ESPN's news-magazine show E:60 has won the 2012 Media Eclipse Award in the Television-Features programming category for "Notinrwildestdremz", the story of a rescued and neglected Thoroughbred filly that makes a dramatic recovery to become a racehorse. The feature segment, which aired Oct. 30, was produced and directed by Heather Lombardo.
This is fifth Media Eclipse Award in the features category won by ESPN.
The 42nd Annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony will be held Saturday, Jan. 19, at Gulfstream Park Racetrack and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
"It's a great honor to win an Eclipse Award," said Lombardo, a Features Manager at ESPN since 2000. "To be recognized on the same night as the elite horses and people who make a historical impact on Thoroughbred racing is a huge thrill."
Written and narrated by seven-time Media Eclipse Award winner Bill Nack, the story of "Notinrwildestdremz" began April 8, 2009, with the raid on Center Brook Farm in upstate New York and the discovery of 177 abandoned and malnourished horses. The local Humane Society took care of the horses and put them up for adoption. Of those interested in adopting were Angelica Hala-Kerr and her husband, Sean Kerr, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who adopted three of them, one of which was to be named Notinrwildestdremz.
Following a long period of recovery and rehabilitation, the Kerrs saw a feisty demeanor in Notinrwildestdremz and the possibility that she could actually become a racehorse. They put her in the care of trainer Billy Turner, who conditioned 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. Turner relates the long odds facing malnourished horses to become racehorses, but "Dremz" turned out to be the exception.
She was entered April 22 at Aqueduct Racetrack. The Kerrs' hearts were broken when the filly acted up at the gate and was subsequently scratched. One month later at Belmont Park, she was entered again. This time, Notinrwildestdremz got out of the gate and completed the race, running last to the applause of the Kerrs, who delighted in seeing their filly actually make it to the races.
"During production, we were hoping the filly would win - to get that 'Hollywood ending'. But the emotion that poured out of everyone when she came in last made for an even better story - it was real," said Lombardo, who also owns a rescued 15-year-old Thoroughbred. "It truly was a victory in defeat."
In addition to the production and writing of Lombardo and Nack, "Notinrwildestdremz" was edited by Tim Horgan and Matt McCormick of Bluefoot Entertainment. Tony Melfi, Kevin Raullerson, Bryan Brousseau, and Phil Iglesias were the cameramen. Andy Tennant is the executive producer of E:60.
The Award winning entry may be viewed at http://www.espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8654198
Honorable mention in the Television - Features category went to HRTV for "Inside Information", featuring a documentary on the Eclipse Award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez and his recovery from injury.
The Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements in North America have earned them the title of champion in their respective categories. Those awards are voted by NTRA, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. Eclipse Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.
The Eclipse Awards are presented by Daily Racing Form, The Stronach Group and Breeders' Cup and produced by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Official Partners of the Eclipse Awards include Adequan, Besilu Stables, Keeneland, Kendall-Jackson, NOA Watches, and Roberts Communications. The official hotel of the Eclipse Awards is the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa.
Tickets to the Eclipse Awards are available for $375 each. Order forms for tickets are available at. http://www.ntra.com/en/eclipse-awards/2012-2013-awards/. Hotel Reservations at the Westin Diplomat can be made at https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/eclipseawards. For additional information, please contact Michele Ravencraft of the NTRA at firstname.lastname@example.org.