(Edited press release)
TVG will air live coverage of the 36th annual Eclipse Awards Jan. 22, a celebration of horseracing's best performances of the year. This year's program will originate from the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., with coverage beginning on TVG at 8 p.m. ET. TV and film star Jerry O'Connell, who plays a lead role in the NBC series, "Crossing Jordan," will serve as emcee of the program for his third straight year.
"The Eclipse Awards give us a chance to reflect on the best equine and human performances of 2006," said TVG's senior vice president and executive producer Tony Allevato. "Our goal is to tell the stories behind the most pivotal moments and players in Thoroughbred racing and make the viewer feel as though he or she is right there in the room with the athletes and others who make our sport great."
TVG will open with a red-carpet preview show that will include interviews with arriving dignitaries, celebrities, and award nominees. Coverage continues with the presentation of awards and will conclude with interviews of the winners and commentary by TVG’s horse racing experts. Most of TVG's on-air personalities will take part, including retired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, himself a past Eclipse Award winner.
"This is one of my favorite events of the year and one that I know my whole family is watching, even if it hasn't helped my handicapping," said O'Connell, a regular at the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the Breeders' Cup World Championships, and other major racing events. O'Connell's love affair with horseracing began during his youth when he regularly visited the New York area racetracks with his father.
The Eclipse Awards show is produced by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association in association with TVG. Representatives from the NTRA, the National Turf Writers Association, and Daily Racing Form vote on the Eclipse Awards.
"We look forward to TVG’s usual outstanding coverage of the Eclipse Awards," said NTRA CEO Alex Waldrop. "TVG’s live coverage gives racing fans the chance to enjoy all the drama, emotion, and celebration of the award ceremony alongside the honorees."
Eclipse Awards are presented in 16 equine and human categories, including: Horse of the Year, 2-year-old colt, 2-year-old filly, 3-year-old colt, 3-year-old filly, older male horse, older female horse, male turf horse, female turf horse, sprinter, steeplechase, owner, breeder, jockey, apprentice jockey, and trainer.
The Eclipse Awards were first presented in 1971 and 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. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbys (Eng-I).
Individuals or companies wishing to attend the Eclipse Awards should contact the NTRA's Customer and Event Services Department to make reservations for the Awards dinner and room reservations at the Beverly Wilshire.