The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has announced that Matt Goins of Lexington, KY, has won the 2006 Media Eclipse Award for Photography for his picture of apprentice jockey Julien Leparoux hanging over the head of his mount, Sanibel Storm, in the stretch at Keeneland Race Course on April 28. The photograph appeared in the sports section of the Lexington Herald-Leader on April 29, and was subsequently picked up in other publications.
During the sixth race of the final day of Keeneland's spring meeting, Dogwood Stable's 2-year-old filly Sanibel Storm ducked into the inside rail approximately 1/16 of a mile from the finish line. With a packed grandstand as background, Goins's photo captured Leparoux facing the camera as the rider vaults over the head of his mount prior to somersaulting into the infield. Both rider and horse were unhurt.
A large version of the winning Eclipse Award photo may be viewed here or you can buy a print.
"I'm a very lucky guy," said Goins, who turned 36 last week. "This is one of the greatest thrills of my life. Before I blew out the candles on my birthday cake I wished I would win the Eclipse Award."
Goins, a commercial photographer for 15 years, added that he should not have been at Keeneland that day, having undergone an appendectomy 16 days earlier. "I should have been home resting, but I took the assignment to cover the final day of the racing on the old main track before construction of the Polytrack surface. I was about 20 feet from the spot when Julien went head over heels. I was really glad that both he and the filly were all right."
The panel of judges in the Photography category was comprised of Ed Reinke, The Associated Press; Jim Gensheimer, San Jose Mercury News and Mike Kane, National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The decision of the judges was unanimous.
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 2006 Eclipse Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, January 22, 2007 at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel 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.