Keeneland and Woodbine Entertainment Group were declared co-winners of this year's Simulcast Award at the International Simulcast Conference in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The award gives both tracks the distinction of becoming five-time winners of the prestigious contest. The crystal trophies were sponsored by Post Time Technologies.
The Simulcast Award honors excellence in the presentation of a racetrack's live race product to its simulcast outlets. A panel of five judges selected the winners as best among the 12 North American racetracks entered for consideration.
The judges cited Keeneland's superb, sharp video and multiple paddock cameras as well as the streamlined Trakus presentation providing an enhanced viewing experience. Woodbine's graphics package combined with exceptional commentators impressed the judges, who noted that "At Woodbine, it's all about the horse."
"We are so proud of our broadcast team and this award," Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. "Their dedication to making an outstanding simulcast product comes from their understanding and appreciation for what horseplayers want. It also is a tribute to the teamwork that goes into doing a broadcast of that caliber and to the leadership of our Director of Broadcast Services G.D Hieronymus."
"Our broadcast team is extremely talented and creative, and they take great pride in their work," Hieronymus added. "We thank the judges for this recognition of their effort to provide fans with a quality product."
Keeneland previously won the award in 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2011. Its latest award was for its coverage of the Grade 1 Madison Stakes on April 12.
"I'd like to thank the panel of judges for recognizing what is a great source of pride for Woodbine, the outstanding work of our Broadcast group," said Nick Eaves, Woodbine's CEO. "Congratulations to Doug Flaherty, Senior Director of Broadcasting, and his team for the tremendous honor."
Woodbine Entertainment Group was honored in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010 with the award.
This year's panel of judges consisted of Vic Zast, author, Blood-Horse contributor and former racing executive with Delaware North Companies; Mike Mullaney, former director of media relations at Gulfstream Park and eastern edition editor/national features editor of the Daily Racing Form; Joe Clancy, editor/publisher/owner of ST Publishing, publisher of Steeplechase Times and the Saratoga Special; Gary West, ESPN columnist, former president of the National Turf Writers Association and former racing columnist for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram; and Mike Dorr, who while not at his daytime job as pricing and value creation director for Asurion Inc., is a devoted racing and handicapping enthusiast.
The 12 track entries were the actual simulcast audio and video transmission of a single race sent to wagering outlets. Each entry included the pre-race features, odds, will-pays, commentaries, the actual running of the race, the results and post-race features. Keeneland's winning entry originally aired April 12 and Woodbine's on August 6.
The winning production had noteworthy competition from other vote-getting tracks such as Calder, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Gulfstream and Mohawk. Each received first, second or third-place votes on several ballots.
Previous winners of the award are Churchill Downs (1997), Turfway Park (1998), Penn National (1999), Santa Anita Park (2000-01), Hollywood Park (2002), Los Alamitos (2007) and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (2005).
The International Simulcast Conference is hosted by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations and Harness Tracks of America, in association with the American Greyhound Track Operators Association.