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ESPN's E:60 takes Eclipse for Notinrwildestdremz feature

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced Thursday that 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 who makes a dramatic recovery to become a racehorse. The feature segment, which aired on October 30, was produced and directed by Heather Lombardo. 

This is fifth Media Eclipse Award in the Features category won by ESPN.

"It's a great honor to win an Eclipse Award," Lombardo, a features manager at ESPN since 2000, said. "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 on 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, New York, who adopted three of them, one of whom was a 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 ever becoming racehorses, but "Dremz" turned out to be the exception. She was entered on April 22 at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York. With the Kerr's looking on, the owners' hearts were broken when the filly acted up at the gate and was subsequently scratched. One month later at Belmont Park in New York, 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-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.

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.

Judges in the Television -- Features category were Jim Bannon, television xommentator at Woodbine Entertainment Group; Peter Lasser of Lasser Productions; and Howard Sudberry, senior director of marketing and communications at Arlington Park, and former sports director at WBBM-TV in Chicago.

The 42nd Annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony will be held on January 19, 2013, at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

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