Mary Simon wins News/Enterprise Eclipse
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB) Friday announced that Mary Simon has won the 2012 Media Eclipse Award for Writing in the News/Enterprise category for "Added Obstacle," an examination of the history and current status of the race day medication Furosimide (or Salix), which appeared in Thoroughbred Times on June 9.
This is the second writing Media Eclipse Award for Simon, who grew up in Upland, California, and has resided in Lexington, Kentucky, since 1985. Simon previously won the Media Eclipse for Outstanding Feature Writing in 2000 for Thoroughbred Times.
Simon credits her husband, Mark, former editor of Thoroughbred Times, which ceased publication in September after 27 years, who assigned her the story.
"I am happy to win this for Mark," Simon said. "He is the best editor in the business and I'm so incredibly proud of the great legacy he left with Thoroughbred Times, especially during this past difficult year."
In "Added Obstacles," Simon uses the 25th anniversary of Alysheba's attempt to win the 1987 Belmont Stakes without Lasix -- which was not permitted in New York at that time -- as a starting point for examining the history of exercised induced pulmonary hemorrhaging (more commonly known as "bleeding") and the incorporation of furosimide in US racing. Simon researched equine bleeding back some 500 years and found homemade methods used through the centuries to treat or prevent it.
"This was a soul searching piece for me because I have such mixed feelings about this sport that I love," Simon said. "And the fact that Alysheba's Derby was the first I ever covered made the story all the more interesting to me. I had great fun going back in time and researching the history of medication, legal or otherwise, and how it relates it to modern day.
"In 2012 more than 90 percent of American racehorses routinely compete on Salix, often in conjunction with the anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone. Our last drug-free Kentucky Derby winner was Grindstone 16 springs ago. Dating back to 1997, 143 of 149 Belmont Stakes starters have competed on Salix, or 96 percent. Average annual and lifetime starts per runner continues to decline; in 1960, American runners raced an average of 11.31 times as compared with just 6.11 in 2010. Average career starts nosedived from 44 in 1950 to 13 in 2007. Those numbers hardly endorse the assertion that permissive medication 'keeps horses racing.'"
Honorable Mention in the News/Enterprise category went to Stan Grossfeld for "Photo Finish," about horse rescue, which appeared in the Boston Globe on September 25.
The panel of judges for the News/Enterprise Writing category was comprised of Beverly Smith of the Globe and Mail in Canada; Ed Gray, Thoroughbred journalist; and Ed DeRosa of Brisnet.com.
The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation 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 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 (NTWAB). Eclipse Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.
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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