NBC Sports Wins National Televison Live Programming Media Eclipse Award For Preakness Telecast
NEW YORK – January 6, 2008 — The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers Association today announced that NBC Sports has won the Media Eclipse Award for National Television – Live Programming, for its telecast of the 2008 Preakness Stakes. This is the eighth consecutive year that NBC Sports has won the award in the National Television Live category.
The Preakness Stakes broadcast aired on May 17, 2008 from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Coming in the wake of the fatal injury to the filly Eight Belles in the Kentucky Derby two weeks before, NBC’s two hour telecast featured an examination of the racing and breeding industry and its response to the tragedy during the first portion of the program. The focus of the telecast then shifted to Big Brown’s challenge to conquer racing’s Second Jewel, and subsequent dominating performance to the delight of his winning connections.
“We are extremely proud of the high standards and passion which our production team and talent demonstrated in winning this prestigious award.” said Sam Flood, coordinating producer of NBC Sports and producer of the Preakness telecast. “Tom Hammond (co-host) set the tone for our show in delivering the stories which make Thoroughbred racing so great, and once the race began, director David Michaels and his team took charge.”
NBC began the broadcast with an overview of issues facing Thoroughbred racing and followed it with a roundtable discussion, monitored by co-host Bob Costas, with Eight Belles’s trainer Larry Jones, Bill Rhoden, columnist for the New York Times, Dr. Larry Bramlege of the Association of Equine Practitioners and NBC racing analyst Gary Stevens. The program also included interviews with NTRA President Alex Waldrop and Big Brown’s trainer Rick Dutrow. NBC covered the Preakness with 28 cameras, including the use of overhead camera in replay, revealing Big Brown’s powerful move away from his rivals in the Pimlico stretch.
“We felt that it was important to address the Eight Belles issue and its impact on racing before getting to the story of the Preakness,” said Flood. “It was essential to cover the story from all angles.”
NBC’s telecast was hosted by Costas and Hammond, who were joined by analyst Gary Stevens, handicappers Bob Neumeier and Mike Battaglia, and reporters Donna Brothers and Kenny Rice. Tom Durkin was the racecaller. The Preakness telecast was produced by Sam Flood and directed by David Michaels. Dick Ebersol and David Neal were executive producers. The roundtable discussion was produced by Rob Hyland and Bruce Cornblatt.
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.