The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing
Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced
today that HRTV has won the 2011 Media Eclipse Award in the
Television-Features programming category for its documentary “Inside
Information: Randy Romero,” about the triumphs and lifelong struggles
for survival of the Hall of Fame jockey. The program aired on Dec. 26,
This is the second consecutive Media Eclipse Award won by HRTV
for programs which were written and produced by the network. Last year,
HTRV won the Television-Features award for “Inside Information: Swale”
about the 1984 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner.
In “Randy Romero,” HRTV unfolds the life story of a young
Louisiana jockey, nicknamed the “Ragin’ Cajun,” who overcomes physical
and emotional obstacles to reach racing’s heights but suffers personal
hardships throughout. Along the way, Romero recounts a horrific
near-death incident following a sauna explosion at Oaklawn Park in 1983,
when nearly two-thirds of his body was burned. In the days following
the accident, Romero’s father, Lloyd, prevented Randy’s mother from
visiting their son in the hospital.
Following a long period of rehabilitation, Romero resumed his
career and went to the top of the game, winning the 1988 Breeders’ Cup
Distaff on the undefeated Personal Ensign. This moment of glory came in
vivid contrast two years later when Romero’s mount Go For Wand died
tragically in the 1990 Distaff at Belmont Park. In later years, Romero
endured other serious health problems after his retirement from racing.
He experienced kidney and liver failure in 2002 and was diagnosed with
hepatitis C. Romero had a kidney removed six years later.
Personal recollections of Romero’s life are enhanced by
interviews with longtime friends Carol Angel, Jimmy Lafont and Mark
Guidry; brother Gerald; son Randy Romero II and jockey Gary Stevens who
rode Winning Colors in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
“Because of the subject matter--physical and emotional abuse,
severe burns, the horrific breakdown of Go For Wand - this was a show
that was emotionally hard on everyone who worked on it, but no more so
than for the man who lived through the events,” said Amy Zimmerman,
executive producer of HRTV and the co-writer of the documentary.
“Everyone at HRTV is very grateful to Randy Romero for his honesty and
assistance in letting us to tell his story.”
“Inside Information: “Randy Romero” was a collaborative
production effort by the HRTV team. In addition to Zimmerman, production
duties were handled by Phil Kubel, Steve Scheidler, and Kathryn L.
Beranich. Kristen Rocky was the field producer, who conducted interviews
and directed the shoot Romero and his friends and family in Louisiana.
The documentary was narrated by Carolyn Conley.
HRTV also received the Media Eclipse Feature award in 2006 for
the Pony Highway production of “On the Muscle” and in 2008 for the
Hennegan Brothers’ documentary “The First Saturday in May.”
Honorable mention in the Television--Features category this year
went to NBC Sports for its “Keeneland History,” segment on the 75th
anniversary of Keeneland Race Course, which aired on the Autumn at
Keeneland telecast, Oct. 15. Jim Carr was the producer. Judges in the
Television-Features category were Dave Johnson, television producer,
host and longtime racing voice of the Triple Crown; Peter Lasser of
Lasser Productions and Pat Scanlon of Shamrock Communications.
The Eclipse Awards, presented by the Daily Racing Form and
Breeders’ Cup Limited, 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.
Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding
coverage of Thoroughbred racing.