The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that NBC Sports has won the Eclipse Award for National Television - Live Racing, for its production of the 2005 Preakness Stakes and has also won the Eclipse Award for National Television - Features, for its segment on the people behind Afleet Alex during its 2005 Kentucky Derby telecast.
The Preakness telecast, produced by David Michaels, aired on May 21 from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. As part of the 90-minute Preakness show, NBC focused on the near fall and then dramatic recovery of race winner Afleet Alex at the top of the stretch, utilizing a wide array of replay angles coupled with reporting from its talent at trackside.
"After a truly amazing year of Thoroughbred racing, it is a great honor to win the 2005 Eclipse Award for Live Television," said Michaels, who produced NBC Sports' Triple Crown coverage. "Our racing team at NBC puts their heart and soul into each telecast. This year's Preakness Stakes was a race for the ages and it is truly fulfilling to win an Eclipse Award for it. Many thanks go to Joe and Karin De Francis at Pimlico for providing the terrific support which allowed us to do our work at the highest level."
Judges for the National Television - Live Racing category were: Stan Isaacs, former Newsday television sports columnist; Bud Lamaroux, former CBS Sports producer and Mike Sheehan, director, HBO Sports.
The National Television - Features award winner on the story behind Afleet Alex, which aired on the May 7 Derby telecast, was produced by Scott Boggins. NBC told the story of Alexandra "Alex" Scott, who lost her battle to cancer in August 2004 at age eight, and had established her first lemonade stand when she was age four to help raise money for her hospital. Soon "Alex's Lemonade Stands" were popping up throughout the country to fight pediatric cancer - an initiative that gained even more momentum when the Afleet Alex team threw its support behind "Alex's Lemonade Stands" in 2004. NBC conducted interviews with members of Cash is King Stable, the owners of Afleet Alex, and with Afleet Alex's breeder, John Silvertand, who is also a cancer patient.
Commenting on the National Television Features award, Michaels added, "The Afleet Alex story provided Thoroughbred racing with one of the most compelling stories ever. I'm proud that Scott Boggins was able to capture the essence of the story and win an Eclipse Award. Scott brings great passion to his work and it's great to see him recognized for it."
Honorable mention in the National Television Features category went to TVG for "Breeders' Cup Video Diary: Singletary," produced by Scott Eberly, which aired on December 12, 2004 and to NTRA Productions for its segment on "Kentucky Derby History," produced by Tom Dawson, from the "NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby" telecast, which aired on NBC on April 9, 2005.
Judges in the National Television - Features category were Rob Duboff of Hawk Partners Productions; Joel Feld, producer, New England Sports Network, and Paul Lucey, producer, Fox Sports Net.
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 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 2005 Eclipse Awards will be held on Monday, January 23, 2006 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif. For hotel accommodations and Eclipse Awards dinner reservations, contact Debbie Blair at the NTRA's Lexington office, (800) 792-6872, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.