HBO Sports Wins Eclipse Award
Photo: Barbara Livingston
The story of Barbaro has garnered HBO Sports the 2007 Media Eclipse Award in the national television feature programming category.
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The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 3 that HBO Sports has won the 2007 Media Eclipse Award in the national television feature programming category for its documentary “Barbaro,” which aired June 6 of last year. 

The one-hour program documented the life story of the 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro, who captured the public’s imagination through his accomplishments on the racetrack and his will to live following his injury in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) that ultimately led to his death last January.

"HBO Sports is honored to accept this very prestigious award,” said Ross Greenburg, president of HBO Sports. “We want to thank Gretchen and Roy Jackson (Barbaro’s owners) for their generous support on the project, and of course Barbaro for reminding the world of its love of animals."

In chronicling “Barbaro,” HBO used archival footage of the colt as a weanling and his triumphant early races, and included interviews with the Jacksons throughout the film. The program also contained interviews with trainer Michael Matz; assistant Peter Brette; jockey Edgar Prado; and Dr. Dean Richardson, chief of surgery at the John D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the New Bolton Center.

The program also examined the events surrounding Barbaro’s injury during the Preakness; the role of the medical staff at Pimlico Race Course; and the attendants who helped Barbaro into the horse ambulance after the race.

The main focus of the documentary, however, was on Barbaro’s owners.

“The film came together after we met the Jacksons,” said Margaret Grossi, who produced the documentary. “We recognized that they were making a genuine effort to save the horse. They never veered in their conviction and never relinquished hope. They handled all of the ups and downs with a lot of class.”

Greenburg and Rick Bernstein were executive producers of “Barbaro,” and the documentary was written by Frank Deford. Mary Carillo, who wrote the original treatment, acted as story editor, while Liev Schreiber was the narrator. Original music was scored by Brian Keane.

Barbaro documentaries also accounted for the two honorable mentions in the national television features programming category. One went to HorseRacing TV for “Barbaro: A Race to Save His Life,” which aired June 3, 2007. Amy Zimmerman was executive producer. Honorable mention also went to NBC Sports for “Barbaro: A Nation’s Horse,” which aired May 5, 2007. Rob Hyland was the producer.

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