Lexington photographer wins Eclipse Award

It's a bit of joy for jumping.

Lexington freelance photographer Matt Goins has won his second Eclipse Award for a photo of jockey Frankie Dettori's joyous flying leap off Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Donativum.

"I was really sold on this image," Goins said in an interview Monday. "It was my shot for the year."

Goins, who previously won in 2006 for a photo published in the Herald-Leader, caught Dettori's jump in the winner's circle at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Goins said that he had a feeling the photo would be special before he took it.

"I knew Frankie likes to do these flying dismounts. So instead of staying on the track and shooting the 'come back' shots, ... I immediately went to the winner's circle and staked out my position," Goins said. "I completely ignored everything else that went on after this race."

The focus paid off. "To me, the position of him in the air, the expression on his face ... this really captured the excitement of Thoroughbred racing," he said.

The photo was published Nov. 6 in Al-Adiyat, a Dubai-based racing publication. Donativum is co-owned by Princess Haya, wife of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, and the Maktoum brothers' Darley Stable.

Goins, 38, said Dettori's energy is what sold him on the picture, which is unusual in that it that centers around the jockey instead of the horse. He took the photo with a Canon 70-200 mm zoom at 75 mm.

The Eclipse Awards, which recognize achievement in Thoroughbred racing by horses and individuals, also honor media members for outstanding coverage. They are selected by an independent panel of judges and are awarded by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers Association.

Goins will receive his second bronze statue of the racehorse Eclipse at a ceremony that announces non-media winners on Jan. 26 in Miami Beach, Fla.

Honorable mentions in the photography category went to Alexander Barkoff for a photo of sunrise on the Fair Grounds backstretch, published in the New Orleans Times Picayune, and to Matt Wooley for a photo of Big Brown winning the Kentucky Derby, published in the Daily Racing Form.

This is the ninth time a journalist connected with the Herald-Leader has won an Eclipse Award. Previous winners include Goins (2006), Janet Patton (2005 and 2001), Frank Anderson (2003), Maryjean Wall (1999, 1997 and 1980), and Billy Reed (1988).