Horses

Former newspaper writer wins Eclipse

Longtime Kentucky journalist and former Herald-Leader sports columnist Billy Reed has won his third Eclipse Award for writing.

Reed, 65, of Louisville, won in the news/commentary category for "A Rose for Eight Belles," a column that ran in the Thoroughbred Times on May 16.

The piece memorialized the gray filly who came in second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, then broke both front legs shortly after the finish line and had to be euthanized on the track.

Reed, a Kentucky Hall of Fame journalist, previously won in 1988 for a Herald-Leader piece on trainer D. Wayne Lukas and in 1979 for a Courier-Journal piece on jockey Ron Turcotte.

"I am stunned to win this award again," Reed told the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers Association, which presents the award.

"I went to the backstretch (on the) morning after this year's race to express my sympathies to the connections of Eight Belles and brought my 5-year-old granddaughter, Caroline, with me. I was trying to gain some perspective to it all and decided to write the column," he said in the announcement.

Reed said he had not had an assignment for the 2008 Derby but the words poured out after Eight Belles' death and his granddaughter's reaction. She had been rooting for the filly, and the next morning she wanted to bring a rose to the track.

Reed said he hopes to take Caroline to the awards dinner in January in Florida.

The Courier-Journal's Web site, courier-journal.com, also won an Eclipse Award for its multimedia package on racehorse injuries and safety.

The three-part series, "Tragedy on the Track," appeared on the site Aug. 16-18, 2008.

The Eclipse Awards honor achievement in Thoroughbred racing by horses and individuals.

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