Award-winning horse racing and sports announcer Kenny Rice will host the 37th Eclipse Awards Jan. 21, 2008, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Dec. 21.
Rice, himself an Eclipse Award winner, said he agreed in principle to emcee the awards ceremony.
“This will be a challenge and an honor,” Rice told The Blood-Horse. “For the winners, an Eclipse is a big deal; it’s something you will be identified with for the rest of your life, and it signifies reaching the pinnacle of the sport. I’m pumped about being part of it.”
Rice has contributed reports and interviews to NBC Sports’ Thoroughbred racing coverage since 1999, including the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. He has also appeared on a variety of horse racing shows on the ESPN family of networks, serving as both host and reporter for their various Breeders’ Cup and “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series.
From 1980-99, Rice was the sports director at WTVQ-TV in Lexington, and in 1996, he won a media Eclipse Award for outstanding local TV coverage of Thoroughbred racing. That same year, he was also presented with the Englehardt Award by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association for lifetime achievement in reporting on Thoroughbred racing and breeding.
The Eclipse Awards show is produced by the NTRA in association with TVG. Representatives from the NTRA, the National Turf Writers Association, and Daily Racing Form vote on the Eclipse Awards, which are named after the great 18th century racehorse and sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers.