The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters announced Dec. 28 that Ryan Goldberg has won the 2012 Media Eclipse Award for Writing in the Feature/Commentary category for his article on the strong father-son bond between Eibar and Keiber Coa in "Keiber Coa Presses on a Year After Father's Fateful Spill," which appeared in the Daily Racing Form 'DRF Weekend' edition July 7.
This is the first Media Eclipse Award for Goldberg, a native of West Long Branch, N.J., who resides in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is a freelance contributor to Daily Racing Form. Goldberg earned an Honorable Mention in the 2011 News-Enterprise Writing Media Eclipse category for an article on Lasix, which also appeared in Daily Racing Form.
The 42nd Annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony will be held Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at Gulfstream Park Racetrack and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
"I feel incredibly proud of the work and grateful to receive this honor," said Goldberg. "I grew up reading all of the racing greats who influenced my work, like Bill Nack and Joe Hirsch. "To see my name next to theirs on this award is overwhelming."
Goldberg opens his story about the Coas on February 18, 2011, where Keiber, just one week enrolled at the Laffit Pincay Jockey School in Panama, learns over the phone from his stepmother of his father's horrific fall that day in a race at Gulfstream Park in Florida. Flying home the next day, Keiber finally meets his father after six hours of surgery to repair a C-4 vertebra in his neck. After seeing Eibar in such a perilous condition, the older Coa would not have been disappointed if his son decided against becoming a jockey. But as Goldberg relates, things turned out differently, as over the next 19 months Eibar becomes a successful apprentice jockey while his father, though he will never ride again, experiences a remarkable recovery.
Watching Keiber ride presents uncanny similarities to his father. His back is arched the same, in an almost straight line across. His hands quietly hold a horse's reins high up the neck. He uses the whip the same, a sudden snap to a horse's rear. There is a pleasing fluidity to it all.
Upon reflection, it is also bittersweet. One day Keiber will fall. And his father will be watching, and the defenses he has erected within himself will be tested.
"I tell Keiber accidents happen," Eibar said. "You do have to know that it will happen. You have to be strong that when it does happen you will come back. I talk to him about being safe. The only thing we can wish is that it won't be as bad as what happened to me."
"I intended to write this story about Keiber's recent success," said Goldberg, whose father, Lew, was a trainer on the New Jersey circuit. "But Eibar was extremely revealing about the spill, and spoke of how much he wanted Keiber to grow on his own terms, that the piece become more balanced between the two of them."
Goldberg also gave special thanks to Rich Rosenbush, Daily Racing Form Editor-in-Chief and to DRF Weekend Editor Daniel Kim, "for believing in long-form features pieces as a forum for writers in an age of shrinking news print."
The link to the winning entry is as follows: http://www.drf.com/news/keiber-coa-presses-year-after-fathers-fateful-spill
Honorable mention went to Barbara Livingston for her story on trainer Danny Perlsweig and his former juvenile champion Lord Avie, which appeared in Daily Racing Form on May 26. The panel of judges for the Feature/Commentary Writing category was comprised of Lynne Snierson, former award-winning sportswriter and current freelance journalists covering the racing industry Reid Cherner, sports writer and columnist for USA Today and Hank Wesch, former San Diego Union Tribune racing writer.