The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Wednesday that Janet Patton, a business writer for the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, has won the media Eclipse Award for writing in the news/ commentary category.Patton's article, "The Answer Was Chewing on the Leaves," which was published May 27 in the Herald-Leader, described Kentucky scientists' search for the cause of devastating foal losses throughout the Bluegrass region and their eventual discovery of the Eastern tent caterpillar's involvement. This is the first Eclipse Award for Patton and the fifth for the Herald-Leader."I haven't been writing about the equine industry for too terribly long, and to have this enormous break this year was incredible," said Patton. "It was a pretty frantic time for me but also for a lot of horsemen and vets and people who loved horses from all over the world. I would get calls every day from people saying 'Is [the cause of the foal losses] this, is it that?' Everything from aliens to flouride. It became very obvious how much everyone loved Kentucky's horses."
The panel of judges for the writing-news/commentary category included Frederick C. Klein, columnist for the Sports Business Journal; Reid Cherner, a sports editor for USA Today; Pete Coates, Bloomberg News' primary horseracing reporter; Furman Bisher, senior columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Jay Posner, a sports columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune."This was a strong category with many deserving entries," said Posner. "But [Patton's article] was a well-written piece that made sense out of a complicated subject."Media Eclipse Award winners will be honored at the 31st annual Eclipse Awards Dinner, to be held Monday, Feb. 18, 2002, at the new, $800 million Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla.