NBC Named for 11th Eclipse Award

Originally posted Jan. 5, 2015

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced on Jan. 5 that NBC Sports has won the Media Eclipse Award for Television – Live Racing Programming for its broadcast of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic. The one-hour live primetime program from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., aired on Nov. 1, 2014.

This is the 11th Media Eclipse Award in the Live Television category for NBC.

NBC’s Breeders’ Cup broadcast of the Classic combined the aura of Hollywood celebrities, a breathtaking setting and the backdrop for North America’s richest race, and one that could decide the Horse of the Year. The 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic featured a star-studded field of horses including Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist, the undefeated Shared Belief and the front-running Bayern, who won the race amid a controversial start which resulted in a stewards’ inquiry after the finish.

NBC utilized a full array of talent and production in live and pre and post- race coverage of the Classic, including including the live race call by Larry Collmus, multiple replays of the gate break of the race and supporting analysis from Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss. During the tense minutes of the stewards’ inquiry, NBC talent conducted interviewers with Bayern’s jockey Martin Garcia, and Mike Smith, who rode Shared Belief, and winning trainer Bob Baffert, before the results became official.

“Our production team did an excellent job telling the stories of this year’s Classic and documented the drama surrounding the controversial start of the race by winning horse Bayern,” said NBC Sports Group Coordinating Producer Rob Hyland. “Nearly 40 cameras were deployed to showcase an incredible two days of racing set against the beautiful backdrop of Santa Anita Park and the San Gabriel Mountains. NBC Sports is fully committed to growing the sport of horse racing and I am extremely proud of the high standards and passion our entire production team has for this sport. On behalf of the dedicated men and women who work on NBC’s horse racing coverage, I am honored to accept this prestigious award for the third consecutive year.”

In addition to Hyland, as producer, the Breeders’ Cup Classic broadcast was directed by Pierre Moossa. Tom Hammond and Josh Elliott hosted the program. Moss and Bailey were the analysts, and were joined by reporters Laffit Pincay III, Kenny Rice, Donna Brothers, Nick Luck and Carolyn Manno. Eddie Olczyk was the handicapper.

The 44rd Annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony will be held on Saturday, January 17, at Gulfstream Park Racing & 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.

Judges for the National Television – Live Racing category were: Jack Coffey of Eclipse Productions; Chris Svendsen of CBS Sports, and Patti Wolfe, former ABC Sports producer. Honorable mention in the National Television – Live Programming category also went to NBC Sports for its live broadcast of the Belmont Stakes from Belmont Park in New York, which aired on June 7.

Tickets to The Eclipse Awards ceremony are on sale for $400 each or $4,000 for a table of 10, also via Ravencraft. For reservations, please contact Michele Ravencraft of the NTRA at mravencraft@ntra.com, or call (859) 422-2657. For more information on The Eclipse Awards, visit ntra.com/eclipse-awards.

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.