American Pharoah's Belmont Win Nabs Photo Eclipse for Clevenger

Posted Jan. 12, 2016

Michael Clevenger, veteran photographer for the Louisville Courier-Journal, was named today to receive a 2015 Media Eclipse Award for Photography for his shot of American Pharoah winning the Belmont Stakes.

Clevenger’s photo was taken from the inside rail and captures Victor Espinoza glancing back at the field as the Triple Crown winner crossed the finish line before 90,000 jubilant fans. American Pharoah is in full flight with all four feet in the air. The photo appeared in the Courier-Journal on June 7, the day after the race. Clevenger's is the third 2015 Eclipse for the newspaper's staff; Jennie Rees and Tim Sullivan were honored for their reportage.

It's the third Photography Eclipse Award for Clevenger, who also won the honor in 2002 and in 2010 for photos published in the Courier-Journal.

Clevenger is a co-honoree with Scott Serio, who earlier was also named to receive an Eclipse Award for his photograph of American Pharoah galloping at Keeneland during Breeders’ Cup week.

The award announcements were made by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the NTWAB. According to their release, Clevenger’s photo was submitted in proper form before the deadline but was inadvertently not seen by the photography judges. Last week, the Eclipse Awards Steering Committee convened the judges to review the situation, and it was determined that Clevenger’s photo should be honored along with Serio’s.

Edited release with additional content by Dick Downey