Bob Ford, sports columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer
, has won the Media Eclipse Award for writing in the news/commentary. His column, "Journey to the Winner's Circle Rough for Giacomo's Jockey," appeared in the May 8, 2005 edition of the paper. Written the day of last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the column focused on jockey Mike Smith fulfilling his dream of winning the Derby after a string of Derby disappointments, and recovering from injury.
"I am extremely proud to win this award. Rarely does a sports story start with heartbreak and end as successfully as this one did," said Ford, who has been with the Inquirer
since 1987. "I thought this was a wonderful story, an improbable upset with horse and rider coming out of nowhere. There was a group of writers around [Mike] Smith in the jocks' room and I just locked on and listened to him explain how his owner [Jerome Moss] gave him a $200 win ticket to carry in his boot during the race. I was also taken by George Smith, Mike's father, who has spent a lifetime in this game. Last year, he was the only guy at Philly Park not rooting for Smarty Jones, because his son was riding Lion Tamer, who finished second."
Honorable mention went to Gibson Carothers for his commentary on improving the horse racing business - "The Carrot That Can Save Racing" - which appeared in the September 2005 issue of The Horseplayer Magazine
The panel of judges was comprised of George Solomon, former sports editor of the Washington Post
; Jim Peden, former vice president of communications for The Jockey Club; and Greg Michalson, editor of Unbridled Books.
The 2005 Eclipse Awards will be held Jan. 23 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif.