The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced Jan. 3 that NBC Sports has won the Media Eclipse Award for Television—Live Racing Programming for its broadcast of the 2016 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), featuring the dramatic duel between Arrogate and California Chrome .
This is the 13th Media Eclipse Award in the Live Television category for NBC.
The one-hour live primetime telecast from Santa Anita Park aired on NBC Nov. 5 of last year. NBC will be presented its trophy at the 46th Annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony, which will be Jan. 21, at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla. The Eclipse Awards are presented by Daily Racing Form, Breeders' Cup and The Stronach Group, and produced by the NTRA.
As the culminating event of the 33rd Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park, NBC set the scene for the $6 million Classic, utilizing a full array of talent and production capabilities. The program focused on the overall prowess of pre-race favorite, the 5-year-old California Chrome—North America's all-time richest horse—against the 3-year-old Arrogate, the lightly-raced Travers Stakes winner. Incorporating various camera angles around Santa Anita, NBC captured the excitement as California Chrome's lead dwindled in the final yards and Arrogate prevailed.
The post-race analysis was heightened by Arrogate's jockey, Mike Smith, in close conversation with the winner's trainer, Bob Baffert, as the rider pointed out strategic moves he made at the top of the stretch to propel Arrogate to victory.
"Nearly 40 cameras were deployed to showcase two incredible days of racing set against the beautiful backdrop of Santa Anita Park and the San Gabriel Mountains," said Rob Hyland, coordinating producer of NBC Sports Group's horse racing coverage. "Our production team did an excellent job covering the dramatic finish of the Breeders' Cup Classic between California Chrome and Arrogate. NBC Sports is fully committed to growing the sport of horse racing, and I am extremely proud of the high standards and passion our entire production team has for this sport."
The Breeders' Cup World Championships broadcast was produced by Billy Matthews and was directed by Jeff Simon. NBC Sports Group's coverage of the Breeders' Cup Classic was hosted by Mike Tirico and Tom Hammond, a veteran NBC Sports commentator; analysts were Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey, the Hall of Fame jockey and five-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner; handicappers Bob Neumeier and Eddie Olczyk; reporters Donna Brothers, Nick Luck, Carolyn Manno, Laffit Pincay III and Kenny Rice. Larry Collmus was the race caller.
Judges for the National Television—Live Racing category were: Stephen Nagler, chief executive at SCN Communications; Toni Slotkin, former ABC Sports award-winning producer, and Joel Feld, Executive vice president, ONE World Sport, and former executive producer at NESN and the CBS Sports Network. NBC Sports also earned an honorable mention in this category for its live telecast of the 2016 Kentucky Derby, which aired May 7.