Daily Racing Form Takes Multi-Media Eclipse Award

Posted Jan. 3, 2017

Daily Racing Form has won the 2016 Media Eclipse Award in the Audio/Multi-Media and Internet category for “Time Bandits,” which profiled the remarkable longevity of Hall of Fame Jockeys Alex Solis, Mike Smith and Gary Stevens.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) made the announcement today.

The story concept, text and rider profiles of “Time Bandits,” which first appeared on the Daily Racing Form website, DRF.com, on June 6, 2016, were written by Executive Columnist Jay Hovdey, who has won four previous Media Eclipse Awards for writing. Barbara Livingston, a three-time Eclipse Award winning photographer, contributed the main photographs for the entry. Molly McGill produced the video elements of the piece.

Daily Racing Form will be presented the trophy at the 46th Annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony on Jan. 21 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.

“Time Bandits” examined the distinctive philosophies and training routines by which Solis, Smith and Stevens, all in their early 50s, have been able to continue their storied careers. Solis describes his long, meditative hikes on the testing Mount Wilson trails. Smith is an admitted “gym rat” who puts himself through demanding workouts. Stevens, on the other hand, must rely on less physically arduous exercise to accommodate past injuries.

Along the way, headline images appear recalling the struggles each rider has had in recuperating from a multitude of injuries, and how they have learned to accept the reality of fewer opportunities, while still competing successfully against younger talent.

“It was a chance to put a spotlight on the mental and physical challenges that jockeys have as they age, especially those accustomed to such a high level of achievement," said Hovdey. “These are three fascinating guys who have written a lot of racing history.”

From the text:

With their longevity comes great statistical weight. Among them, through May 25 of this year, Stevens, Smith, and Solis have won 15,415 races from 95,029 mounts that have amassed $759,387,334 in purses. They have won 35 Breeders’ Cup events, a pair of Dubai World Cups, and 14 Triple Crown races, and they have ridden a veritable cavalry of great horses, including Silver Charm, Zenyatta, Snow Chief, Point Given, Serena’s Song, Kona Gold, Pleasantly Perfect, Azeri, Holy Bull, Royal Delta, Gentlemen, Sky Beauty, and Winning Colors.

“It was a great collaboration and a bit of a challenge featuring riders over 50, at the tops of their games, and how they stay in shape in different ways,” said McGill. “Instead of a narrator in the video, we thought it was best that they told their own stories, and the edited pieces lined up perfectly with Jay’s story.”

Livingston’s photos provided a time capsule of the changing appearances of each rider through the years.

“It’s just amazing to have photographed these three since the late 1980s, and view them through different levels of maturity and not to hide what they’ve been through over the years,” said Livingston. “It’s built into their nature, and it’s an incredible honor for me to photograph them and never take for granted what they have all meant to us.”

Also contributing for Daily Racing Form on “Time Bandits” were Web Producers Neil Bisman and Matt Brennan; Jim Sewastynowicz, Photography Editor; Jody Swavy, Editor in Chief and Irwin Cohen, Senior Editor.

The winning entry may be viewed here.

Honorable mention in the Audio/Multi-Media and Internet category went to Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) for its live coverage of the 2016 Kentucky Derby, which aired on May 7, 2016; and to the Louisville Courier-Journal for its “24 Hours at Churchill Downs,” a multi-media presentation which appeared on the publication’s website on May 3, 2016.

Judges in the Audio and Multi-Media and Internet category were Michael Adolphson, Media Specialist at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots; John Lee, Executive Director at Goodman Media International; and Joe Withee, Director of Broadcast Publicity at Emerald Downs.

Tickets to the Eclipse Awards are available for $425 each. Dinner tickets and reservations for the official event hotels – the Turnberry Isle Miami and the Grand Beach Hotel – can be accessed by contacting Casey Hamilton of the NTRA at chamilton@ntra.com.

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.

--Edited NTRA release