Barbara Livingston's Eclipse Award and the box it was in when delivered to The Blood-Horse.

Barbara Livingston's Eclipse Award and the box it was in when delivered to The Blood-Horse.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Livingston's Eclipse Award Returned; Brought to Blood-Horse Offices

A unidentified man returned Barbara Livingston's Eclipse Award the afternoon of March 13 to the offices of The Blood-Horse in Lexington, Ky. The award was stolen at the awards ceremony Feb. 18 at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla.

At around 3 p.m. (ET) a man walked into the lobby of The Blood-Horse carrying the award in an empty 12-pack case of Corona beer. He delivered the box to receptionist Germanus Dickerson and said, "Would you please give this to one of your reporters. It's safe. It's very important."

When Dickerson opened the box, she found the statuette wrapped in a pair of plastic shopping bags. Enclosed was a $20 bill that had a post-it note attached which read "Please return to Barbara D. Livingston." The man who delivered the package quickly left the building.

According to Livingston, detective Juan Sanchez went to a suspect's apartment in Hollywood Beach, Fla. the morning of March 13 to question the occupant. After questioning, the detective said he would issue a warrant for that person's arrest on a charge of grand theft on Thursday if the statuette was not returned. The suspect's apartment contained several Corona beer 12-pack cases.

Also that morning, Livingston sent a heartfelt e-mail message to the suspect asking for the Eclipse Award's return. Livingston listed the evidence she had against the suspect and wrote that it seemed overwhelming. She said she was not interested in prosecuting should she get the award back.

"I've had a very tough winter," Livingston said. "Winning the Eclipse Award gave me a lot of my confidence back. I couldn't believe that it had been taken away."

Livingston praised the work of Sgt. Robert Hundevadt of the Miami Beach police for his help in the case. ESPN also lent a helping hand, providing Livingston with video outtakes of the Eclipse Award dinner that clearly shows the suspect at the event.

Livingston noticed her award was missing during last month's awards ceremony. She said her prize was taken by a woman wearing a red feather boa with a tattoo on her right shoulder. She had contacted police in Miami Beach and a detective had been assigned to the case.

"We are pleased that Barbara Livingston's trophy has been restored," said Peg Hendershot, spokesperson for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. The NTRA presented the Eclipse Awards ceremony. "We are sorry for any inconveniences this may have caused Barbara. We're glad for her that she will get her original award."

The bronze statuette of Eclipse, the second such award for photography that Livingston has earned, will be returned.