12/28/2011 2:22PM

Eclipse writing awards go to Jennie Rees, Claire Novak


Jennie Rees and Claire Novak were announced Wednesday as winners of the Eclipse writing awards for 2011 by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Daily Racing Form , and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters.

Rees, the longtime racing reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal, won in the news/enterprise category for an article that examined the ways in which jockeys resolve confrontations on the racetrack in the wake of the infamous altercation between riders Calvin Borel and Javier Castellano at the 2010 Breeders’ Cup. The article, which was headlined “Jockeys Rein in Their Emotions” and was published on Oct. 30, gave an intimate, candid look at life inside and outside the jockeys’ room. It was Rees’s third Eclipse Award for writing. Her previous writing awards were earned in 1988 and 1993. Also, Rees was part of a team that won the Multi-Media and Internet Eclipse Award in 2008.

Novak, 25, won in the feature/commentary category for a profile of New York race caller Tom Durkin that examined Durkin’s struggle with anxiety and his decision to retire from calling the three Triple Crown races for NBC television. The article, which was published by ESPN.com on June 10, was headlined “Pressure off Durkin at Belmont” and interviewed several other race callers whose careers had been influenced by Durkin, including his replacement at NBC, Larry Collmus. This was Novak’s first Eclipse award.