appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal on April 25.