HRTV has won the 2010 Media Eclipse Award in the television feature programming category for its documentary "Inside Information: Swale,” about the 1984 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner. The feature aired Feb. 28.
This is the third Media Eclipse Award won by HRTV, but its first for a program that it wrote and produced. HRTV received the Media Eclipse Feature award in 2006 for the Pony Highway production of “On the Muscle” and in 2008 for the Hennegan Brothers’ documentary “The First Saturday in May.”
“Inside Information: Swale,” written and produced by Amy J. Zimmerman, recounts the glorious and tragic story of Claiborne Farm’s talented homebred 3-year-old who achieved the farm’s elusive dream of winning its first Kentucky Derby. The documentary concludes with his shocking and unexplained death just eight days after winning the Belmont. The story is told through the eyes of owners Seth Hancock and his sister Dell of Claiborne Farm and includes interviews with Phil Gleaves and Sandy Bruno, assistants to Swale’s trainer, the late Woody Stephens; Swale’s jockey, Laffit Pincay Jr.; and retired Claiborne manager John Sosby.
“I’m absolutely thrilled for everyone at HRTV involved with this project,” said Zimmerman, who is also executive producer of HRTV, based in Arcadia, Calif. “I have wanted to tell this story for a long time. The year 1984 is remembered for the first Breeders’ Cup and the victories by John Henry, but for five weeks that year there was nothing greater than Swale. We are grateful to Seth and Dell Hancock for letting us tell his story.”
In addition to Zimmerman, Phil Kubel was supervising producer of “Inside Information: Swale.” The program was edited by Steve Scheidler. Joan Ciampi was the field producer. Laffit Pincay III was the narrator.
Honorable mention in the television feature programming category went to CBS News’ “60 Minutes” for its feature “Zenyatta,” which aired Oct. 31, and to WIPB in Muncie Ind., for its documentary “Sculpting the Wind,” about the creation of the Barbaro statue at Churchill Downs, which aired July 10.
Judges in the national television features category were Stu Kirschenbaum of Oak Street Productions; Dave Johnson, television producer, host and longtime racing voice of the Triple Crown: and award winning television producer Toni Slotkin.
The 40th annual Eclipse Awards will be held Monday, Jan. 17, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami, Fla.