Trainer Richard Mandella is subject of award-winning documentary.

Trainer Richard Mandella is subject of award-winning documentary.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Pony Highway Productions, HRTV Win Eclipse Award for Mandella Documentary

(Edited press release)

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 4 that Pony Highway Productions and HorseRacing TV have won the Media Eclipse Award in the national television--features category for the documentary "On the Muscle: Portrait of a Thoroughbred Racing Stable," which explores the world of Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella and six horses in his stable.

The documentary, produced by Robin Rosenthal and Bill Yahraus of Pony Highway, aired Feb. 28, March 7, and March 15, 2006 on HRTV. 

"On the Muscle" chronicled a year inside Mandella’s stable and featured individual stories on six horses: Pleasantly Perfect, Redattore, Kudos, Ile de France, Brisquette, and The Tin Man. The documentary took the viewer behind the scenes at Santa Anita, Del Mar, and Hollywood Park, recording the highs and lows of the backstretch and the drama of race day. The film culminates with Mandella’s unprecedented four victories at the 2003 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

"This is like winning an Academy Award," said Yahraus, who along with his wife, Rosenthal, are based in Littlerock, Calif. "We wanted to show the excitement and emotional rollercoaster of getting horses ready for training and racing on a daily basis; the triumphs, the setbacks, and the things you can't control."

"We also found an exemplary individual in Richard Mandella, who displays extraordinary patience, resilience, and care in his work," added Rosenthal. "Richard gave us virtually unlimited access to his stable and his staff."

Amy Zimmerman, executive producer of HRTV said, “Bill and Robin poured their hearts and souls into this project. It was our privilege to give them an outlet to show it, and we are proud to have aired 'On the Muscle' on HRTV. Telling the stories of the racing world is the very heart of our network and an area we will continue to expand upon with future programming."

Honorable mention in the national television features category went to ESPN for its feature on Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, which aired during ESPN’s 2006 Belmont Stakes coverage. Heather Lombardo was the producer.

Judges in the category were Rob Duboff of Hawk Partners Productions; Joel Feld, of New England Sports Network; and Paul Lucey of Fox Sports Net.

To purchase a copy of “On the Muscle”, please click here.