Digital Kitchen, Hennegan Brothers Win TV Feature Eclipse

Posted Jan. 4, 2016

Digital Kitchen’s production of “Ironman Perry Ouzts,” directed by the Hennegan Brothers,  has won the Media Eclipse Award for Television – Feature.

An announcement of the honor was made today by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the NTWAB.

The documentary tells the story of 61-year-old journeyman jockey Perry Ouzts and aired on AT&T U-Verse Sports on Aug. 15, 2015, This is the second Eclipse Award for Brad and John Hennegan, who won the Television Features category in 2008 for “First Saturday in May.” A trophy will be presented to the Hennegan brothers at the 45th Annual Eclipse Awards dinner on 16, at Gulfstream Park.

The documentary captured a few days in the life of the 11th leading Thoroughbred jockey of all time. Cameras followed Ouzts during his daily routine at Belterra Park in Cincinnati, working four to five horses in the morning and then riding as many as nine races in the afternoon, a job he has been doing for 42 years. The program includes interviews with trainer W. J. Danner, jockey John McKee and Ouzts’s wife, Toni, who works as a groom at Belterra.

“It’s amazing,” said Brad Hennegan on learning the news of again winning the Eclipse Award. “We’re big fans of horse racing, and we love telling stories about the hard working people that are there day in and day out. There are no days off at the track.”

Ouzts is originally from Riverdale, Arkansas and a cousin of Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires. He's currently the third leading rider in mounts of all time, with more than 47,928 races ridden, trailing only Russell Baze and Laffit Pincay Jr. He had 6,554 wins through Jan. 3. He began riding in 1973 and, according to his estimation, has broken more than 40 bones during his riding career.

Brad Hennegan credits Belterra and River Downs publicist John Engelhardt for bringing Ouzts’s story to their attention through Engelhardt’s Facebook news feed.

“We found articles about Perry crashing his Harley Davidson, then getting patched up with duct tape and winning the Daily Double back at the track later that day,” recalled Hennegan. “He seemed like one tough SOB, and so we wanted to meet this amazing athlete.”

Runner up honors in the Feature television category went to Maryland Public Television for “Racing the Times,” a documentary on the history of Thoroughbred racing in Maryland, produced by Nicolas Carter of Rubicon Productions, which first aired on Maryland Public Television on May 15, 2015.
Judges for the National Television – Features category were Karen Johnson, author, racing journalist and television producer; Stephen Nagler, Chief Executive at SCN Communications, and Chris Svendsen of CBS Sports.

Edited NTRA release