The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Tuesday that the new Keeneland library, one of the world's largest public-access repositories for information related to Thoroughbred horseracing and the Thoroughbred breed, has been selected to receive a Special Eclipse Award. The NTRA also announced Tuesday that Louisville Courier-Journal staff photographer Michael Clevenger has won the Media Eclipse Award for photography. Clevenger's photograph of jockey Victor Espinoza acknowledging the Churchill Downs crowd after winning the Kentucky Derby aboard War Emblem appeared in The Courier-Journal on May 5. The award is the first for Clevenger. The Keeneland library, which opened this summer, is located on the grounds of Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., and contains more than 10,000 books, 100,000 news and trade publications, 225,000 photos and photo negatives, 1,500 videocassettes and 3,000 files of newspaper clippings. In April 2000, Daily Racing Form donated its entire archival collection to Keeneland, whose library then consisted of a combined research and reading area. The collection includes editions of Daily Racing Form and Morning Telegraph dating back to the mid-1800s. The Form's donation included almost every edition of the Daily Racing Form and the American Racing Manual, dating back to 1896, which together provide one of the most comprehensive records of American Thoroughbred racing. Many of the newspapers are the sole surviving copies. The Keeneland Library also contains a number of other noteworthy collections, including the 18,000-item Charles Christian Cook Photographic Negative Collection. Cook was one of the first photographers in this country to specialize in horseracing and racetrack scenes. His work covered the sport from the early 1900s to mid-century. "We're extremely honored and wish to thank those responsible for this award," said Nick Nicholson, president and CEO of Keeneland. "Preserving our industry's rich history is an awesome responsibility first recognized by our founders more than 60 years ago. Our early libraries served a valuable role in documenting our sport's storied past. Now, with our new state-of-the-art facility, we will be able to expand that role by creating an archival system for the Thoroughbred breed that is second to none."
The Keeneland Library is open to the public Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings during April and October.The winner of the Special Eclipse Award is determined by a committee composed of representatives from the Eclipse Award-presenting organizations: the NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers Association. Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. The photography Eclipse is the first for Clevenger. "I am truly honored and humbled by this award," said Clevenger. "It is a tribute, not just to me, but to the staff of The Courier-Journal. It means even more that this honor comes from covering the most incredible horse race of all, the Kentucky Derby."
Media Eclipse Award winners will be honored at the 32nd annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, to be held Monday, Jan. 27, 2003 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.Eclipse Awards are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. Eclipse Awards also are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. The awards are presented by the NTRA, the National Turf Writers Association and Daily Racing Form. The Eclipse Awards 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 Derbies. The panel of judges for the photography category included Julia Schmalz, sports picture editor for USA Today; Clem Murray, director of photography for the Philadelphia Inquirer; Torry Bruno, deputy director of photography for the Chicago Tribune and Steve Fine, director of photography for Sports Illustrated.