Horse Racing Alberta, the TV company that produced the live telecast of the Alberta Derby for CTV affiliate CFCN in Calgary, Alberta, has won the 2007 Media Eclipse Award for best local television, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Dec. 21.
The one-hour telecast was televised June 16 and was produced by Jeff Robillard and Bruce Yost in association with Whiteiron Productions.
"We've been producing horse racing for over 10 years here and it's a thrill to win an Eclipse Award," said Robillard. "We are truly honored to accept this award on behalf of the 8,000 men and women who work in horseracing in the province of Alberta.
“This year's broadcast was bittersweet for us, because it was to be the last Alberta Derby to be run at Stampede Park, which has been conducting racing for 117 years. We woke up to downpours of rain that morning, and in some case we had to fly by the seat of our pants, but all in all that's live TV. It was a tremendous show for us."
In addition to the live production of the Alberta Derby, Horse Racing Alberta crafted the program as a tribute to Stampede Park, weaving historical elements into the program. Jonathan Huntington and Crystal Leriger co-hosted the broadcast, and were joined by field reporter Dawn Lupul. Mike Little produced the historical segments on the program.
Earlier this month, the CTV Calgary broadcast of the Alberta Derby was also honored with a Sovereign Award as Outstanding Film/Video/Broadcast for Thoroughbred racing in Canada. Horse Racing Alberta was an honorable mention in the local television category for a Media Eclipse Award in 2006 for its documentary on Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) hopeful Brother Derek.
Honorable mention in the local television category this year went to WAVE-TV in Louisville for its live coverage of Kentucky Derby Day on May 5. WAVE won the best local television media Eclipse in 2004 and 2005.
Judges for the local television category were Jack Coffey of Eclipse Productions; Stuart Kirshenbaum of Oak Street Films and Jay Posner of the San Diego Union Tribune.
The 37th Annual Eclipse Awards will be presented Jan. 21, 2008 at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.