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2004 Media Eclipse Awards


Eclipse Award

Dateline: 01/03/2005

Bill Christine of the Los Angeles Times Wins Media Eclipse Award for News/Commentary Writing

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that Bill Christine has won the Media Eclipse Award for Writing in the News/Commentary category for his article "Kayak II" that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on December 24, 2003. The article explores the circumstances surrounding the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap, in which Kayak II finished second to his stablemate, Seabiscuit. This is the second time that Christine, a resident of Redondo Beach, Calif., has won a Media Eclipse Award. A Los Angeles Times writer since 1982, Christine also won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Newspaper writing in 1984.

"With all the attention Seabiscuit garnered in 2003, I thought that the forgotten horse, Kayak, got lost in the shuffle," Christine said. "As I researched it a little more, I learned what a great horse he was. Had he beaten Seabiscuit that day, his career may have changed. He was a terrific horse with Hall of Fame credentials."

Honorable mention in the Writing - News/Commentary category went to Sean Clancy for "Emptiness No Win Could Fill" about Angel Cordero, Jr., which appeared in Daily Racing Form on August 20, 2004, and to Tim Layden, whose article "Why America Loves Smarty Jones," appeared in Sports Illustrated on May 10, 2004.

The panel of judges for the Writing - News/Commentary category was comprised of Shailagh Murray of The Wall Street Journal; Dale Austin of the Annapolis Sunday Capital and Steve Wulf of ESPN, The Magazine.

Mike Jensen Wins Media Eclipse Award for Feature/Enterprise Writing for Philadelphia Inquirer Series on Smarty Jones

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that Mike Jensen has won the Media Eclipse Award for Writing in the Feature/Enterprise category for his series of articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the run of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones through last year's Visa Triple Crown. Jensen, a staff writer for the Inquirer since 1988, traced the story of Smarty Jones, trainer John Servis, owners Pat and Roy Chapman and an array of individuals working behind the scenes, from May 1 through August 6 of 2004. This is the first time that Jensen has won a Media Eclipse Award.

"This was easily the most fun and the most intense six weeks I've had in the sports writing business," said Jensen a resident of Media, Pa. "The people involved with Smarty Jones were real life stories, and this was a great sports story, even if he had lost the Kentucky Derby. There was a new story developing almost every day and it wasn't hard getting out of bed in the morning to cover this.''

Honorable mention in the Features/Enterprise Writing category went to Pete Perkins of the Arkansas Democrat for a series of articles titled "Thrills and Spills: Jockeys Ride for the Rush..." that appeared on March 7, 2004, and to Lenny Shulman, for "Life After Racing," which explored the retirement and rehabilitation of ex-racehorses, and appeared in The Blood-Horse on February 28, 2004.

The panel of judges for the Features/Enterprise Writing category was comprised of Greg Michalson, co-publisher of Unbridled Books; Reid Cherner of USA Today, and author Jane Schwartz.

Eclipse Awards are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.

The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and 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 2004 Eclipse Awards will be held on Monday, January 24, 2005 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, California.

On to the awards for national TV

On to the awards for local TV and radio

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